Four Top Toy Collecting Tips

Four Top Toy Collecting Tips

Star Wars, Barbie, Lego, Hornby, Matchbox….just some of the memorable names from the mid to late 20th century which evoke pleasant and nostalgic childhood memories in those of a certain age. These memories encourage some people to start collecting all over again; and some to buy and sell, which can, if done properly, lead to a healthy profit.

Rare vintage barbie dolls can now sell for five figure sums. Back in 1959 they could be purchased for as little as £1.

However, before you rush headlong into starting a collection consider the following first.

  • Condition is always key. Toys in untouched condition and still in their original boxes or packaging always fetch more than those that are play worn. Whilst it might seem a little sad to see a box or package unopened and a toy unplayed with, from a collecting perspective, these are the ones that fetch higher prices. For example rare Star Wars figurines in original and unopened bubble packs can command prices of £15,000 or more. If the packages have been opened, the price plummets back down into the hundreds.
  • Try to go for limited production runs. For example, a mid 20th century dinky Bedford van with a Heinz ketchup transfer was only available for a few months back in the 1950’s before Dinky decided to replace it with a van with the Heinz beans logo. Consequently, the ketchup version commands prices many times in excess of the Heinz beans variety.
  • Avoid toys that are purposely marked as a ‘collectable’ or ‘limited edition’. The editions still tend to be considerable and, because they are ‘collectable’, they tend to be in good condition. Normally a good thing, I hear you say. Yes, possibly a bigger return, but also a bigger risk.
  • Do your research! Sometimes this can take time. Seek out the rarer pieces and find out why they’re so highly prized. Also, be conscious of the cycle that brings a toy into peak collectability, often 30 or more years.


If toy collecting is an area that you are interested in exploring further, A&G have a Toy Auction coming up on Wednesday 22nd September. The Auction catalogue is available to view now on our website.




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