Sign up here

What kinds of toys are considered collector’s items?

Today we talk about toys, these beautiful objects that children have been using to have fun since long ago. But among all kinds, shapes and materials they are made with, what kind of toys are considered collector’s pieces? And where can we buy old toys worth collecting?

1. Tinplate toys

The small objects made of cardboard, wood or even the famous tin soldiers are very common toys, but perhaps tinplate toys are the ones with the greatest number of followers, and that’s why you will easily find them in our old toys auctions. These toys were typical during the Industrial Revolution boom and they replaced home-made toys, which had been usual in the past and made of wood or rag. Over the 19th Century, the mass production increased and every factory competed to offer more successful objects.

England and Germany pioneered the manufacture of printed tinplate representing characters, animals, vehicles or boats, which occasionally had some movement mechanism. In the 20th Century, cars and electric trains were the toys that probably enjoyed the greatest popularity. If they are in good conditions, they may be very valuable. Since their brand or origin are traceable, these objects are quite attractive to collectors of old toys.


2. Dolls and their evolution over time

Some of the toys most clearly related to children’s games have traditionally been dolls. Their aesthetic features, their reflection of fashion, their technical execution and their brands also made they became important collection objects.

They were traditionally made of wood, wax, papier-mâché or rag, among other materials, but it was in France in the mid 19th Century that they started to be made of porcelain, and more specifically in biscuit porcelain. This material provided a satin and natural look, as well as soft tonalities, which had a razing success. While heads and hands were made of porcelain biscuit, there used to be added glass eyes and natural hair wigs, and bodies were made of wood or composition (“papier maché”).

Progressive developments led to add sleeping-effect eyes, crying sounds or articulated or even walker bodies. French manufacturers such as Jumeau, Bru, Fernand Gaultier or Rabery & Delphieu, with their models of “Babies from Paris” or their fashionable “mannequins” are still greatly successful and specially their closed-mouth models are particularly valued.

In the 20th Century, German dolls were also very popular, specially their “temperamental babies”, highlighting those by the brand Simon & Halbig. There are other materials and models from the last Century that are still subject of active collecting, such as the Italian “Lenci” felt dolls or the Spanish composition dolls “Mariquita Pérez”.