'Tis the season to buy new toys and rediscover your favorite toys from childhood, both of which might be worth a lot more money than you think.
Jordan Hembrough is a toy dealer who appraises the value of vintage toys. Hembrough, from the show "Toy Hunter" on the Travel Channel appeared on " Good Morning America" today to show and appraise three vintage toys on the set.
He also appraised toys brought in by audience members.
Below are some tips from Hembrough on how you can be a toy collector. He also offers advice for how you can protect your children's toys while they're using them.
How to Become a Toy Collector
1. Collect what you love. Never think of "what this will be worth down the line."
2. Utilize research tools; Internet and websites are bountiful on toys and history. Read about what you're interested in.
3. If going to an event such as a toy show or flea market, bring a friend or two. Collecting is a social activity.
4. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the seller: How long have you had this? Do you have any more items like this?
5. Be aware of what you can truly spend. Don't over-extend yourself when it comes to purchasing.
6. Avoid storing toys in extreme hot, cold or damp environments. Choose something climate controlled, if possible. Your toys should "live where you live."
7. Avoid storing any toy in direct sunlight. It can fade packing and even bleach out some fabrics.
How to Preserve Your Kids' Toys
1. Try to monitor how children are playing with the toys.
2. While most kids' toys today are suitable for outdoor use, keeping them clean at the end of the day is a must. Give them a good wipe down if the toys have been in mud or sand. And be sure to keep electronic toys out of water!
3. Explain to children the importance of keeping the toy together and intact with all its accessories. I used to tell my son, "How would Luke Skywalker feel if he didn't have his light saber? You need to help him fight Darth Vader by keeping his weapon close to him. Don't lose it." If you can find a way to explain it in a child's eyes, it makes it more personal to them.
4. Keep it fun! I always tell parents to have fun with their children when it comes to cleaning their rooms, brushing their teeth, or even taking care of their toys.
5. Try giving a gold star for each week that the toys are put back on shelves or away in a toy chest. Kids can collect their stars on a bulletin board in their room. At the end of the month, if the toys are all packed away nicely and with accessories. The child gets a new toy!
6. Encourage your kids to donate some of their older toys as well to local churches or charities.