Since I covered collecting vintage toys in previous articles I thought I’d cover something I see as a future collectible toy, Thomas the Tank Engine Wooden Toys. Given the recent death of George Carlin, who stared as Mr. Conductor on the PBS series Shining Time Station, I thought this was a good time to take a look at this potential collectors market.
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There have been several Thomas the Tank Engine models made over the years, from early models made by the series creator, Rev. W. Awdry, to die-cast models made by Ertl and Meccano. However, the ones I think that will have the most future collectible value are the wooden Thomas the Tank Engine toys made by Learning Curve.
Learning Curve used the standard Brio scale for model wooden train sets which made the compatible with other playsets. This allowed children to easily mix and match Thomas wooden train components with other Brio compatible components. They were also very creative in the products they developed, emphasizing both fun and learning. I think this is one of the best things about these Thomas the Tank Engine toys.
The downside of these wooden trains is that they are rather pricey. You can easily spend $100 or more on a simple Thomas the Tank Engine playset. A larger set with a playtable could run you $500 or more. But kids get a lot of constructive and interactive playtime from them so they’re worth the price.
While the Thomas the Tank Engine Wooden Toys are rather durable, kids do tend to wear them out, beat them up, leave them out in the yard and so forth. Due to their popularity and their tendency to become worn, that’s why I see them also as a collectible investment. Mint or excellent condition Thomas the Tank Engine toys will probably come into demand as kids who grew up with Thomas the Tank Engine TV shows like Shining Time Station come to an age where they begin to feel nostalgic. Some models, such as the Lady train from the Thomas the Tank Engine Movie have been retired and are increasing in value. Setting a few of these Thomas the Tank Engine Wooden Toy Trains aside for the future might a good, low cost, collectible investment.