Children’s toys are areas known for surprise valuations because toys continue to prove extremely collectable despite their lack of intrinsic value. Learn about how to value toys and dolls, with our ValueMyStuff valuations and appraisals experts. Discover what to look out for and how it can impact the value.
Vintage dolls, teddy-bears, windup-mechanism tin toys and action figures can be quite rare and they can do very well at auctions. It is worth checking your attic or garage in search for your old GI Joe toy, as an original can be worth up to $200 000 depending on its condition and the serial number. Vintage versions of classic board games such as Monopoly or Snake and Ladders can bring quite a sum on a specialis auction. Today, the expectations have to be countered and modern toy producers take into account that there are collectors out there interested in their toys, so these are very common and easy to find. This said, almost all types of toys, games or dolls have their own collecting niche and will be of interest to someone, especially if they still have original packaging and are in the excellent conditions. Did you find an unopened LEGO set from your childhood? It is worth checking how much it is worth, because there is a quite big community of collectors that would give pay you a fair price, especially for the model that comes from a discontinued series.
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High quality antique dolls can be among the most valuable examples of toys on the market. Dolls made before the Second World War can be found in wax, fabrics, papier-mâché, china, parian and bisque, the latter of which generally has the highest value, in particular ‘bébé’ dolls. There are valuable examples of all types of antique doll, however, and condition and completeness are crucial to any doll’s value: clothing should be original and reflect period fashion; the doll should have its original limbs and body; cracks, fading and heat damage will lessen the potential value. Finally, there is an element of desirability in unusual or particularly charming aspects to a toy. Early examples of Steiff "Teacher" dolls can be worth between $1000 - $3000, depending on a condition. ‘Bonnet-head’ wax dolls or swivel-head china dolls, for example, have a special rarity which has made them highly collectible while the detail in painting of the face and the features used can also enhance value. If your Grandmother or mother were lucky enough to get their hands on the Barbie doll when they were little girls, it is a good idea to check if they have it. Early Barbies, from the 1950's, and especially the ones originally produced in Japan, are highly collectible and sought after and can be worth anything from £8 000 - $30 000 depending on the condition and original vanity set.
Related: How to Value Barbies?
It is widely caricatured that the original packaging for collectibles such as toys are very valuable and this can certainly be the case when it comes to mass-produced toys and board games; instructions and/or accompanying artwork, leaflets or labels can also enhance value particularly where unboxed examples are common. This said the value of some toys, in particular early examples of wood and tinplate are not reliant on packaging, sometimes there would not have been such an original box and in these cases the condition of paintwork and the design may well be enough to secure a high value. As most types of toy are collected, age is often a significant a significant factor within a type. For example, while Märklin model trains may generally fetch higher prices than Bing examples, Bing pieces from before the First World War are highly desirable.
Mass-produced soft toys are a relatively recent addition to the toy market. The German firm Steiff is probably the most well-known and perhaps the first great soft-toy producer having been established in 1877. Steiff Dicky Bear from 1930s was sold for a hefty $53 803 at Christies in London. Steiff is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most sought after make but most other soft toys that predate the First World War will have a high value. Unfortunately, the simplicity of soft toys, in particular teddy bears, has made fakes popular. For this reason, in valuable examples wear should be generally consistent with age, but not in bad condition; this likely means worn noses and paws but not replaced eyes or heavy restoration work. Uneven seams or inaccurate modelling can also give away fakes. On top of age, some bears or other soft toys have a particularly rare attribute or model which can enhance their value; a toy which appears unusual can have a hidden value.
No matter if you are a collector and are looking to buy or sell a particular toy or a board game, or you just clearing your storage, it is always good to check the value of your finds. Maybe the toy you cherished in your childhood gained a monetary value over the years? Maybe someone is looking for this particular model ship you bought years ago but never had time to set it up? Our experienced expert at Value My Stuff will help to find out what your vintage and modern toys are worth. Submit your valuation here and get the answer already after 24h!