Collecting Toys As A Hobby

By Owen Jones

Someone who has a toy hobby is usually an adult. After all, all children collect toys - the more the merrier for them, but a person who has a toy hobby normally collects one sort of toy - like, say, train sets or a specific maker of train set. These adults retain their childhood absorption with fantasy. They are not childish, but are childlike when they start talking about or playing with their favourite toys.

Some toy hobbyists like to share their hobby with children, often grandparents fall into this group, and some toy hobbyists do not, often single people who are scared that children may damage their often valuable collection.

These collections of toys can get very valuable, because toy hobbyists tend to collect the toys from their youth, so a grandparent is mostly collecting toys from fifty or sixty years ago.

A favourite toy hobby for women is collecting antique dolls or dolls from other countries. Occasionally this interest in dolls will spill over into an interest for dolls' prams or dolls' clothes and they might start to make dolls' clothes and even their own garments. Some women and some men too get into making dolls and even dolls' houses.

Rag dolls are a distinct favourite both for the collector and the crafter because they are easy to manufacture and easy to mend. Teddy bears could also be placed in the category of dolls. Many homes have a small collection of teddy bears if there have been children raised there and it is not unusual to see hundreds of teddy bears on shelves dotted around a house.

Many older men collect train sets or model cars. Hornby, Marxs, Marklin and Lionel spring to mind for train sets and Matchbox and Dinky for miniature but detailed, die cast model cars. Tonka is well-known for larger, perhaps less detailed, model trucks, but people liked to play with their bulldozers, trucks and earth-movers as kids.

More contemporary toys that have become collectible include Beanie Babies. Beanie Babies are childlike representations of babies. So there are baby kangaroos, baby elephants, in fact babies of every type of animal you can think of and each one has its own distinct personality.

They are not expensive and lovable and there are hundreds of them - exactly the combination that some collectors desire. Teddy bear collectors frequently have a few Beanie Babies too.

Other popular toy hobbies are flying radio-controlled, powered model aircraft and racing motor-powered radio-controlled cars and trucks. There are also hobbyists that collect or and manufacture radio-controlled boats. Some collectors of radio-controlled aircraft, boats and vehicles may not like being referred to as toy hobbyists, but it is what they are after all.

Wooden toys have always been well-liked too. A hundred years ago and further, all toys would have been manufactured of wood, especially those of the working class and there are still a great deal of parents and grandparents who like to give or make wooden toys themselves. A toy hobby is a fascinating pastime for those who remember their childhood fondly and never really got out of the habit of playing.

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