Indeed, if someone goes about it right, collectible toys can yield returns. Experts say the trick is knowing what you're doing.
"It's like the stock market. Can anyone really time it?" said Terry Kovel, co-author of "Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide." He added: "It's the same with investing in collectibles — you have to time it right. It takes a lot of research and time."
Kovel, who has been involved in the industry since the 1950s, said the toys bringing in money now are mechanically complex examples from the 19th century.
For instance, mechanical banks. Basically, these banks were produced to encourage kids to save their money — put a coin in a slot, pull a lever, and the coin drops into a bank.
In 1998, Bertoia saw a mechanical bank fetch $426,000.
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"Top-of-the-line collectors think nothing of spending thousands on a toy," Kovel said. "I've been at plenty of auctions where you just stand there with your mouth open while two men battle over a toy."
Also sought after are transportation-related toys, including trains and cars, depending on the manufacturer. Tin windup toys also are popular.
"We've also seen early European tin toys that are handmade and hand-painted taking off in value," Bertoia said.