The playthings we remember from childhood have a very special place in our hearts. Handed down to us through the family, gifted at special occasions or purchased from the local toy store they seem to grow more valuable as time passes by. Call them vintage, retro, antique or simply "old," their incredible variety and visual appeal captivate us long after we've grown to adulthood. Our enjoyment of vintage toys reminds us that play can last for a lifetime.
At Playful Plans We Love Vintage Toys
My plans for building toys are often inspired by playthings from the past. The Playful Plans collection of vintage toys includes hundreds of amazing and engaging wooden toys as well as pressed tin, paper and other toy types. The oldest toys in the collection are from around 1900 and there are toys from the 1960's, too. The condition of the oldest toys is often very fragile. Many of the toys have their original boxes (or tubes, for Tinker Toys!) with wonderful illustrated catalogs and instructions inside. I also collect and study historic toy books from the early 1900's which have fascinating plans for building wooden toys. I never copy toys or plans made long ago; I use them for inspiration to create plans for building contemporary, child safe playthings for today's kids!
The Worldwide Vintage Toy Business
Little toys mean big business - and that includes vintage toys, too. Thousands of antique toys are sold every year online, at auction and at specialty shows around the world. Playful Plans has exhibited classic toys at The Chicago Toy Show, the largest vintage toy show in the US for over forty years. My friend Herb Regan runs the show and has seen tremendous growth in the market for high-quality antique toys. Visiting Herb's show is like going back in time to our childhood, with thousands of colorful toys lining exhibitor's shelves. Prices for the rarest and finest examples can be stunning; auction records are regularly set at Bertoia's and Morphy's auction houses as sought-after toys in wonderful condition reach the market. Ebay sales for vintage wooden toys are slowly rising after the huge gains in prices for tin toys, trains and historic soldier sets. Sharpen your market skills by spending regular time on auction sites and by researching toys similar to your own. As the saying goes, "they're not making them anymore" and the market has nowhere to go but upwards!
Our Favorite, Most Valuable, Top Selling Toys
Condition and rarity are the most important elements in the worth of vintage toys. When you have both, you have an exceptional offering to the market and should have little trouble selling your toy if it is priced appropriately or the starting bid for it is reasonable. Here are several of my favorites, ranging in value from merely high to astronomical!
1. I purchased my Arkitoy construction set from a dealer at a heavy discount for $100. Never be afraid to negotiate! This set’s terrific unused condition and original instructions mean it's value will increase with time.
2. Here's a fantastic Boy on Turtle tin toy available from a friend and dealer in Germany. It's wonderful charm and condition make it an investment at $1028.
3. What's in your wallet? This splendid Marklin battleship in incredible condition sold for $15,100. way back in 2009! Imagine it's worth today.
Read more articles from Playful Plans:
Beginner and Advanced Plans for Wood Toys
How to Use Wooden Toy Plans
Create Unique Gifts with Simple Woodworking Plans
Handmade Wooden Pull Toys
The History of Wooden Toys
Woodworking Projects for Women
Woodworking Safety 101