November 14, 2023
Some of our fondest childhood memories come from afternoons that turned into evenings as we gathered with our friends to build cities out of blocks or stepped into fictional worlds with our favorite heroes and villains. We raced our toy cars to victory and gathered our troops of little green army men, getting lost in our own world for hours.
Even as we grow up, rediscovering the toys we grew up with brings us warm feelings of nostalgia and memories that have stuck throughout the years. The magic of our childhood remains in the vintage and antique toys that collectors preserve for years to come.
Toy cars originated in the late 19th century when the post-WWII boom led to the rapid development of the market. Manufacturers began to produce quality diecast models with interior details, and Lesney’s Matchbox 1-75 series became so popular that the name “Matchbox” eventually referred to any model car the way people colloquially use the word “Kleenex” to refer to facial tissue.
The attention to detail in model cars captivates toy collectors and auto enthusiasts. As diecast models maintained popularity throughout the decades, they reflected the automobiles of their time. Not everyone can afford a vast collection of vintage cars, so diecast models give auto enthusiasts a unique way to collect their favorite models.
While dolls are Hollywood’s favorite antiques to use in horror movies, dolls have been beloved toys for centuries. In the early decades of the 20th century, dolls were made of wax, wood, papier-mâché, china, bisque, and cloth. Raggedy Ann and Andy, the first dolls appearing in storybooks, featured a simple scarecrow look with distinctive red hair. Over 100 years after their creation, Raggedy Ann and Andy are still in production, making them a multi-generational toy.
The post-war toy boom of the 1950s led to the production of famous faces like Barbie, Chatty Cathy, and Strawberry Shortcake. These dolls, primarily made of vinyl and plastic, could be found in homes around the globe. Barbie and Strawberry Shortcake have even made their film industry debuts, with TV shows and movies still on our screens today. Barbie dolls have been a hot commodity in the collectibles scene since they hit shelves in 1959. A first-edition Barbie sold for over $27,000 at auction. For modern dolls that don’t fit in the Antique category, check out the Doll category.
When Hasbro saw the enormous success of Barbie in the late 1950s, the company introduced a toy with similar play patterns for boys. In 1964, G.I. Joe, the first action figure, hit the market. While G.I. Joe was the first in production, several other franchises popularized collecting action figures. When the galaxy far, far away hit screens in 1977, character action figures quickly followed. Today, original Star Wars figurines are the most sought-after action figures, selling for upwards of $20,000 at auction.
However, action figures provide more than just monetary value. Action figures memorialize some of our favorite heroes and villains from childhood. Whether you saved the day with Power Rangers, Superman, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or took over the world with Decepticons, Darth Vader, or the Joker, action figures shaped our imagination. For newer action figures outside of the Antique category, check out the Action Figure category.
First introduced in 1958, the modern, colored interlocking plastic pieces for building anything soon became a household name. LEGO’s pre-designed kits capture the imagination of children and adults, allowing them to craft castles, vehicles, and even sets from their favorite movies. Today, LEGO’s innovations include motorized sets, timeless art replicas, and playable game sets.
The company’s rare and retired kits have become valuable collectors’ items. Unopened vintage kits sell for upwards of $6,000, including the 1979 Space Command Center, which sold for $10,400 at auction. However, not all kits must remain unopened. Crafting modern and vintage LEGO kits is thrilling for builders of all ages.
Auctions Connect Us To The Past
While companies today strive to bring cutting-edge technology to today’s toys, antique toys offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. These toys transport us back to our childhood and link us to pieces of history. Whether you’re an investment collector looking for high-ticket toys or a hobby collector browsing for items you loved as a child, auction sites offer one of the best, time-tested ways of buying and selling vintage toys.
If you’re looking to sell items from your collection of vintage figurines, model cars, or dolls, selling at auction—especially on a site with a huge, focused audience of bidders—can quickly reveal an item’s current market value. There’s a good reason why this method has been around since the dawn of commerce. If you want to sell antique toys or other collectibles, click here to get started with HiBid.