Christmas wrapped up. Watch out for the toys that might soar in value!

The Christmas wrapping paper is now safely stuffed in the recycling bin. The new batch of Christmas toys are stored neatly in shady corners of the playroom - hopefully not forgotten - but children do get bored and distracted so easily.

Meanwhile parents need to get clued-up. Look closely at some of those gifts you spent so much time and money buying. In a few years that plastic figurine or doll could easily repay the money you originally laid out for it – with interest? Try to keep them safe.

Toys aimed at the modern generation are already moving into the fascinating territory of what is and is not collectable. From Beanie Babies to Lego Toys and from Star Wars to L.O.L. Surprise dolls they could become treasures as the years go by.

              Source - L.O.L. Surprise! Pearl Surprise

Valued for their nostalgic memories as much as their material content, simple plastic toys of a certain genre were cheap as chips to manufacture, but if they are associated with a film franchise and have captured the public imagination, they can become really sought after. The skill lies in knowing what the market is and the direction of collecting trends.

Hat’s off to Toy Story 2’s Jessie

My daughter, in her twenties, cleared out her wardrobe just before Christmas and gave a whoop of delight when she discovered her long lost Toy Story 2 Jessie doll. She’s the character with the wonderful big green eyes who sang the Randy Newman classic song “When She Loved Me”. A quick search online for similar dolls was an eye-opener. One talking Jessie, in its original Disney box, was up for auction valued at almost £1,000.

My daughter’s Jessie, a Christmas present from more than ten years ago, was missing her red wide brimmed hat. To any toy collectologist interested in Disney memorabilia, the missing hat made this particular Jessie less attractive.

A quick online search revealed that there was at least one red Jessie hat of the correct spec’ available to buy. The auction started a £5. That’s a fiver for a simple plastic hat measuring about four centimetres in diameter!

She told me she has no intention of selling her beloved Jessie but she had learned a lesson. A toy will most likely maintain or increase when all the parts and accessories are still with it is in perfect condition.

Can you spot the flawed accessories?

It’s a lesson all serious collectologists appreciate. The value of an item will be linked to its condition and whether original parts survive. Sometimes even replacing a missing element and sourcing it online is not ideal. Eagle-eyed experts can spot replica parts as one toy auctioneer I know recently explained to me.

She said there is a cottage industry of people making replica accessories for potentially valuable toys. She mentioned how she was recently asked to value a rare model of a Star Wars character for auction. The character, when it was bought at the toy shop, carried a particular type of space weapon, but she realised on close inspection that the weapon was only a replica version. It was not the original that came at point of purchase.

                    How much are rare Star Wars figures worth now? 

She said: “This is quite a common in the market. It is not to say the toy character had no value. It was still a rare toy but its valued less than it could have been with the original weapon. Valuing a toy is often about spotting flaws, detail and knowing what to look out for.

So I was left wondering. If my daughter bought the online hat for Jessie how would we know if it was an original or a replica? Twenty or thirty years from now would the hat be recognised as fake? Probably not. My advice was buy the hat anyway, replica or not. Jessie just isn’t herself without it and Woody her partner would be disappointed!

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