My Top 3 Favorite Vintage Toys of All Time

Vintage Toys You Can't Forget

Vintage toys are part of what inspires many wooden toy makers. There are some toys that are simply timeless and their appeal to kids and adults of all ages proves their value. Many vintage toys are a part of arts and crafts history.

Toy 1

vintage toys

The vintage wooden marionettes known as Punch and Comic Characters were created in the late 19th century by American puppeteer and ventriloquist Augustus "Gus" White. Based on historic European Punch and Judy figures, White's puppets were a popular attraction in traveling tent shows and small museums for decades. Each of the more than thirty puppets was carved, painted and dressed by Gus himself, who presented the two-foot tall characters in a solo show averaging an hour in length- an exhausting, almost superhuman feat of endurance and stagecraft. See more photos and the
history of these priceless, one-of-a-kind creations at
vintage toy collector Mel Binkrant's website.

Toy 2

An early-20th century pedal horse is a favorite vintage toy from my own Playful Plans collection! This charming riding toy was carefully fabricated in some forgotten woodworker's shop, perhaps for a young family member. It's design is so sturdy that kids visiting my own workshop continue to pedal it happily around in circles! Although the painted details and fabric saddle are aging and there are cracks and repairs here and there, this pony's simple, dignified appearance and playful action captivate everyone who sees it.

vintage toys Toy 3

Although made from tinplate rather than wood, this wonderful key-wound boy riding on a turtle always makes me smile! Something about the imagination of the designer, it's colorful appearance and the absurdity of a child guiding a turtle by the reins makes this one of my favorite toys of all time.

The Best Places to Buy Vintage Toys

While eBay features thousands of vintage toy auctions weekly, it is just one option when you're looking for a special toy from your childhood or simply exploring what's out there. I've discovered some of my favorite classic toys in the dusty corners of second hand shops and benched at outdoor flea markets. Local and regional papers and classified ads offer possibilities, but require a lot of followup driving that may test your patience when the actual finds don't match descriptions!

I recommend three online auction houses that specialize in vintage toys, where you'll find the complete focus on quality examples that are often lacking on eBay. Their reputation and expert curators also ensure you'll be getting honest descriptions and the most value for your investment.

Morphy Auctions is excellent and I have enjoyed bidding on (and sometimes winning!) wonderful vintage wooden toys there. Bertoia Auctions is also a reputable auction house. My third suggestion is Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions. Here is a photo of my 1950's Howdy Doody marionette won at a Morphy's auction, and links to all three auction houses. Good luck!

vintage toys

Did you enjoy this blog? Read more about why we love vintage toys.