Our constant advice given to collectors and the toy trade over the past four decades is to always buy the best quality and condition that you can afford. Many years after the cost of the toy is just a distant memory, a superb toy in excellent condition will give pleasure and at the same time, normally prove to be a wise and sound investment.
It is important to be very careful in attempting to clean or restore a toy yourself.
Cleaning with the wrong materials a toy to improve its appearance can adversely affect or devalue an item. It is always best to leave it in its “virgin” original condition than try to clean too much and destroy the original patina. Simple cleaning with enzymatic fluid (commonly known as saliva) soaked cotton wool will work well. Thereafter, this can be followed by a light polish. The various techniques required for cleaning and conservation will vary from toy to toy depending on whether the toys in question is factory hand-painted or lithographed tinplate.
It would be a perfect world if every antique and collectable toy found would be in “as new” condition, thus rendering conservation or repair unnecessary. Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect, and as such, conservation and repair have an important part to play (excuse the pun) in collecting fine old toys.
The actual finish of a toy is all important, whether it be a fabulous hand painted example or a “mass produced” lithographed toy – It is with this in mind that every collector has to decide for him or herself the extent of repair and conservation that he/she is comfortable with. Of course, factors including, but not limited to the type of toy, scarcity, size should always be considered.
I use the term ‘conserve’ as it implies keeping the originality of the toy in question, and as such retain its integrity whilst returning a toy to anaesthetically acceptable condition that one is satisfied and proud of.
In conclusion, we are pleased to be able to advise on an any aspect of repair and conservation for clients and collectors worldwide.