Toys, Toys, Toys – The 1960s to the 90s are coming on strong!


All of us old guys had a favorite toy in our childhood that has become valuable. I personally loved my Hot Wheels and played with them until the wheels fell off. That was in the mid to late 1960’s so those examples would have been worth some serious money today had mama just made me keep them pristine. Starting with the 1960’s and now reaching into the new century, contemporary toys have become a valuable and popular collecting field with a huge amount of interest worldwide.

I told a consignor last week; “I get more out of the rare toys from the 1980’s than I do the good old toys from the 1880’s.” Though that isn’t entirely true, there simply aren’t as many collectors for those old toys of the past as we seem to have for everything from the late 20th C. We see this clearly in things like cowboy and army toys. WW2 Left an army of veterans and survivors, kids who grew up with cowboy and army toys. After WW1 and into the last part of the 20th Century these toys grew exponentially in value as these individuals bought back their childhood. Now, as the Boomers dump collections into the marketplace, there just aren’t enough collectors to absorb these items and their value, even for the rarest examples in many cases, has dropped. Howdy Doody, Hop A Long Cassidy, toy soldiers and vehicles depicting the first and second World Wars seem to be a dime a dozen compared to their heyday.

Our recent 3 session auction of toys was very telling. Looking at those results is amazing. The above analysis held true with some minor exceptions throughout all 3 sessions. Gaming was a strong category with the Sega Genesis game lot at $600 dollars being the big winner there. These electronics and gaming lots held 10 of the top 25 value slots. In session 2, Hot Wheels, even in off condition, held 4 of the top 10 spots. Legos are always strong with large modern sets doing well. Session 1 had Disney and 1960’s to 80’s dolls holding their own. Some of the more valuable contemporaries were the MASK toys, the Thundercats, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Micro-Machines & the DinoRiders from TYCO.

A surprise from the classics were two lots of vintage machine-made marbles bringing $510 & $350 respectfully. A nice Mengel wind-up toy boat with great original decals brought $115. Lehman train lot brought $350. And last of all a Humpty Dumpty doorstop in off condition brought 135.00. Good toys are still bringing in buyers.

To wrap up that story about Hot Wheels…..last season, while visiting a client about an estate auction, one of those things happened to me that really makes being in this business a lot of fun. I was getting ready to leave and ask if there was anything else to look at. She said there were some things in the garage, mostly for donation, but I was welcome to look. As soon as the room came into full view, I spied a Hot Wheels case. Turned out there were two cases, not full but with several vehicles, all early redlines, and all in very good condition. That little save from the Goodwill store brought the family a little over $6000 dollars. And made my day!

With all this value in good stuff from the 1960’s to the 1990’s, treasure hunting is alive and well!! In an attic, somewhere in a little city in the Midwest, a treasure awaits us!

Happy Treasure Hunting to All

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