How to Buy Collectible Toys Online

Some of the most cherished collectible toys are those that people have passed down from generation to generation, while others are beloved for their place in pop culture history. Collectible toys are also common sights at estate sales and online auctions. These items often cover a broad range of time periods and span several eras, from early 1920s model trains and 1960s Barbie dolls to 1980s action figures and even late 1990s collectibles like Furbies.

Not all toy collectors search for the same types of toys; however, many stick to a certain type of toy, brand, or niche. Some collect toys because of nostalgia or history. Shopping online at an auction site like EBTH connects you with collectible toy listings from all over the country, increasing your chances of finding the toy you’re hunting for. Although the inability to inspect the item in person is one of the very few drawbacks of buying online, following a few tips simplifies the process and can increase your confidence in your purchase.

Research the Toys

If you want collectible toys that remind you of your childhood, you probably already have a good idea of what to look for. Whether you’re searching for rare toys to add to a collection or are looking for vintage toys for investment purposes, it’s important to do a bit of research to get a better understanding of exactly what to seek out. Check the online listing for identifying information like serial numbers, date of manufacture, company name, country of origin, and other characteristics. Use this information to learn more about a potential purchase. While different editions of some toys might have similar appearances, some lines are more sought after.

Consult Toy Price Guides

Auction sites like EBTH have products from estates and collections sourced from all 50 states, with each auction price starting at just $1. With such a broad range of auction items to choose from, it can be difficult to discern how much you want to pay for a particular collectible toy. As you’re researching toys, be sure to consult price guides, like “Toys & Prices: The World’s Best Toys Price Guide.” This exhaustive book provides over 100,000 values for 35,000 different toys. Several online sources publish up-to-date information about the values of various collectibles, and companies like Kovels have helpful print and online price guides for you to page through.

Consulting toy pricing guides gives you a better idea how much the particular toy you’re eyeing is worth. Guides give you a reasonable price range for a collectible depending on its condition. However, these prices aren’t set in stone. A price guide simply gives you a better idea of the value of an item so you can avoid overpaying for a toy. You can expect to pay fair market value for rare toys or those that are high in demand.

Understand Condition Ratings for Collectible Toys

No matter if you’re looking for antique china dolls from the mid-1800s or a Star Wars action figure from the 1980s, the condition of collectible toys plays a major role in their value. Condition ratings for collectibles have similar descriptions across the board, and the rating scale has several classifications from “mint” and “near-mint” to “poor” and “very poor.” Mint condition is the best rating for collectibles, and in some instances may be superior to items marked “new.” Collectibles in mint condition are free from defects, don’t show any signs of wear or discoloration, and have been inspected carefully. New items in original packaging may have defects that are undetectable.

Items decrease in value based on condition from use and care. Chipped paint, scratches, stains, odors, and other defects will affect the value. Collectible toys in very poor condition often cannot be restored because of the extent of the damage.

Study Pictures and Descriptions

Learning how to buy collectible toys online broadens your search range. You no longer have to travel across the country to find that one rare toy for your collection. However, you also can’t inspect the toy in person to evaluate its condition and note any defects. Reputable sellers like EBTH provide detailed pictures and descriptions to help ensure your satisfaction in your purchase.

When it comes to shopping for collectibles, details are extremely important. View photos of the toy up for sale from all angles, paying special attention to any photos that show damage. Review the item description carefully to learn more about the piece you’re interested in. By studying pictures and descriptions, you can feel more confident that you’re getting your money’s worth.

Pay Attention to Shipping Policies

Review the online listing to find out how the seller packages and ships your toy. Some antique and vintage toys are sensitive to temperature and moisture or are fragile due to age. Proper packaging and shipping methods are crucial to preserving the collectible and ensuring that it reaches you in its best condition. Trusted toy auction sites like EBTH give you the security that your shipments will be packaged appropriately.

Add the Toy to Your Collection

Once you receive your toy, inspect it and make sure it matches the photos and item description from the online listing. Put it in a display case to show off or carefully pack it away to maintain top condition. If you plan to store it, keep your collection in a cool, dark, and dry area in your home, and keep toys in their original packaging whenever possible. It’s a smart idea to wrap individual toys in acid-free paper and store them in acid-free zipper bags made of polypropylene, which won’t degrade paint or other finishes over time. With your storage secured, you can move on to searching for the next piece for your toy collection.

Buying collectible toys online at EBTH is a great way to build up your toy collection. Our simple online auction platform connects you with collectible toys from all across the country, so you have a much better chance of finding the items you simply have to have.

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