Evaluating Vintage Toys
If you are in a place where you are looking to get into collecting vintage toys or you are just looking to see what it is that you have on your hands, the first thing that you need to do is to consider how a vintage toy is evaluated. Just because a toy is old doesn't mean that is going to be valuable, and if you are looking at whether you have a valuable antique on your hands or just some fun memorabilia, there are a few things that you should consider.
The first area that needs to be considered when you are thinking about how much your toy is worth is fairly easy to determine. The condition of your toy is something that you can judge on your own, and usually you can be on target, or nearly so. A mint toy is worth the maximum value that it can achieve for collectors. This means that the finish is intact, all the accessories are in good condition and accounted for and in some cases that the toy is still in the same box that it came in. You'll find that most toys are not, in fact, mint, but that does not mean that it still cannot sell for a fair amount of the mint value. Some types of wear, like fading of paint are considered acceptable, but structural damage typically is not.
The second thing that you need to do when you are considering the evaluation of an old toy is to think about a good identification. In times past, this used to involve searches through large tomes of toy catalogs and collectors' texts, but today, you will find that there are plenty of listings online that can help you. Take some time and check your toy over. Is there a model number or a patent number? This is a great way to figure out what you have on your hands and what it is worth. The more information that you have on the toy, the better you will be able to assess its worth. Unlike other antiques, American vintage toys tend to only go back to the middle of the nineteenth century, which makes them a great deal more accessible than other types of antiques!
The authenticity of a toy is something that you also need to think about when you are considering its value as a vintage item. You'll find that there are many different models of a specific toy and some of the most desirable and sought after items have been in production for many years. Some toys that have moving parts may retain the original body but their parts may have been replaced at some point, and this may very well affect the way that they are going to be valued. Also keep in mind that when you are looking to purchase a toy that there are out and out fakes out there. Be careful if you are considering the purchase of a toy that is known to be valuable but has been priced very low. You may need to look into getting a written statement of authenticity to verify the age of the toy itself.
Finally, you need to remember that the rarity of a toy is something that will affect its value on the market in terms of vintage toys. In many cases, the more expensive the toy, the better the maker's standards were and the better the materials it was made with. It is easy to see why these toys were more valued than cheap toys, that were made of disposable goods and were quickly thrown out or destroyed. What toys are the most rare? When you go looking in any toy catalog, you'll tend to find mechanical banks and clockwork toys at the top of the list. In their day, they were the most expensive toys around, and to some degree, this hasn't changed at all!
When you are looking to consider the value of a vintage toy, remember that you should do your research. What do you know about the toy and what do you know about its history? Learning more about where it was made and where it has been can help you figure out how much it is worth. Remember to be realistic, and keep in mind that something that is too good to be true usually is! Finally, also remember that like a doctor's appointment, a second opinion can only help you.