What are Toy Collectibles?

What exactly are toy collectibles?

After all, a toy I might consider to be a collectible may be of no interest whatsoever to another person.

Recently, when visiting an old friend, this topic came up in conversation. My friend found it amusing–or maybe confusing is a better word–that I collected toy cars. He’s not a toy car collector, but he tried to be open-minded to my interests.

Still, if someone isn’t a diecast collector, a passion for toy cars can be kind of hard to explain. Because my friend occasionally collects real cars, I thought he might understand my interest…maybe just on a smaller scale.

But even my best explanation was no good. I couldn’t build that bridge. My friend still seemed puzzled by how I could be so interested in toy collectibles of any sort.

Maybe toy collecting in general isn’t easy to understand, unless a person already has a love for it. In trying to explain it, I found myself fumbling around. Then, my friend asked me what exactly made these things worth collecting, anyway.

One definition of a collectible–also called a collectable–is any item that’s regarded as being of interest to a collector (1). That keeps it simple and broad, at the same time. Works for me.

My friend decided that a collectible was anything that could be sold for more money than it’s worth. I’m not sure that covers it though, in my mind. I think I get lost in the “worth” part of the definition. Who’s to say how much toy collectibles are worth?

On any given toy, collectors price guides can vary, in their values. And sellers can vary, in their asking prices. Even when there’s agreement between price guides and sellers, there can still be a dispute as to how much something is worth.

To me, sometimes the story behind the toy can make it more valuable. In a group of toy car collectors, there are usually stories about which car they liked best when they were kids, which car was fastest (usually a kid who lived down the street owned that one), which car they always wanted but weren’t able to get…

Some folks don’t want the story behind toy collectibles. My friend is one of them. I was in the middle of one of my own stories, and just when I thought I was making some progress with him, he stopped me.

“I’ll tell you the same thing I tell people when I’m looking to buy a real car,” he said with a grin.

“Go ahead,” I said.

“Skip the story,” he said. “Just tell me the price.”

“Alright,” I said.

And I did skip the story, but only because I don’t think I could have done it justice. Sometimes it’s the story behind the collectible that makes it worth collecting.