Best Collectible Toys: Timeless Treasures and Future Classics

Best Collectible Toys: Timeless Treasures and Future Classics

Toy makers are making more money than ever, raking in over $125 billion in 2023 alone. Collectible toys make up a large portion of the sales, and according to experts, the trend will only intensify. As a result, you can expect a whole host of collectible toys to hit the shelves in the upcoming period, but this doesn't mean you should buy just about any item.

You should only hunt the best collectibles, toys that have a special oomph to them, and we'll help you find those products. Read on for a list of the finest modern toys and rare vintage toys that will skyrocket the value of your collection.

The World of Collectible Toys

You're looking for the best toys to collect. You are one among millions of fellow toy enthusiasts, but what makes toys so collectible? 

The main reason is that they have an extraordinary nostalgic value. More often than not, a collectible toy depicts your favorite movie or cartoon character growing up. Buying it takes you on a quick trip through history and brings back your favorite childhood memories. You may reminisce about the Imperial Fleet and Rebel Alliance dueling it out in the Battle of Endor, or Batman going head-to-head with Ra's al Ghul in the 1990s Animated Series.

Another reason toys are collectible is the rarity factor. Some products are super-rare, such as certain Barbie and G.I. Joe editions. Getting your hands on them gives you a sense of accomplishment, knowing you're among just a handful of people who have these toys. Yes, Barbie might not be considered "manly," but Barbie toys are undoubtedly a part of your (and many other people's) childhoods, even if indirectly.

Finally, the cultural significance of toys is undeniable. Most, if not all, movie, TV show, cartoon, and video game releases are accompanied by a corresponding toy line. Collecting these items elevates the hype associated with the releases. 

The Charm and Value of Vintage Collectibles

In most people's eyes, vintage toys are the crème de la crème of collectible toys. It's no surprise why, considering the nostalgia factor and the rarity of some of these items. They are relics of days past people fondly reminisce about, reminding them of their favorite childhood heroes. 

What's more, vintage toys can be worth tens or even hundreds of thousands. The older some of these toys are, the greater their potential value.

Iconic Vintage Toys and Their Histories

Now that you know what makes vintage toys so collectible, you'll never again wonder, are rare toys worth money? But knowing the factors that determine antique toys' value is just a start. Let's dive into the most iconic vintage toys and their history. 

Original Barbie Dolls (1959 and onwards)

  • #1 Ponytail Barbie (1959): This is the first Barbie doll ever released. In good condition, it sells for over $15,000. 
  • Midnight Red Barbie (1965): Midnight Red Barbie is another timeless classic. It shows the legendary doll in its red midnight gown that boasts eye-catching elegance. 

Lionel Trains (1900s-1950s)

  • Lionel Standard Gauge Blue Comet (1930s): Realistic details and high-quality build make this a sought-after model. 
  • Lionel 773 Hudson Steam Locomotive (1950): This one is a relic of the post-war era and symbolizes the railroad advancements of this period. 

Star Wars Action Figures (1977-1985)

  • Vinyl Cape Jawa (1977): Any reliable Star Wars action figure price guide will tell you to look for the 1977 Vinyl Cape Jawa figure. The one from 1977 is especially prominent because it's rare and has the original cape. 
  • Boba Fett with Firing Rocket (1979): This is also one of the best Star Wars toys. It has the never-released rocket firing feature, making it extremely rare. 

G.I. Joe Action Figures (1964 and onwards)

  • Original G.I. Joe Action Soldier (1964): Nothing beats the original G.I. Joe figure. It's simple but so good that it can elevate any action figure collection. 
  • Snake Eyes (1982): This figure dates back to when the famous character was first introduced as a member of the G.I. Joe squad. 

Hot Wheels (Original Redline Series, 1968-1977)

  • Custom Camaro (1968): The first 16 Hot Wheels vehicles released are known as Sweet Sixteen. The Custom Camaro is one of them. 
  • Beach Bomb (1969): A year after the first edition, Hot Wheels launched the Beach Bomb with the eye-catching rear-loading surfboard. 

Comic Books (Golden, Silver, Bronze Age Comics)

  • Action Comics #1 (1938): This series is popular because it introduced the public to Superman. 
  • Detective Comics #27 (1939): Batman made his first appearance in this 1939 comic. 

Vintage LEGO Sets (1950s-1980s)

  • LEGO Train Set #182 (1975): It's an early LEGO train set designed for pretty much all ages. 
  • LEGO Castle Set #375 (1978): Also known as the Yellow Castle, LEGO Castle Set #375 is an evergreen LEGO toy. 

Teddy Bears (Early 20th century, e.g., Steiff Bears)

  • Steiff Titanic Mourning Bear (1912): Released the same year when the Titanic sank, this toy commemorates the tragedy. 
  • Steiff Richard Steiff Bear (1902): This is one of the oldest and most valuable Steiff bears. 

Cabbage Patch Kids (Originals From 1980s)

  • 1983 Xavier Roberts Little People: Xavier Roberts dolls weren't always mass-produced. This 1983 is an example of the original soft-sculpture design. 
  • 1985 Preemie Cabbage Patch Kid: What's special about this toy is that it features premature babies. 

Tamagotchi (1990s)

  • Original Tamagotchi (1996/1997):  The very first version of Tamagotchi is also the most collectible. Bonus points if it actually works.

Beanie Babies (1990s)

  • Princess the Bear (1997): Many products were designed in memory of Princess Diana, including this one. 
  • Peanut the Royal Blue Elephant (1995): The 1995 Peanut is collectible due to its elusive royal blue design. 

Pokémon Cards (First Editions)

  • First Edition Charizard: First-edition Charizard cards are rare and coveted due to the Pokémon's popularity and being the face character of Pokémon Red. Some listings of this card in holo version reach over $30,000.
  • First Edition Pikachu: Known as "Red Cheeks Pikachu," the mascot of the franchise itself is likely the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Pokémon.
  • Other first-edition valuables are Chansey, Mewtwo, Blastoise, Raichu, Venusaur, Gyarados, and Ninetails. Holographic (shiny) versions of these cards can fetch a few thousand dollars if in mint condition (PSA 10). 

Model Horses (Breyer Horses)

  • Breyer Fighting Stallion (1950s): Early Breyer Horses are super-collectible, especially the Fighting Stallion series. 
  • Breyer Black Beauty (1970s): Based on the titular character's novel, Breyer Black Beauty shows the majestic stallion in his prime. 

Vintage Board Games

  • Monopoly Hand-Drawn Version (1933):  Pre-Parker Brothers Monopoly editions are extremely popular, especially this  1933 version. 
  • The Settlers of Catan First Edition (1995): Although younger than the Monopoly game, The Settlers of Catan is just as collectible as its older brother. 

Vintage Video Games

  • Nintendo World Championships (1990): This entry is one of the most popular and rarest Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games.
  • Stadium Events (1987): The Stadium Events game is hard to come by, which is why it's so coveted and collectible.

Tips for Collecting Vintage Toys

Whether you're looking for action figures from the Star Wars or Barbie franchise, miniature collectibles, or trading cards, keep the following tips in mind to ensure a smart buy: 

  • Visit online stores – Many online shops, such as ToyShnip, often have limited-edition vintage toys. Buying from these platforms is straightforward, as there's no need to visit brick-and-mortar stores, and the collections are larger. 
  • Check for authenticity – Authentic collectible figures and other toys have the manufacturer's stamp typically in the lower part of the product. Alternatively, the manufacturer's logo can be found on the box, which is why it's essential that your toys come in original boxes. 
  • Ask for documentation – If you're buying a toy from an online forum or local fair, ask the seller for a receipt or other documents that prove the age of the product. 
  • Inspect the condition – Even if you find the oldest collectible toy, it won't be worth much if it's damaged. So make sure your toys are in mint condition.

Additionally, toys with a manufacturing error or defect are sometimes more valuable than the "correct" version. These defects are either present in a few production lots before being found or were chance results that slipped past quality control. They might not be more valuable at base, but you may be able to find a dedicated collector for those items.

Modern Toys: Today’s Playthings, Tomorrow’s Collectibles

Modern toys aren't as valuable as their vintage counterparts. Not yet, at least. A few years from now, some of these will be considered classics. 

Funko POP!

Funko Pops are rare, which is why they're highly collectible. There are only about 15,000 Funkos out there, so it's easy to see why they're so popular. 

Another great thing about Funko figures is that they depict characters from different franchises. The list includes Funko Marvel, Funko DC, and Funko Star Wars toys. 

That's not to say other Funko Pops aren't valuable. On the contrary, collections like Funko Sports (e.g., Lou Gehrig, Steve Smith, and John Cena Funkos) can add a ton of value to your selection. 

LEGO Sets

LEGO is a popular pick among many collectors. It's easy to see why, considering all the collaborations between the company and popular movies/TV shows. 

For example, LEGOs depicting Harry Potter are some of the most collectible toys out there. The same goes for DC Comics LEGOs. 

High-End Action Figures

Sideshow Collectibles, Hot Toys, and many other renowned brands make top-rated collectible action figures. They manufacture a wide selection of toys across numerous franchises, including Marvel, DC Comics, Dragon Ball Z, and Naruto. 

Special Edition Video Game Consoles and Controllers

Cartoon, movie, and video game-themed consoles and controllers are a massive hit in collectors' circles. Some of the most famous examples include Cyberpunk and Sponge Bob-themed Xbox 360. 

Collectible Card Games (New Releases)

Like vintage video games, newly released card games can be highly collectible. Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon trading card games are just two examples. 

Investing in Modern Collectibles

Mistakes are common when exploring today's market to find the best toys to collect for investment. Thankfully, you can reduce the risk of buying the wrong item and maximize the value of your investment by following these tips: 

  • Keep up with the pop culture – Action figures from the hottest movies and TV shows will be more collectible than their lesser-known counterparts. 
  • Focus on preserving your products – No future collector will look for damaged toys, no matter how iconic they are. So, keep your rare, valuable toys in the original box and avoid transporting them. 
  • Avoid mass-produced items – If possible, stick to items that are already rare and no longer in production rather than mass-produced toys. 

The Collector’s Journey: Building and Maintaining Your Collection

Doing your homework as a toy collector is critical, but what exactly does this mean? It means that you should conduct in-depth research before each buy: 

  • Connect with people on social media (e.g., Facebook groups) to learn more about rare items. 
  • Vet every online buyer by checking their customer ratings. 
  • Look for scratches, discoloration, and other forms of damage to verify if the toy is in good shape. Don't confuse damage for manufacturing defects and vice versa.

Navigating the Market: Buying and Selling

Once you know what toys to look for in your quest for the best collectible toys, the next issue you need to address is, where do you find those toys? There are several options:

  • Auction houses – They can offer low prices but require in-depth vetting to check seller integrity. 
  • Social media marketplaces – Facebook is an especially prominent social media marketplace where you can buy and sell collectible toys. 
  • Amazon – If you're a buyer, go through sellers' ratings to determine their credibility. If you're an Amazon seller, provide detailed descriptions and respond to customer questions as quickly as possible. 

Another detail to keep in mind when buying toys is collectible insurance. If possible, look for insured toys or insure your toys yourself to provide peace of mind in case of harm. Most policies offer coverage if damage to your toy is caused by: 

  • Accidental breakage 
  • Floods, fires, and other natural disasters 
  • Inadequate shipment conditions 

Maintenance and Preservation

Insurance is important, but it doesn't do much in terms of keeping your toys intact. You'll need to maintain your collection properly to ensure it looks great for many years down the line: 

  • Keep toys in their original boxes. 
  • Store toys away from direct sunlight to avoid fading. 
  • Protect your toys from moisture. 

The Future of Toy Collecting

Collecting toys today isn't the same as two or three decades ago. The collector's landscape will keep evolving, but what exactly will it look like five or 10 years from now? 

The biggest change might be the increasing reliance on cryptocurrency. In addition to standard payment methods, you may use Bitcoin and other types of crypto for secure transactions. 

Likewise, more and more sellers are expected to migrate to online stores since they're more convenient. Plus, they eliminate overheads and other costs associated with brick-and-mortar shops. 

Take Your First Steps as a Collector Today

If you haven't already started a toy collection, now's the right time. Thanks to internet shops and communities, finding even the rarest products is easier than ever. Just be sure you're buying authentic products from reputable sellers, and your collector's trajectory will be smooth. 

That's especially true if you embark on your journey at ToyShnip's online toy store. Check out our offer today and discover a myriad of popular toys that will add value to your shelves. From Marvel action figures and DC toys to Star Wars and Funko POP toys, we have a wide range of products across different franchises. All of which are in pristine condition and highly collectible. 

FAQs

What is the most collectible toy?

It's hard to award the title of the most collectible toy to just one product because not every collector is into the same toys. There are millions of highly sought-after toys, including G.I> Joe Classified Series Night Force Tunnel Rat, Skye Mighty Pups Action Figure, and Disney Frozen Elsa. 

What collectibles are hot this year?

Hot toy collectibles of 2023 include the Hot Wheels City Ultimate Hauler, Barbie Dreamhouse 2023, Barbie Fashionistas Doll, and Disney's Mickey Mouse E-I-OH! Singing & Dancing Plush. 

What are the best toys to buy as an investment?

Some of the best toys to buy as an investment are iconic action figures (e.g., G.I. Joe, Superman, Spiderman), retro video games (Super Mario), board games (limited-edition Monopoly), and authentic LEGO sets. 

What toys are worth investing in?

Many toys are worth investing in, but those from major movies and TV shows might be your best bet. Action figures from the 2023 live-action Barbie movie and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse are expected to soar in the upcoming period.


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