Charlie is a freelance writer with 20 years of writing experience. He also has an interest in collecting vintage toys.
You've decided to clean house and depart with some of your childhood toys—but how do you know what they are worth and where can you sell them? Coming up with hard numbers as far as value can be difficult at times, but here are a few solid methods to use.
What Are My Toys Worth?
Once you have decided to sell your toys, the next obvious step is to determine their value. Here are four ways to do it:
1. Online Research
Probably the most popular way to determine a vintage toy's value—and for the most part a fairly credible way—is seeing what the item sold for on an online auction site. You can go to a site like eBay and do a search for sold listings of the vintage toy and sort the results to get a range of values for the item. You can also compare prices from the online auction sites to online stores like Amazon or Etsy to get a more complete picture of the item's selling price.
There are certain variables, though, to consider with this approach. Prices can vary widely based on condition and even the time of year that the item sold. However, if you use this approach, expect your item to sell for at least the mid-range price (for a toy in the same condition).
Your toy's condition has a huge impact on its value. You will always get a higher price for mint in box or unused toys. If you are selling online, save yourself a lot of problems by being completely accurate with the item's condition (and supplying ample photos). Photos let the consumer decide if they agree with your assessment of the toy's condition.
2. Guides and Books
This is an excellent way to get a more accurate value, but since it takes time to get a book published the listed values can shift even as the book hits the shelf. However, most of the guides are written by experts or at the very least enthusiasts so the books and the values they state are generally well-researched, based on multiple markets, and to a degree take into account the lead time required in book publishing.
3. Antique Roadshow-Type Venues
If you have watched the Antique Roadshow, you quickly realize they utilize expert appraisers to place a value on any item. Because of this approach, the values tend to be more accurate since the appraisers are experts in a particular field. The only thing to be careful of is when attending any show—is make sure it is legitimate. Some 'shows' are simply businesses attempting to exploit an unknowing public.
This is the best way to determine the value of a toy. But, if the toy is worth less than $100 (based on auction searches)—then the appraisal fee may cut too deeply into your profit. However, if you have a large collection, it may be money well spent especially since you may have a hidden gem that only an expert appraiser could uncover.
Where Can I Sell My Vintage Toys?
Here are four tips to help you find a place to sell your vintage toys:
1. Online Auctions or Online Stores
Again the first choice for many is to list the toy on eBay or some other auction site and see what the item brings. If you want quick cash, it is the simplest way to go, but double check the fees associated with the auction site because they are not all created equally. For example, eBay charges you a percentage based on selling price and that percentage is even charged to actual shipping price, meaning, in essence, you are supplementing the postage cost. Online stores like Amazon and others tend to set a fixed fee—and give your a shipping credit—so you know immediately what you will be charged and what you will receive if the item sells for the listed price.
2. Local Retailers
A source that is too often overlooked is local 'mom and pop' retailers. Although you most likely will receive wholesale value for an item—since the establishment will be reselling it—you can get your money quicker this way. Most regions have at least one strong vintage toy store—I know there are several within 50 miles of where I live. Selling locally also has the added benefit of helping the local economy.
3. Yard Sales
Two of the most popular annual garage sales are the World's Longest Yard Sale which originally started in Jamestown, TN. The sale winds along U.S. 127 and now extends from Alabama to Michigan. I live near U.S. 127 and have seen multiple vintage toys for sale over the years—and usually selling for retail prices. (I've never found any 'picking' type of garage sales during the event). Another significantly large garage sale follows the National Road (U.S. 40). Generally speaking even if you don't live near either U.S. route, you can rent a spot—which may be worth your time if you have a significant amount of toys.
Lastly, you could set up a garage sale in your hometown, just try to time it to match any regional or city-wide sales that may be occurring. This way you are almost guaranteed to have motivated customers.
Note: For information about 10 of the most significant and largest yard sales in the United States, check out this list from The Spruce.
4. Hire an Auctioneer
Use this approach only if you have a large, unique and collectible variety of toys for sale. If you has this, a good auctioneer will get the message out about the sale beforehand and be able to generate top dollar for your items.
Which Vintage Toys Still Hold Value?
As you start researching what toys you have and what they are worth, you will notice some patterns. First you will realize that anything mass produced as a 'collectible' probably has little to no value. And, since value is a somewhat subjective idea—the toys that have value are subjective. But here are four broad categories that tend to retain value.
Diecast Farm Toys
There's just something about older quality diecast farm toys that seem to appeal to a large section of collectors. If fact, there are entire shows and magazines built around the genre. To get an idea of what farm toys hold the most value, view these sites:
- National Farm Toy Museum: This site includes images of collector toys, but its most valuable asset may be information on annual vintage farm toy events and sales.
- 3000Toys: This site is more about current diecast collectibles, but its prices provide a benchmark for what brands and types of vintage toys people collect.
- RubyLane: This is an online store site that caters to vintage collectors. You can search by category and brand to narrow down types of toys.
Specific Board Games
This section is an interesting one because some relatively new games hold value almost as easily as older, vintage games. Common games that tend to hold value—dependent on version are war and strategy games. To get a good understanding of which games have value view any on these four sites.
- BoardGameGeek: This is an excellent site when you want to research a board game. It will list prices, give a description and tell you the various versions and years of a game.
- RubyLane: This is also a good source for board game values.
- PurplePawn: This site includes a list of the 20 most valuable vintage board games and includes a screen shot of their selling price. Interesting list.
- Amazon: The site has quite a few price guides for board game, including Board Games (Schiffer Book for Collectors) by Desi Scarpone.
Toys That Represent an Era
Currently toys from the 80s are selling well. This is probably because as people age, they want to recapture their childhood memories—and a simple way to do that is buying the toys they owned. Most collectors though tend to want games that are in near perfect condition.
Where to Begin
Evaluate your desired outcome before you sell. Are you going to regret parting with a specific item? If so, hang onto it a little while longer. Is your goal to clean house and get a few bucks in the process? If so, find a reputable reseller. If you want to get a little more money, go with an online auction—just make sure you understand the fees and obligations of the site.
However, if you want to interact with another collector looking for the toy you have to sell, then consider a garage sale or an auction.
A Few Highly Valuable Toys
|Name of Toy||Year Created||Value|
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Scratch the Cat Figure
Mint in Package: $1,000
First-Generation Charizard Pokemon Card
Mint: Around $700
Kenner Starting Lineup Utah Jazz Figures
Mint: $200–$300 each
alacartestore on July 05, 2020:
This is a good and useful article.
I am a fellow toy collector http://alacarteonlinestore.ezyro.com/
Gordie dallas on June 13, 2020:
I have lots of Beanie bears still in packaging from 1999,&2000
Ogunjemiyo Temilola on June 12, 2020:
How can I sell my toys online
martin astorino on May 22, 2020:
I have for sale after many years of collecting, the following ,new and old t0ys,electric trains,0 gauge and some standard gauge , some art work and furniture and a,knife collection,a lighter collection., straight razor collection,also have clocks,pket watches,tanks and cars in boxes.
Audrey Havican on March 29, 2020:
We have some things that we are trying to sell. Beanie babies, old monopoly games, old cameras etc. We are trying to find someone that will buy them. Do you know of anyone?
Thomas Peace on March 27, 2020:
I had two cast iron Deers from Germany brought over by my great great great grandmother
Stacy Marie Elliott on March 02, 2020:
I have 2 sets of spice girl dolls. Mint condition. I have the original "Girl Power" set and the "On Tour" set. Where is the best place to sell the fastest?
K Mac on February 01, 2020:
I have many He Man, Star Wars, Thunder Cats, Lone Ranger toys from the 70’s and 80’s that I am looking to sell.
Mary Caudill on January 09, 2020:
John Deere collection
Product maker - ERTL
1957 Chevy panel truck bank Diecast metal
Gator SUV 4 x 4 620i utility vehicle
1940 Ford pickup authentically scaled diecast metal replica
1927 Graham panel van delivery diecast metal vehicle
1966 Ford Pickup Diecast metal bank
1918 Mack stake truck bank Diecast metal
How much is this collection worth? I’m asking $120 for the collection. Was offered $80
Debra Mitchell on December 28, 2019:
I have the Iggy iguna that is suppose to be blue but hes rainbow in a case never played with i was wondering. If hes worth anything and were can i find out
mary m on December 19, 2019:
i have a maple bear ty beanie baby, bear in mint condition packaging (original) not in great condition any value? This bear has all the special attributes that make it the authentic one.
Keith Seccombe on December 17, 2019:
I have a lot of star wars collectibles I’m looking to sell. I have from 1978 vintage through revenge of the sith. There’s too much to list, but I’m looking for buyers in the LA/ Orange County areas. I also have hot wheels too.
If you are interested then let me know through this post and we can arrange a meeting. I’m looking to sell in bulk.
Sati Basra on December 17, 2019:
Ive got a project sword Scramble bug from the 1960s in its original box
How much is it worth
Lori sampson on December 16, 2019:
I have star wars pez dispensers from the 90’s un-open id like you sell also many other toys where do find a dealer that will be honest??
Mario Tenorio on November 21, 2019:
I have a Turbo Tail Tigger for sale still in unopened container. And still works , it's in mint condition ,
Habibullah Sheriff Shakoor on November 18, 2019:
Hi,I have 3 antique toys from the early 60's and all are Japanese make and in working condition.I have a space ship,a dog pulling a cart and a plane that opens its doors,closes them and goes as per the wheel setting.
If you are interested please let me know what will your offer and how do we close the deal.
Robert W Dodds on November 18, 2019:
I have a (Pat 1916) tin plate "CONSUL THE EDUCATED MONKEY" toy.
Is in average condition considering its age. How to I obtain the value of this item.
Debbue on November 16, 2019:
I have troll hand puppets a fireman policeman wizard and Baker Are these puppets valuable And how do I go about selling them
Laura on October 07, 2019:
I have a old metal toy cap gun
Sheila Ford on September 05, 2019:
Does anyone know about Herdy Gerdie monkey ? Sorry not sure if i spelled it correctly
Kelle Meon on July 29, 2019:
I have a Safeway one of a kind sample toy truck in the original package with the letter from Ideal Toy Corporation dated 1984
Do you think there maybe any value to it
MarLisofOSR@gmail.com on July 23, 2019:
I have a Marx robotic Frankenstein in need of restoration and cleaning. I live in Columbia, SC. Any suggestions?
Tammy Lewis on July 17, 2019:
I have an original wonder horse that us still in good shape. Approximately distrubatrd in 50's. Any ideas?
Weekendgirl90@yahoo.com on June 28, 2019:
Need to know where to sell
Misti on June 11, 2019:
Hi, I've been collecting Vintage Strawberry Shortcake for years. I have a room dedicated just to her. I'm looking to sell my collection as a whole. Do you have any suggestions? ALL of my dolls are clean, have been stored in a display cabinet, and from a smoke free home.
Alicia on June 01, 2019:
What is the value of a raggedy ann and andy
Oliverormenita on April 25, 2019:
Im selling my japanese TOMY toy robot and arcade game
Sarah L Butts on April 18, 2019:
I have s very rare 1997 Macfarlane Hunchback with the artists head in place of the Hunchbacks head. The company was able to tell that was why it looks different, but wouldn't tell us how many were made. I am unable to find any info about it?? Does anyone recommend an auction house who might specialize in pop culture stuff. 208-946-6325
Kathryn Testa on April 14, 2019:
I have a Chatty Cathy doll to sell from the 1960's , how much would it be worth?
Carey Duck on April 03, 2019:
I have Master of the Universe figures I want to sell.Is there a group or place online I could sell them? Interested in finding out how much they are worth.
OLLIE MCKINNON on March 26, 2019:
I have an ordinary furby that I would like to sell.
Dennis ODonald on March 21, 2019:
Anyone know a dealer or auctioneer knowledgable about toys in Southern California? I have a hoarders collection which fills 3 one-bedroom apartments. Items were purchased by a man specifically so most are unopened in original packaging. Collection acquired over the period 1990-2019. Thank you for any ideas on how to responsibly liquidate this extensive collection. Dennis 619-239-0452
Cathy Cannon from Guyton on March 11, 2019:
I have a huge collection of antique and vintage items to sell asap! (more vintage toys ) I have zero knowledge about the value and the easiest way to sell them. After my uncle passed no one in the family had any interest in all of the things that now are all over my house. I simply have run out of the room but I couldn't sit back and watch all of it end up in the garbage! 80' toys I have them! Lots of everything. From toys, jewerly, cards, glass EVERYTHING! I could go on and on. Help me get this stuff to someone who appreciates it and not the dump!
Latoya Addison on February 23, 2019:
I have 1930s wooden Pinocchio doll
tonyacuccia on February 09, 2019:
do you buy Shirley temple dolls?
Jimmy Brown Jrwha on February 09, 2019:
How valuable or collectable are WILESCO steam toys
marcel on December 09, 2018:
do you buy old lego sets
Johnny on September 08, 2018:
i have the first teenage mutan ninja turtle set worth 500 dollars each
Casey Strange on July 21, 2018:
I am trying to sell my pokemon battle link toys series 10 and 6 in mint condition never opened boxes. Also selling Tech Deck Dude Street Crew from 2008 in mint condition never opened boxes and a matchbox '63 Cadillac Hearse in mint condition never opened box. Call 504-235-2515.
Tino Drummond on July 20, 2018:
I have the original muscle machines 1:18 scale for sale
Angela Minson on July 12, 2018:
3 cars ,1 boat they are goo condition , they have no scratches dents in them I also have the keys to the ones that come with keys they also comes in the original box
Charley on June 12, 2018:
Adam bomb...how much for your Star Wars figures?
adam bomb 187 on June 10, 2018:
hi i have been doing star wars toy from the start in 1977 to now i am selling off everything i have. i hate the new movies so i am done with star wars so if anyone is looking for star wars let me know. thanks
Stacie80 on June 03, 2018:
I have I believe a very old maybe hand carved spinner top toy.Its handle and top is all wood.How can I find our the value and age?
Trudy on May 30, 2018:
I have an original 1964 g I Joe in original box never opened what is this worth
Jeannette on April 27, 2018:
Hi I have a 1949 mercury coup James Dean toy Car still in the box never opened this is the same car he died in
Keyana Simmons on April 22, 2018:
I have a green toy HESS truck the original version without the box but it’s in mint condition
Lynn V on April 13, 2018:
I have an antique 1952 John Deere toy tractor.Mint condition.$1200 o.b.o.
If interested contact me and I will show pics
Eniad on April 10, 2018:
I have a MASH 4077 boxed play set with all pieces including a pristine mat. Would like to sell it but don't know how - saw an article on the Toy Box Vintage about it but can't figure out a way to contact anyone there and don't want to start a 'blog'. Help?
BobbyTorres on April 07, 2018:
I have beanie babies rare ones still in the cards and bags, also Barbie's still in the package from the 2000 series, and then I have the very rare maple Bear in the cards, and then I have 53 car's 2 diecast car's still in the packages and then car's open and loose... I would really appreciate it very much if someone who cares and loves to get them please contact me as soon as possible,we just found out that my mother has cancer and we can really use some help.. sincerely Bobby T.
lorene Gerrity on February 22, 2018:
I have a full set..still in original packaging world war 1/2 steel/diecast planes a of the time.
Prob 70..+ years old.
17 in set.
American..and Japanese planes..
No jets of this time period.
Looked up.each worth 10 $ +?
If interested ..firstname.lastname@example.org
I will send pictures.
Much like in size of matchbox cars.
Karyn on February 08, 2018:
I have alot of vintage toys. Weebles, weebles haunted house ,weeble people n playsets. Also have very rare beanie babies. Ku ku with tag errors, seaweed , stretch. A fisher price woodsey house with all accessories n the and the woodsey tree store with accessories. A jack and jill sand pail , n a lil red riding hood sand pail. All in great condition. Also have other stuff to.
Joy on February 04, 2018:
I have the original barbie doll,kissy doll,old baby dolls,some beanie babies,
Debbie on January 26, 2018:
I would like to sell a Playmobile 5300 Victorian Dollhouse, comes with all furniture, for kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedrooms, the family figures,.
sue on January 23, 2018:
i need to find out how much my 1960s geebees fort laramie is worth
Margaret Oliver on January 02, 2018:
I have a VINTAGE-1990-ECHO-TOYS-MELODY-CIRCUS-TRAIN-SET-MINT-IN-UNOPENED. Looking for value
Robert D.Hellen on December 24, 2017:
I have a small plastic tricycle 1948 1950 in excellent condition, and also a tricycle type ice cream wagon same years and condition. Looking for value,
Fatso on December 16, 2017:
I have a 59" Steiff giraffe that I was told is over 50 years old in mint condition. Any Idea on the "value"?
Juan fermin on December 14, 2017:
I have a Godzilla I bought it 25 years ago. Im selling it.
Brenda on December 07, 2017:
I have a wooden Playskool Baby Tryke/Riding toy that was bought in December 1966 and is in good condition. Would this be an item of interest?
Jackie Mabry on November 15, 2017:
I have a few toys still in boxes fro the late 80's -90's. How can i get them priced and sold. aLSO A LOT OF OLD PICTURES..
bonnie on November 04, 2017:
Amana refrigeration vintage semi truck. all metal. from the 80s. how can I find out what its worth? any help would be appreciated, I cant find anything about it online. in box, all new
Tammy on October 20, 2017:
I have a 1947 Lincoln logs set in original container
Angel on September 06, 2017:
I have a 2008 millennium falcon and other star war toys for sale
mark on August 30, 2017:
I have a 1930s fisher price #365 back up puppy in excellent condition. has the rare red button tail in original condition. I would like to sell.
Susan on August 26, 2017:
I have one of the original cabbage patch dolls from the eighties. The only problem is that I don't have the box. I was wondering what it might be worth and where I could sell it.
Tina on July 17, 2017:
I have a huge lot of vintage diecast toy collection 106 Tootsie Toy cars 42 Tonka trucks and cars and a crap load of matchbox Mattel and hot wheels also 1951 plane set I want to sell my number is 2813094912 if u are interested in the entire lot
Amber Gordy on June 22, 2017:
I have a vintage miniature dollhouse set that is brass and copper made in England and the pieces are numbered and 3 metal girls from vaitnam. # 4787772496
Sandi Parks on April 28, 2017:
Looking to sell a large toy tractor collectibles
Would appreciate any help and assistance in selling several toy tractors. Brands include John Deere, Case & Allis Chalmers
nancy a on April 18, 2017:
i like to sell my beanie babies ok thanks nancy
Mary Lech on February 15, 2017:
I have done exactly what you said about cleaning out my attic. I do want to get rid of a lot of toys from my sister's childhood(1957-1965) and my daughters chilhood (1970-1977).
My hoe was to just sell them all to one person for a flat price. Is there somewhere I can do that?
Thank you so much for any help you can give me!
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 08, 2016:
This was an interesting and helpful read. I have slowly gotten rid of most of my childhood toys unfortunately, but still have some of those used by my children from the 80s..especially board games etc. Thanks for sharing.