It's ONLY a TOY!
Great age is not important for a toy: condition is the master coupled with demand, especially if it tickles the nostalgia factor in the collector. According to toy collectors, toys made before World War II are considered "antique" while toys made after the war are "modern". The toys that seem to be the most desirable are only a few decades old like Robbie the Robot, Donald Duck, King Kong, mechanical banks, cars and trains, and....the list is continuous.
Most of the toys we see are common like the ones that are often seen in dealers' shops. For example in the movie, Christmas Story, the plot highlights the Daisy Manufacturing Company's Red Ryder" BB gun as the force that drives Ralphie's desire. More than nine million have been sold which makes them common and therefore without much value! Somehow the infamous leg lamp commands more attention than the BB gun!
Another common toy we see is the mechanical bank. Sorry, most are iron reproductions and worth under $30.00; however, we do see the bank that has limited rarity and is not seen very often, but can still be found. If you want to do your own inspection of your bank, here is some advice: an original bank normally has a high sheen and does not look "grainy", its pieces fit tightly together, and it does not have circular indentations on the bottom that are so common on a reproduction. The last two banks we appraised were "the Battleship Maine Boat Bank", circa 1898 valued at $450.00 in good condition and "the Indian (yellow feathers) and the Bear" valued at $3800 in very good condition.
Toys sometimes can be a challenge as there are a number of factors that come into play: identifying the manufacturer, the date, country of origin especially if the toy is in "play-worn" condition. The most important factor in evaluating any toy is condition. If it is in like-new "mint condition" with the like-new original box, it could have exceptional value. If you have a complex toy with many different parts, no repairs, with all of its parts or elements, and has the original labeling with accompanying printed material, then you might have a toy worth several thousand dollars!
Search your home and see if you have a toy that might fit in with the "highly desirable and most valuable" category. Large-size toys, blocks decorated with lithographed colored paper, painted tinplate toys, a toy with an original box, large ships by Marklin, toy soldiers fabricated by Britain's Ltd of London in their original boxes, J. & E. Stevens Company cannons, old glass and ceramic banks are just some of toys at the tip of the iceberg of what collectors are searching for to add to their collections. And don't forget games. The most collectible American games are the early yachting and football games of the McLaughlin firm.
It might be ONLY a TOY, but if you have a rare or scare toy in mint condition and is on the collector's want list, you might have a real winner that could be worth a great deal of money. Start your search!