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Today, kids have video games, tablets and smartphones to amuse them. But in an earlier era, parents had to rely on traditional toys to keep their kids happy.

From dolls and teddy bears to rocking horses and toy soldiers, there was a multitude of different toys for kids. Some are worth money today, but others aren’t so fortunate.

So, how can you tell if your old tattered doll or broken train set is worth something? This guide explains what to look out for when buying or selling antique toys.

What to Look for When Buying Antique Toys

Small-scale manufacturing renders collectable toys precious. Many vintage toys were made in smaller batches meaning these toys are far more valuable than those made on a large scale. Rarity adds value. 

An old toy doesn't necessarily mean it's valuable. Although older toys and games are frequently made with outdated materials or technology, it doesn't mean that they are valuable.

To determine whether an old toy is rare, look for a patent, manufacturer's mark, or country of origin mark on the product. You could also look up patent applications online to determine when the patent was filed.

The materials are one of the biggest differences between antique toys and new toys.

Whether it's a strong metal toy that later became plastic, such as hot wheels, or originally a hand-painted cloth that later became a card, such as monopoly. The quality of the materials has a large part to play. 

How to Tell if Vintage Toys are Worth Money

If you have a toy that you think might be antique, the first thing to do is to try to determine its age. This can be a tricky process, but fortunately, there are many online guides that can help you out.

Once you know approximately when the toy was made, you can use its condition to determine how much it might be worth. If your toy is pristine, it will probably be more valuable.

Toy collectors prefer toys in their original packaging and in mint condition, so if yours doesn’t have a box or it’s missing pieces, it may make it less appealing. If you find that a collector just isn’t interested in your antique toy, it may be worth considering selling it elsewhere.

The Most Valuable Types of Antique Toys

The earliest toys produced were wooden puzzles and dolls with jointed bodies progressing to marbles, spinning tops and yo-yos. While some of these items may have sentimental value, they’re unlikely to be worth a lot of money.

The first teddy bears were produced in 1902 and were very popular when released. Since then, they’ve been made by various different manufacturers and in many different shapes and sizes. This has made them collectable, particularly from brands such as Steiff and Ty’s Beanie babies.

Other items that are likely to be worth money include antique trains, cars and miniature toys. They may be worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds if they're in good condition.

Toy soldiers are also a popular collectable, especially those produced before World War II. 

Bottom Line

Remember that not all antique toys are worth a fortune. While some might be worth a lot of money, others will only be worth a few pounds. The best way to find out if your antique toys are valuable is to determine their age and assess their condition.