Toys for Christmas & Year End Thoughts
As we approach (and pass) Christmas I’m inclined to reflect on your year of 2017 and think about Christmas Toys. What a year it has been and what beautiful toys have come and gone! There are some trends to share, and I’d like to express my gratitude.
First thought, thank you to all the subscribers to our newsletter and to all the buyers, sellers, and friends helping us build the business. The efforts have paid off with hundreds toys to offer and hundreds sold off the site. It is great meeting customers at shows, via calls, by email, or through road trips. “My friends” have helped us build the business.
Toy Sales Trends
Regarding trends, one of the big themes we see is quality. A well made toy of high quality tends to stay in demand. We just need to have enough condition to have it stand-out. Hidden collectors come out of the woodwork for the right thing. Great hight priced toys (when new) seem to always come and go quickly. They were a challenge to obtain in their day and this still holds true.
We’ve had a tough time with any collections in average to poor condition. This one is more obvious, but we will state specifics– worn out toy soldiers have been a tough sale. Those get placed with locals it seems (no shipping costs). Worn out cast iron has been a tougher sell. We do well with worn cast iron, but the trend we see is fewer buyers at the entry level; more buyers at the mint toy level. So price drives the cast iron sales less than condition; you don’t see superb cast iron toys too often, so the get fought for.
So cast iron toys in above average condtion sell well. We are doing great with 7-10 out of 10 condition cast irons. We see the planes, cars, trucks do very well. Horse drawn toys are a slower seller but I think undervalued. Train cast iron has been tough; there are gobs of new train toys out there, so I think that area is clogged with options.
Robots and space toys seem quite strong. My biggest comment here is that tin robot toys came down in price quite a bit due to reproductions. That said, an original tin robot well always be a stunner in person. Web images of reproductions have dulled the senses. Look out for more polyethylene “Jumbo Machinders” to catch fire. Diecast Showa era robots have been giants in underground sales. They get traded privately, so keep an eye out for Bullmark toys, Popy Toys, and Shogun Warriors (see my other site www.Robot-Japan.com for examples).
We’ve had a tough time with 1980’s and 90’s non-figure toys. Diecasts have floundered, especially those originally released “for collectors”. Many of these don’t hit the net, but our local shop purchases for pennies tend to bring dimes. We have become incredibly selective of anything beyond 1970 and simply tend to pass.
I see a resurgence in big toy truck interest and fair prices. For a bit, they were extremely tough sells, and now collectors are comfortable with current prices (they went down 40% or so from the Don Kauffman days). Our Buddy L toys drove off fast. Keystone toys truck out of here consistently. We get four times the questions for trucks versus many toys.
Boat sales have been strong. I foresee continued interest in well designed boat toys, and not just tin ones, but wood and plastic. Boat designs transcend generations, and designs look great in collections. The collectors out there seem to devour them like bread and water. So I’ll always be buying and consigning boats. It may just be a function of living on the coast, but demand is strong in Florida.
Restorations– Our customers, readers, and outsiders have really debated restorations. We have started to scrape the bottom of the barrel on new old stock toy finds. So naturally, the items available need help. How much restoration, what to restore, how to restore, or to not restore have been hot topics. The underlying theme is that stupid prices are paid for mint toys; now trying to verify an original mint toy is another matter entirely…..
Consignors– Thank you for your business and we appreciate you allowing “adoptions” though our site. Your collections have allowed us to build a strong variety of toys.
To you future consignors, we simply work out a percentage and hold out for a fair sale and don’t have to deal with heavy fees for buyers or sellers. We tend to do many interstate transactions, so that often helps with taxes. We help free up space in households! We also preserve toys that are getting moved too often, in challenging environments, and not properly displayed.
Finally Christmas thoughts– We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or simply Happy Holiday season. I’m enchanted with all the new friends and toy resources we have built this year. Sales are secondary to finding new friends and people that enjoy the hobby.
Networking and reputation are key to me, as I’m into this fun job for the long haul. It is great to visit friends and be able to mix in a few toys for keeping the lights on. The business of antique toys, for me, is a humble one however the life experiences are beyond rich. I’m thankful as we ride into the New Year and happy to have met so many great toy collectors.
Cheers from Ed & AntiqueToys.com !
P.S. We can share collection leads around Arizona, California, and the West. Contact me if you wish to network. firstname.lastname@example.org