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March 8, 2013

Classic toys stay popular; many are collectible

(Continued)

In arts and crafts, Crayola’s booth showed new kits for making custom markers and crayons. Play-Doh demonstrated a new fluffier formula, while at Waba Fun, buyers were elbow-deep in Bubber, a never-dries-out play dough made with hollow ceramic beads and non-toxic polymers; Shape-It sand, which can be formed, baked, sculpted and then warmed back into a pile to start again; and Kinetic Sand, another polymer-filled sand.

OLDIES BUT GOODIES

When a kid outgrows them or loses interest, which toys are worth hanging onto?

Those with sentimental value, perhaps — books, dolls or train sets that parents dream might one day be passed on to grandchildren.

And then there are collectibles.

“I think the ones based on popular movies and shows might have value. Couple that with a brand-name toy and you’ve got a potential collectible,” says Bene Raia of Boston, one of the antiques pickers on PBS’ “Market Warriors.”

Hard-to-find sets of “Star Wars” Lego, for instance, are worth big bucks, she says; an out-of-production Rebel Snowspeeder was recently offered online for more than $1,300.

And pay attention even to what’s in those fast-food bags.

“One of the biggest surprises in toy collecting is the Happy Meal giveaway,” Raia says. Tie-ins to films offer an instant cross-collectible, that is, an item of value in more than one collectors’ marketplace. Whole sets command more on the resale market; a “101 Dalmatians” Happy Meal set from McDonald’s now sells on eBay for around $100.

Raia says many toys from the Baby Boom era are valuable now — Louis Marx toy trains, Madame Alexander Cissy dolls from the 1950s, Parachute Jump erector sets from the ‘40s — especially if they have the original boxes and accessories.

That’s key: Keep the packaging.

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