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Toy Collecting


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Toy Collecting • Toy MakersThe Toy Business

toy truck Toy collecting has been around for as long as there have been toys!  While some collectors focus on toys that will bring them a return on their investment, others collect toys for personal reasons.  But regardless of the collector's reasons for collecting, the key is knowing when the toys were made.

How do you tell when specific toys were made?  The materials used, the size of the toy, and the marks on them should help the collector identify the specifics.  While fakes and reproductions abound, a good toy collector is skilled in determining age and authenticity.

tin toy tricycle with plastic rider Determining what the toy is made of is the first step in figuring out its age.  For example, cast-iron toys were prevalent from the 1840s to the 1940s, while celluloid was used from 1890 to the 1950s.  Composition was used from the 1890s to the 1940s, die-cast metal has been used from 1906 to the present, paper was popular from the 1830s to the 1950s, and plastic has been used since the 1950s.  Rubber was used for a short time during the 1930s, tinplate was used from the 1850s to the 1940s, and wood was used from the 1830s to the 1930s.

Toy marks can also give one an idea about when the toy was made.  Toys made after 1891 and imported into the United States must be stamped with the country of origin by law.  Toy mechanisms such as live steam, clockwork, lightweight electric mechanisms, electric motors, or friction motors can also indicate the time period during which the toy was made.

Toy collectors can find what they are looking for at live and online auctions, as well as at trade shows and flea markets.

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Toy Collecting

collectible tricycle and dollhouse
Vintage Tricycle and Dollhouse