Man oh man this flip had me excited!
Vintage/antique toys really aren’t my expertise, but the instant I saw this group I knew that I had a good deal.
I got a huge set of five 1950-1960 steel Tonka Trucks for a bargain! Since I bought them all, they even gave me a little wiggle room on the price.
To lot or not to lot?
Since I bought 5 of these Tonka trucks at once, I had some decisions to make. Sell them all together as one lot? Piece them out? You can make more money by selling them individually (or even selling the truck as parts), but you would need to put in the work to take apart the trucks and list individually. This would definitely take a lot longer. Selling all the Tonkas as a lot would get them out right away. There had to be a good balance between the two!
Using eBay’s completed listing searches, I was able to find out that the 3 red trucks are pretty common, but was able to sell them all together to increase profits. The yellow road grader and the blue pickup truck with the trailer would be sold as individual units since they were selling at high prices.
Tonka (as Mound Metalcraft) started making trucks in the 1940’s but weren’t officially the Tonka brand until 1955. It’s an example of a classic steel toy that was made in the USA and was built to last. They weren’t kidding when they chose the slogan “Tonka Tough.” Just think, it’s over 60 years old and moves just like it did when it came out of the box!
I described the condition on the Tonka Trucks as “well used” and most other truck on eBay There’s virtually no original Tonka Trucks that look like they did when they came out of the box. If you find one, it will sell for a (affiliate link)
You do have to be careful when purchasing pristine vintage Tonka Trucks. There are a lot of restorations out there. Now, these restored Tonkas still sell very well, but you wouldn’t want to advertise a truck as “like new” when it’s actually a restored one.
My trucks all had a lot of wear, with some rusting and missing pieces (exhaust pipe on the road grader was broken, a couple pieces of the cement mixer were missing, and the blue truck didn’t have all of the chains, headlights, or tail gates). Even with all of these imperfections, I still made some good cash!
- Purchase price – $8 for all 5!
- End Selling Price – $181.30
- Fees and Shipping/Handling – $56.24 – these weighed a lot
Total Profit: $118.06
Available Cash to go out and buy more: $125.06
These types of buys are the best flips since you make some great $$$, and you learn a lot too! I’m sure the info I gained from researching these Tonka Trucks will come in handy when I’m out buying at garage sales this summer!
Big thanks to Neat Old Toys for its great information on dating vintage Tonka Toys! With their table of the older models, I was able to find out exact years for each toy based on the sticker and other features.
Side note – Normally, when I sell something, I don’t go back into eBay and look at comparable completed listings. This blog has caused me to do that though, and I noticed that a blue Tonka Pickup truck in really similar condition without the trailer sold for $130 including shipping and handling. This is definitely part of the eBay game though. Sometimes you’ll be on the winning end where you’re the first to list an item and it goes for top dollar, and sometimes you’re on the losing end where 5 other people list the same thing as you and you drive each others prices down. It’s a game of supply, demand, timing, and luck. It’s really like playing the stock market! I’m able to minimize my risk by buying at the right price. Now if I could only buy stocks at a garage sale, I’m sure I’d make a killing!