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.