Meet up with the vintage toy collectors that have turned their passion into an expense prospect

Lau Tech Kheng of Earlier Time Collectable


SINGAPORE — For Singapore-centered Lau Tech Kheng, his love of toys has now spawned into a thriving enterprise. 

Lau started out selling vintage collectible figurines with his friends on Sundays in 2005 though functioning a entire-time position as a technician.

“For a lot of of us born in the 1970s, we are not so wealthy to purchase a ton of toys, but now, we are all over the 40s mark, and have a bit of hard cash and so we consider to buy back again the recollections,” he instructed CNBC.

“When the advertising started to attain traction with buyers, I decided why not, I will attempt to do this entire-time.”

Considering that opening his brick-and-mortar shop in downtown Singapore 15 a long time back, profits grew slowly but steadily.

His retailer, Past Time Collectable, sells collectables from hit franchises this kind of as Ultraman, Macross, Robotech, M.A.S.K and Energy Rangers and costs selection from as minimal as $4 to as a great deal as $3,800.

Although standard investments such as stocks and true estate are extra common, some folks look at vintage toys as a exceptional, enjoyment, and probably worthwhile asset class.

The procedures of trade

Toy expense for several is usually, first and foremost a pastime and a passion.

Figurine collector Dennis Pek has collected far more than 2,000 toys in the earlier two a long time. 

He has scoured flea marketplaces, on the web site and auctions, and shops about the earth for beloved collectables from his favored reveals.

Figurine collector Dennis Pek


He explained to CNBC he only resells to reorganize and update his selection.

“I have probably invested about $80,000 on my assortment, but I do it primarily mainly because I enjoy it,” he advised CNBC.

“But I guess, the value of these objects collectively, they are truly worth a great deal and they are type of an asset for the long term.”  

He believes the value of second-hand toys will come from how very well the collectible figurines are preserved, how special the parts are — particularly sets which experienced been at first created in quite little quantities.

Collectors frequently find objects nonetheless in their primary packaging, with some finding pleasure in basically proudly owning the box.

“Some people obtain the toys, and they do not even open it up,” clarifies Lau. “They say they just experience satisfied to just see the box and have the issues inside.”


Founder and CEO of MINT Museum of Toys, Chang Yang Fa, privately owns a lot more than 50,000 items of collectibles, with about 10% of them on show at his museum in central Singapore.

Chang advised CNBC about the generational shifts in accumulating choices he has noticed. “Unique durations accumulate distinct issues but normally speaking, most of the well-known toys are character toys,” he reported.

He included that classic toy gathering 1st commenced getting off at the starting of the 20th century and faithful supporters carry on to seek out toys from big franchises these as Marvel or Naruto, as very well as extra “specialized niche” films and displays.

Chang Yang Fa of MINT Museum of Toys


“Like Star Wars or Barbie, people are seeking to invest in back again reminiscences and that creates need in the reseller current market,” Chang said.

“Also, the [Covid-19] pandemic, where much more persons labored from home. I feel many desired to make their performing spaces a little bit much more conducive and so would adorn and acquire factors like figurines and so on, making a bit of a pattern of kidults obtaining additional toys for themselves.”

Grownups, or “kidults,” are a driving force driving the sales development of new toys.

Details from advisory agency Circana, previously NPD, found persons aged 18 and over accounted for 14% of U.S. toy income for the 12 months to September 2022 — that metric noticed a 19% increase when compared to 2021.

“There is a synergy between vintage toys and fashionable re-launches these as GI Joe, Masters of the Universe, Strawberry Shortcake and so on,” said James Zahn, editor-in-main of “The Toy Guide” and senior editor of “The Toy Insider.”

Zahn claimed that Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Eternia Playset, which offered for all around $100 new in the 1980s, now commands an normal of $5,000 in its unique box. The products is so sought following that Mattel mounted a crowdfunding campaign very last 12 months to make a new model of it that will ship in 2024.