The Psychology of Collecting: What Makes us Collectors tick?..

Collectors of old toys are divided broadly between the ones that the collector remembers as early memories of childhood running through to the end of the period when they were still being bought as presents.

The second phase can take place in adulthood when they become objects of nostalgia - Also at a time when resources enabled the indulgence. Thus, Dinky toys for instance transform from objects of play to be whizzed around the floor with no consideration for the diminishing value as their condition degrades. Toy survivors of a bygone age become preserved preferably with their original boxes as icons of youthful memories preferably having survived the ravages of play.

Collectors then initially in their second phases collect the roots of their National memories irrespective of where they were made as this is often of not of significance to the grateful recipients in youth or to the nostalgia of collectors later.

A “George V” LNWR locomotive in 0 Gauge for example, probably bought in the UK around the outbreak of the First World War, was as likely to have been made in Nuremburg by Bing employing over 4,000 German workers which did not concern the lucky recipient one bit. After all it represented a locomotive named after the ruling British Monarch at the time, irrespective that he was fundamentally German.

Thus, German enthusiasm amongst collectors for toys made by Marklin for example are in many instances buying back their lost youth in view of much deprivation in their childhoods.

Americans however were less deprived and their collecting is weighted towards American toy trains with very little interest in collecting the products of Europe until, that is, their tastes developed towards turn of the century and rare antique toys in the post war period.  They were able to convert their considerable spending power to elevating toy collecting as an investment category.

Very few post war International collectors had personal memories of Marklin Boats or ornate toy Railway Stations, which rose to unattainable values for the majority of people described above.

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