Toy collecting, especially antique tin and wooden toys, as an investment is a relatively recent phenomenon.
It started to get serious in the mid-’60s with prices and demand is driven largely by interest from the USA. By the mid-eighties, the market really took off. Toy prices in the USA and around the world started going through the roof. In 1988 the sale of the contents of Leon J Perelman’s Toy Museum generated over $5 million in just 24 hours for a collection of around 5,000 old toys of every variety.
Fortunately for the more humble collector, this spectacular Perelman Museum sale result proved to be a plateau. Prices did level off during the ’90s, but even so, toy collecting has become one of the top five “collectables activities” in the USA and the explosion in the market has been nothing short of remarkable.
Collecting toys for investment has been seen as an excellent hedge against inflation. As with all antiques, toy prices can be volatile and it is possible to inflate and deflate on the same day. A toy can vary in price depending on condition (Mint in Box is best of course). All that aside, toys do seem to be steadily going up in value even in these turbulent economic conditions.
But is that the point of a toy?
Surely the real value of any toy is the joy and pleasure it gives your child. How it nurtures imagination or helps develop physical and mental skills. Citizen Kane after all ultimately treasured Rosebud – a wooden sledge – above all his other possessions. Our guiding principle at Mulberry Bush is to select the type of toy and gift that parents remember with fondness from their own childhood and that Grandparents will want to buy for their grandchildren. Maybe that’s tapping into nostalgia – a very powerful emotion that could also said to be the motivation for collectors. Our colourful, well-made toys (many of which are wooden and often hard to find) would certainly last and could become the “collectables” of tomorrow, but that’s not why we source them. Our soft toys, for example, are selected for their cuddliness and expressive personalities – not their investment potential.
The only ROI we here at Mulberry Bush are really interested in is how well your gift is loved, treasured, cherished, appreciated and used by your children. That is genuinely priceless!