Why Get My Toys Appraised?

Voltron Matchbox collection for appraisal.

Why Get My Toys Appraised?

Popular action figures and toys from the 1980’s that are still in good condition can be worth hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Toys don’t have to be sealed to be worth considerable money or to be appraised.  For example, an original Optimus Prime sold for $20 in 1984 and today if he’s in good condition, loose and complete can sell for more than $200.

Determining if you need an appraisal is important whether you collect well known action figure like Transformers, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, He-Man or some of the more obscure toys like Dino Riders and Godaikin. Maybe you just happened to stumbled upon a collection, getting a toy appraisal will help you both sell your collection and properly insure your collection.

Many of us who collect vintage toys do so to bring back fond childhood memories. To most collectors, these toys represent more than just how much it might cost but something more sentimental. Serious collectors are willing to pay a premium for rare toys. Therefore, knowing the value of those toys is important.

Vintage g1 Optimus Prime real versus knock off for appraisal.
Shown a real and fake Optimus Prime.

Finding a Suitable Appraiser

There are some important criteria to consider when hiring a toy appraiser for your action figure collection:

  1. Locate a reputable appraiser that specializes in what you have. If you have a collection of G1 Transformers, what good would it do you to get an appraisal from someone who really just sells Star Wars? The more focused they are the better that appraisal will be.
  2. Appraisers need to see your antique toys in person for best results. Online appraisals are possible but they need to have pictures along with getting an accurate description.
  3. Appraisal fees should ideally be based on a per item basis. If not per item, then hourly. Never agree to appraisals based on your collection’s value.


In Person versus Online Appraisal Services

Each method has its pros and cons as well as situations where one or the other is required.  For example, on several occasions collectors have basically sold me a house of toys that when packaged equaled over 12 pallets.  It is just really not feasible to do that amount items online.  There are many great appraisers out there for vintage toys and some do both.  However, my feeling is online appraisals are not as good.  Nothing can replace having the item in hand especially when dealing with all the counterfeits out there.


Counterfeit Toys

Injection molded toys are fairly easy to produce.  Which has led to them being mass produced and counterfeited.  So how do you distinguish new from old? Because Transformers and other auction figures are valuable, it makes them a target for those who would sell reproductions as genuine.  Can you tell the difference?

Vintage G1 Shockwave real versus knock off for appraisal.
Shown a real and fake G1 Shockwave.


What Are My Vintage Toys Worth?

You need to establish a few things before you can determine the overall value. Those factors are: rarity, condition, completeness and age.  An in depth article on determining overall value can be found here.

Godaikin Sealed Sun Vulcan


Locating a Local Appraiser

Locating a local appraiser can be quite difficult depending on the toy you’re looking to have appraised.  For example, finding a local Godaikin, Shogun Warriors or Dino Riders expert will be a virtually impossible task.  Whereas, finding a local G.I. Joe or Star Wars dealer can be accomplished much of the time.


Online Appraisal Services

There are many great appraisal services for vintage toy collectors. Appraisal fees generally range from $10-25 per item. Free appraisal services generally are done by low level staff with very little experience.  From my own experience, more than once, I have been offered toy collections that were, in fact, appraised. I was even given documentation and the collection had counterfeits in it that were not documented.

Vintage Dino Riders action figures for appraisal.


Parting Words From A Toy Appraiser

We’re a vintage toy shop and we love appraisal research and enjoy helping spouses, parents, estates, insurers, and collectors themselves.  Whether it’s a single piece, a collection, or an entire estate, you will be given a fair and honest evaluation.  We love to buy toy collections too.  If you’re looking to sell your toy collection send us a message. Hope you enjoyed our article on why to get your toys appraised.


We welcome your feedback.  Thank you.


Author: Chris Ingledue

Affiliation:  Autobot

Function: Theoretician

Bio:  I’m the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab.  My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys, triggering fond memories and reigniting their imaginations.  Every day I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year; scouring the internet – like we did the Sears Catalog of yesteryear – for the next great treasure, awaiting the arrival of the postman as if he was Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas.  Every day is an absolute joy!


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