Antique Toy FAQs

Antique toys are a special niche in the marketplace and so it's only natural there are lots of questions regarding them. We've answered below a few of most frequently asked questions relating to buying, selling, and collecting antique toys. If you're new to this hobby, it our hope that this information will help make your journey into antique toy collecting a most enjoyable one.

What constitutes an “Antique Toy” versus a “Vintage Toy”?

Antique toys can be defined in various ways given someone’s personal background understanding of the niche. For instance, someone who grew up playing Nintendo may consider the “older” electronic games like Battleship to be “antique toys”. Generally, no one will chastise you if you refer to a toy as “antique” if it was produced in an earlier era and is no longer in production.

So what then should we say about “vintage toys”? Well, there are no hard and fast rules distinguishing “antique toys” from “vintage toys”, but typically, “true” antiques are those dating back several generations. For more modern toys that are no longer made yet are in high demand, the term “vintage” is generally considered a more accurate description. Of course, the term used has no bearing upon the toy’s value. A vintage Star Wars toy mint in the box from the 70’s may be much more valuable than a much older “antique” toy. As with an collectibles, it’s all about supply versus demand when determining value.

Why do people collect antique and vintage toys?

Many people find that toys from their childhood take them back to that innocent, careless time in their life that was filled with fun. That joy of getting that new Big Wheel for Christmas, that Chatty-Cathy doll for a birthday, or Red Rider rifle under the tree brought such joy that we love to relive those joyful memories. Actually owning a special toy from our childhood brings us closer to making those memories true reality.

Do you know how I can determine the value of my antique toy?

While there are various antique toy price guides on the market that may list your specific toy, a fast and free way to get an idea of it’s current value and verify if there is a market for it is to simply use our Search feature on this site. To do so, simply enter in some keywords that best describe your antique toy into the search box on the left side of this page. You will then be given a list of results. If you’ve chosen your keywords carefully, the search results should include some items very similar to yours (unless it is a particularly rare or obscure item). Check out these listings and compare them with your item as far as condition, original packaging included, etc. From this you should be able to obtain a quick ballpark idea of your specific toy’s current value in the marketplace. If you see no results matching yours, try searching eBay’s completed auctions.

Where can I go online to determine the value of my vintage toys?

Again, this site’s search functionality is a great tool for making quick estimations in this regard. If the search results don’t return anything or don’t include your item, try refining your search terms. If you still have no luck, try searching eBay’s completed auctions. If all else fails, you may want to try one of the industry price guides on the market.

I have an antique toy truck and am curious as to its value. Can you help?

It's value greatly depends on whether it is truly old and long out of production or is it simply just one of those modern diecast models of an old truck (or, a modern replica of an actual old toy truck). If it is of the latter variety, don’t expect much. If it’s a genuine antique, it will depend on a variety of factors such as the truck model (is it a popular one?), condition, etc. To ascertain an idea of it’s value in this case, plug in an identifying keyword of your specific truck along with the term “truck” into the search box on the left of this page. You just might find similar trucks returned in the results to compare yours with. If that fails, try searching eBay’s completed auction listings. If you still have no luck, you can try locating it in one of the specialized price guides on the market. If you don’t wish to buy one, check your local library to see if they have it or can get it for you on an inter-library loan.

Can you help me identify this antique toy?

Your best bet is to post a photo of it in our community section along with any information you can provide as to its description and origin and see what feedback you receive. You never know who else is online that might just be an expert on your particular item! It’s free to join, create your profile, upload photos and videos, and post. What’s more, it’s fun and we’ll all learn together!

What’s the best way to go about selling an antique toy on eBay?

Perhaps you’ve inherited some old toys from Grandma and want to sell them. Or, perhaps you’ve decided to make money by educating yourself about these wonderful collectibles and then scouring flea markets and yard sales for good buys to resell on venues like eBay. Good thinking!

Ok, well, if you bought the toy without really knowing much about it, the first step should be to accurately identify it. If it came with it’s original packaging, you’d already know all about it so we’ll presume it came “loose” (without its box). Inspect it carefully to see if you can spot an identifying marks on it. These could be very tiny and hidden in unsual places so look carefully. But not all old toys had such marks or, if they ever did, they’ve long been worn off.

It’s worthwhile trying to identify it as accurately as possible because detailed listings tend to bring higher bids than generic ones, especially if buyers determine yours is that exact, hard-to-find piece needed to complete their collection! Also, it helps prevent “buyer’s remorse” and to preserve your feedback rating when the buyer feels they got exactly what was described.

To begin your research, first try browsing relevant categories on this site using the left menu. If no luck there, try our search box. Click on the various listings that come up containing an item that look similar to yours. If you find one, contact the seller! After all, they already have one and may know all about it (though it could be they are just a reseller or selling on behalf of someone else and may know nothing about it, but it’s worth asking!) There are also a variety of antique toys reference books you can consult to research your antique toy. These can be found within this site, but if you don’t want to buy one, just check with your local library.