Toy Restorations. Do I do an Antique Toy Restoration? Cast iron and tin thoughts.

Toy Restorations. Do I do an Antique Toy Restoration? Cast iron and tin thoughts.

Do you need a toy restoration?  Should I restore a toy?  How do I restore my toys?

My response, probably not, probably not, and consider just preserving it as-is.

Toy restoration of a train

Toy Restoration-photo credit Lucas Souza

Do you need a toy restoration?–  I would argue ‘No’ for 90% of the toys out there.  For that 10% out there that is incredibly historic or almost beyond repair, sure.  Please get a professional who may have the proper parts “new old stock” and possibly the correct paint.  If you are having fun on a completely broken or worn out toy, you fall into my 10%.  -Do deep research before digging in then have fun.

For the other 90%, please consider the history.  You can never go back and discern what was hand painted, what was the original rubber, chrome, paint, smoothness, and patina of time.  It is a badge of honor.  Toys from the 1900’s will just have corrosion.  They will simply have a few paint issues.  -But if you’ve been watching your “Antiques Road Show”, note that we call that patina and character.  Most toys over a century old are survivors and collectors expect problems.  We expect that 80% of paint remaining may be fine… is all about the particular toy and age.

Should I restore a toy?– Probably not.  I’ll throw out “completing” a toy, because it is always nice to find the missing parts.  However, for restoring a toy I’ll highly recommend the professionals.  Touchups tend to stand out like a soar thumb.  Re-plating tends to not match the age of the toy.  Even if the old rubber tires are disintegrating that may not be a problem; they are still there.

antique-toy-restoration-hammer-sawHow do I restore a toy?– I’ll just echo my comments from above.  Please preserve history!  If you happened to read a popular x-bay article, they talk about how to sand the surface of your toys.  Please resist!  There are so many aspects that need to be reviewed and most often this will damage the toy.

I will be an advocate to wipe down the dust.  Leaving some is ok, as to vouch for the age of the toy, but dust can damage over time.  I’ll also advocate for a non abrasive bees wax from time to time.  Confirm this though with collectors if you are unsure.  Wax will often seal out the oxygen from delicate metal.  Sometimes I’ll even wipe down a cast iron toy with a silicone impregnated rag.  Likewise, silicone can seal out the air (gun collectors can recommend some great products).  These steps though I’ll call preservation and stabilization.

In summary, consider yourself a conservator.  Would you be unhappy if the Civil War bullet holes in our old American flags were sewn shut?  Would you prefer it if we touched up the abrasions on our NASA Apollo capsules?  Would it be better to wash and bleach “Dorthy’s” outfit from the Wizzard of Oz to get the stains out?  Toy Restorations should be done by the professionals only after full consideration of history and all other options.  The next collector generation will appreciate it!





  1. Susan on July 13, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    I have an old house bank. It is missing some parts. Can you recommend someone for me to talk to about maybe getting parts replaced?

    • Kristy on July 16, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      I have forwarded your message to Ed, he will most likely give you a email today. If he hasn’t please call us at 1-727-777-4206. Thank you!

  2. Susie Taylor on July 24, 2020 at 3:20 am

    I have a 1960 tonka No2 truck and N28 stake trailer without the animal. It does have some rust not terribly bad and also missing the sheep. Will I decrease the value if restored?

    • Kristy on July 30, 2020 at 6:08 pm

      Please send us some pictures to and we can better help you with your question.

  3. gareth davies on August 18, 2022 at 2:47 pm

    this is a toy with a Microprocessor brain and is called PET STER and i am sure it will be the antique of the future. but it needs repair

  4. Pedro García Sena on May 29, 2023 at 5:58 am

    Hello, I have a 1906 bing live steam train, in the paint of the boiler some sheet is raised. Can you put some varnish or something that holds it and prevents its detachment?

    Thank, Pedro Garcia (

    • Kristy on June 19, 2023 at 6:01 am

      Please contact via our contact form above.

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