Condition Grading
Throughout the site all models are given a condition grading. The first letter applies to the model and the second to the box or packaging.
  • A+ = Mint
  • As new Condition
  • A = Excellent
  • Only the slightest faults
  • B = Very Good
  • Some signs of wear
  • C = Good
  • With obvious wear
  • D = Fair
  • Possibly parts missing
  • E = Poor
  • Restoration project only
  • NB = Loose
  • No box or packaging

Buying Collectable Toys

What to Buy
People start collecting toys and models for lots of different reasons, some like to collect what they had as a child and bring back happy memories, others collect what they always wanted as a child but never had. Many collectors collect to a theme that interests them like taxis, buses or spinning tops. Indeed if you are thinking about starting a collection of your own it is best to have a fairly clear idea in your mind as to what you are going to collect.

Do you have enough space to store or display your collection? Collect pedal cars and you are soon going to fill a large house, collect Dinky 28 series vans and one display cabinet will do the job. Be careful, collecting is addictive and collections often end up much larger than at first anticipated.

Careful consideration should be given to deciding on a collecting theme. Start collecting buses without any parameters and you will soon discover that vast numbers of bus models have been produced and only the most fanatical collector with very deep pockets and an enormous storage capacity will be able to collect them all. Better to limit your collection to a particular scale, model and period.

Having a good idea of how much you are prepared to spend on your collecting hobby can also give you some useful pointers as to what to collect. If for instance you have a monthly budget of 100 and want to collect old toy cars in mint condition on a weekly basis, you would be better off collecting "Matchbox Superfast" toys than trying to collect "Dinky" toys.

When collecting old and obsolete toys there is always the question of condition. Should you buy items in mint or playworn condition? Often collectors start buying worn items and then upgrade later, this however is an expensive way of going on. It is better to decide at the beginning if you are going to be happy with only perfect items or not. Many people prefer playworn items as they consider them to have a certain charm. Others will settle for nothing less than perfection. It is certainly true that if in the future you want sell your collection you stand a better chance of getting your money back or making a profit with items in close to original condition.
Where to Buy
Various factors will determine where you buy your collectables from but the main issues are time, distance and cost. Quite probably you will not be able to source all the items you wish to collect locally, you will therefore sooner or later find yourself purchasing via the internet or mail order.

Part of the fun of collecting is the search, finding that elusive item. The internet by its very nature is also all about searching, put the two together and you have a marriage made in heaven. Collectables like toys are perfectly suited to internet trading, they are mostly small and light which keeps down the cost of shipping enabling you to purchase items from anywhere in the world. Another great advantage of collecting on the internet is that you can do it from home..

Online Auction
There are now many online auction sites with the best known being eBay which first started in 1995. Buying at auction is tremendously popular and can be great fun, however it is possible to get carried away and pay too much.
Follow these three simple rules and you will not go far wrong:
1/ Always check the seller has a good reputation.
2/ Know the market value of the item.
3/ Set your price and stick to it.

Online Fixed Price
There are thousands of independent web sites and many large trading platforms like eBay where you can buy collectables at a fixed price, these are of course just shops, but online.
Follow these rules for trouble free collecting:
1/ Always check the seller has a good reputation.
2/ Know the market value of the item.
3/ Search the internet thoroughly for better deals.

Traditional Auctions
In the past one of the main sources of stock for toy dealers was the auction house. Today some local auctions still have regular toy sales and many have the occasional collection in amongst their other lots. It is a good idea to keep an eye on these auctions as you never know what may turn up and bargains can be had. There are some auctions that specialize in toys but these are generally well represented online.
When buying from a local auction:
1/ Carefully inspect the lot before bidding
2/ Know the market value of the item/s.
3/ Set your price and stick to it.
4/ If you are the winner carefully inspect the lot before paying as the item may have been damaged by other viewers after you last looked at it.

Toy Fairs
This is where it all started. Fairs or Swapmeets as they used to be known are a great way to buy toys. You can inspect the merchandise before you buy, chat to the dealers and other collectors and browse all the stalls loaded with potential purchases for the future.
Toy Fair tips:
1/ Small fairs can be a disappointment, if possible stick to the larger ones.
2/ Know the market value of the item/s you wish to buy.
3/ HAGGLE! A dealer will be surprised (and hiding a grin) if you don't.
How Much to Pay
You will have noticed a bit of repetition in the tips above with regards to market value. If you don't have a good idea of the value of an item you will not know if you are paying too much and just as important you will not know a bargain when you see one. Once you know the market value of an item it is then up to you to decide if you want to pay a bit over the odds for that item missing from your collection, or bide your time as you know a better deal will probably come along. See our valuing page for some pointers.
Begin Your Search Here
Why not start by checking to see if any of the items you are looking for are listed on the ToyMart price guide. ToyMart database listings give you values for all conditions plus 3 different ebay search results with items for sale. You can now use the ToyMart site to produce a list of items you are looking for. Simply browse the database and add items to your wanted list. You can also use our Check-a-Mart search tool which will give you results for sold and current items which is an excellent way to make judgements regarding value.

Half the fun of collecting is the thrill of the chase.
Good luck!
Alan Latham

January 2018
Latest Price Guide Changes
Corgi Classics , CS90238
Guide Price £11.64
Diapet , B30
Guide Price £46.04
Scalextric , C1372
Guide Price £99.44
Dinky , 715
Guide Price £48.55
Latest Shop listings
JNF , 83
Sale Price £145.00
Dinky France , 500
Sale Price £99.00
Dinky France , 500
Sale Price £89.00
Corgi , 458
Sale Price £35.00
Corgi , 436
Sale Price £89.00
Corgi , 229
Sale Price £49.00
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