Collecting vintage toys: Star Wars, Subbuteo, Matchbox, Action Man and more

by Kayleigh Davies 

The market for collectable toys is fuelled by nostalgia and so is ever changing. We have seen prices rising dramatically for toys from the 1970s. As children of that era may begin to have more disposable income, some start collecting driven by the desire to get back items that were given away many years ago, or to complete their childhood collections.

Action figures are hugely popular with collectors. Palitoy’s Action Man, based on Hasbro’s GI Joe and released in 1966, was the first toy marketed in the UK as an ‘action figure’ (and never as a doll!), still captures the imagination of grown up boys today. The many clothes, weapons and accessories sold alongside the figure were so easily lost to the vacuum cleaner are often elusive and more desirable than the figures themselves. This lot of 1970s Action Man toys sold for a hammer price of £380.

TV and film related toys are always in demand, commanding interest from both toy collectors and memorabilia collectors. Star Wars toys in particular are always sought after. This Rancor Monster and Speeder Bike sold for £95.

Many people are surprised to find that their old Subbuteo collection may be valuable. After digging through a large box of teams brought along on a valuation day we managed to find two of the less common classic heavyweight teams, Romania and Como. This lot scored the vendor £120.

Diecast models remain a mainstay in the collectables world. Prices for Matchbox Superfast, released in 1969 in response to competition from Mattel’s Hot Wheels, remain stable. This lot sold for £100.

In the 1970s there wasn’t the collecting culture we see today and children tended to rip open and play with their toys. Playworn examples are often still saleable, though boxed and unopened items command a premium. 

It’s certainly worth a rummage in the loft, though it may be expensive if you get the collecting bug yourself!

Visit our vintage toys and model railways department page.

Posted on 4 June 2019 in: Auction life

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