Among collectors, there’s a market for the toy guns of yesteryear. Mint examples in original packaging, guns that flash and spark with a pull of the trigger, replicas of weapons flourished by TV characters and brightly enameled tinplate ray guns made by Japanese firms such as Daiya and Matsuda in the 1960s are all extremely collectible.
1. Inspect your toy gun. Look for a maker’s name. Assess it for chipped paint and missing parts. Poor condition and lack of original packaging can lessen a collector’s interest in a toy. Unusual functions, alluring design or a tie-in to a cult TV series have the opposite effect. Make notes on all of these points before proceeding with your research.
2. Visit your local library. If there are no books specifically on toy collecting, look for a recent price guide on antiques, collectibles or toys. Search under such sections as toys, films and TV tie-ins. These guidebooks collate prices over a given period.
3. Browse auction results by typing “toy gun auction” in an online search engine. This should bring up a list of recent or current auctions with toy guns for sale. Narrow the search region and date. Items will have a broad price range, such as $80 to $120. Past auctions will record a “hammer price”–the sum paid for the item on the day of the sale. This provides the most current price.
4. Perform a search of online auction sites by typing “vintage toy gun” into the sites’ search engines. Break down the results by category. Look for a toy gun identical to your own. Use the site’s tracking tools to follow the item until it’s sold.