I love researching the vintage toys I offer on artoftoys.com and wish everyone did thou I have found just because you see it on the internet does not make it so. Including research and the provenance of an item can make a huge dollar difference down the road for you or your heirs. Have you ever seen a show like the popular “Antiques Road Show” where the appraiser quotes one value than adds 10 fold to the value based on the documentation or story the item owner has?
The most basic information can simply be the receipt attached to the back of the item. Do not assume you will remember the who, why and what for of the item in the future. I like to find the story about the piece, artist and manufacturer and include with piece.

Here are some quick basic steps to find information!
1. Library periodical search section can help you find articles and books about your item and manufacturer. This is old school but still works!

2. ebay is a great source for a quick look see but never take info at face value for I have found more misleading info than correct. When I research on ebay I am looking for photos of similar items which will help jump start the search. Often people will use keywords that will draw you to their item but are using incorrect keyword descriptions. For example I was trying to research “Penny Dolls” but most called them “Frozen Charlottes” and enough people used this term that it became a standard generic term on ebay thou it was incorrect. I open every site with the item and read the description then after you read a few try to evaluate if key points are the same and then take next step. (If you are buying beware of disclaimers not knowing anything about item…it only takes minutes to get most basic info).

3. Wikipedia is a fabulous source! It is amazing what can be found here and it is quick. Ex. If you know the manufacturer, print out info even if it does not quote your exact item and include with your information. Often you can verify dates by manufacturer’s info. I have found items offered from 1932 for example but the manufacturer did not open until 1950! Opps someone did not do their homework!

4. Old catalogs are a great source such as old Sears or the manufacturer’s trade catalog. I buy and save these whenever I come across even if I’m not currently collecting that category.

5. Blogs and collectors personal collection sites this is a relatively new source but I find most are extremely accurate and informative. They know their stuff and are not afraid to get comments and more from other bloggers.

6. Price Guides are good source and you should list as part of your info all Price Guides that carry your item. Beware that guides quickly become dated so if listing source and listed value also list year guide was printed. EX. Value listed in 2007 for MIB $75. (We will assume it is more valuable as it gets older but some items popularity drops as in Beanie Babies and Humel figurines.) http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/11/09/eight-collectibles-mistakes

I hope this basic research info helps… remember it is done already on items purchased from artoftoys.com.

Reprinted from earlier version of website!