Collectors consider a Thomas Train vintage when it’s 25 years or older. Generally, they appraise these toys higher than usual. So, which Thomas Trains are worth money? Thomas and Friends wooden railway trains are definitely worth collecting and selling.
Because there are many types of Thomas Trains, fans and hobbyists can have a long and wonderful time collecting these items. However, it’s important to take note that not all trains are worth saving and selling in the future.
And often it is hard to work out, which Thomas trains are worth something and which are not.
There are common trains that you’ll find online or in local toy shops, while other trains are much harder to come by. If you’re a newbie in Thomas trains, you can browse through different eBay sites to find new and used collection items.
But how will you know which Thomas Trains are worth money?
Most Valuable and Rarest Wooden Thomas Trains
According to thomasthetrain.net, they consider the following wooden Thomas Trains as the rarest and most valuable on eBay today.
Here is a great selection for you to get a feel for what your Thomas Train could be worth.
- Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Wooden Railway Trains-You Pick – $150.00
- Ada Mabel & Jane 1997 Thomas the Tank and Friends Wooden Railway Train – $149
- Thomas Wooden Railway Flying Scotsman Complete with Tenders 1999 – $125.00
- Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway 1994 Sodor Bay Cargo Ship New in Box Very Rare – $99.99
- Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Sodor Bay Cargo Ship 1993 First Edition – $80.00
Additionally, toynews-online.biz published an article in 2021. It mentioned that one of the most vintage and valuable toy trains in the UK is the Thomas the Tank Engine Hornby Clockwork Train 1983. This toy train costs about £500 or $614USD and costs can be expected to be higher in the future!
How Much is a Vintage Thomas Train Set Worth?
According to a study made by the Independent, a Thomas set with five trains manufactured in 2000 could be worth around $250USD. However, it’s important to take note that the value of an item can differ depending on multiple factors. These factors may include the following:
- Is the toy in the original box?
- Does the toy have dents?
- When is the manufacturing date?
- Is the toy a special edition?
- Is the paint still intact?
You can find many online Thomas train groups and forums on the internet that will help you evaluate the worth of your collection.
Types of Thomas Trains
There are six main types of Thomas Trains. Each has its own character and can cost differently when collected and sold.
Here are the types of Thomas Trains:
Wooden trains are the most popular type of Thomas Trains to collect because of the nostalgia it brings. Depending on the inclusions of the package, brand new items could cost around $11 to $32. Also, these items are easy to find like in your local toy stores or online.
You’ll also find the rarest and most valuable Thomas Trains that are made of wood. These items are hard to come by and can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Take-along Thomas Trains are built to withstand punishment done by toddlers. That is why it’s the perfect gift for kids and can be passed down through generations. You can find them in different packaging which includes single, double, and triple packs.
Additionally, take-along Thomas Trains are easy to find and are more affordable in contrast to their wooden versions.
Battery-powered Thomas trains are slightly less expensive compared to wooden trains. As its name suggests, you will need a battery to operate these trains. Batteries usually range from AA to C depending on the manufacturing date of the toy. These trains are also easy to find at many local toy shops.
Unfortunately, many old battery-powered trains require C batteries to move. These types of batteries make the train move slower when it’s running on newer tracks with hills.
Pull-back Thomas trains are easy to find and very affordable. These toys are best for young children because all they have to do is to pull the train backward. Once they release it, the train will move forward for several feet. This type of Thomas train is generally affordable.
Remote Control Trains
Remote control Thomas trains generally include a Thomas train and several cars. The train usually requires a number of AA batteries to operate. Also, many kids enjoy this type of train because the cars can carry several lightweight toys.
The remote control is easy to use, even in the hands of children. Thankfully, these remote-control trains have a reputation for being able to withstand excessive usage or falls. These types of Thomas trains are easy to find and affordable.
Ertl Thomas trains are becoming scarce because of their specialized tracks. Although, you can find many of these types of trains on eBay and in Europe. Since they rarely produce Ertl trains, they’re now becoming more valuable and worth collecting.
Which Thomas Trains Are Valuable and You Should Collect?
The type of Thomas train that you should collect are the ones that you like the most. Although, it’s worth noting that there are some types of trains that are more valuable than others. But how will you know which Thomas trains are worth your money?
Ertl Thomas Trains Are Becoming Valuable
As we’ve mentioned earlier, Ertl Thomas trains are becoming scarce which means they will be valuable in the near future. Additionally, you may find this type of train worth collecting because it features certain characters that you won’t find in other types at the moment. You’ll find these characters in Thomas the Train books and are not seen in the TV series.
Wooden Thomas Trains Are Popular to Collect
Because of their manufacturing dates, wooden Thomas trains are always worth collecting. If you ever find yourself an anniversary or special edition wooden train, grab them immediately. These trains are not only made for the occasion but they are also produced in a limited number.
Take note that wooden trains come with a few drawbacks. Its paint can easily chip away when a child plays with it or if you store it in a damp area. Additionally, these trains can easily get a dent when played with excessively.
We recommend that you keep the wooden Thomas trains in their original boxes and keep them in a dry area.
Limited Edition Take-Along Trains Are Worth Your Money
Although the common take-along Thomas trains are not considered valuable. Its special and limited edition trains are an exception. You can find many special editions of take-along Thomas trains during the holidays.
Additionally, stay on the lookout for unusual trains like the Easter Take-Along trains and Christmas Take-Along Thomas trains. These trains are only produced once a year (they have different designs every year).
Battery-Powered Thomas Trains in the Future
They still manufacture the battery-powered Thomas trains which mean that it won’t increase their value in the near future. The good thing about this type of train is that they are affordable which means you can have a vast collection quickly.
It’s important to take note that you should always remove the batteries when you’re not using them.
Pro tip: If you’re serious about collecting battery-powered Thomas trains, choose the special editions. Also, if you can stop yourself, don’t open the boxes of the special edition trains because they can increase their value in the future.
How to Be a Thomas Train Collector
Now that you have an idea of how much Thomas trains are worth, you may be wondering how to become a collector yourself. Becoming a collector is not an easy task. It requires dedication, perseverance, patience, and a lot of money before you start.
Here are eight steps on how you can become a Thomas train collector:
1. Invest in the Right Merchandise
As we’ve mentioned earlier, not all types of Thomas trains are valuable. Decide on which type of train you want to invest in. Also, consider looking at other options like Thomas the Train games, train plates, cabooses, and even t-shirts.
2. Become an Expert in Thomas Trains
If you’re new in the Thomas train world but want to become a collector, you should be ready to do deep research. Becoming a toy collector is a vast industry which is why you should choose a specialization.
Sign up for all the marketing newsletters of the brand that you want to become an expert in. Buy all the magazines related to the brand, follow all their social media pages, and discover all the discontinued items in their collection.
Follow train shows and other collectors on social media too, and really try and get a feel for the market.
3. Spread the Word
Whether you’re collecting Thomas trains for yourself or your child, let everybody know that you’ve become a collector. The more people know that you’re interested in buying Thomas trains, the more they’ll help you find special editions.
You never know what your friend or family member finds when cleaning out their attic!
4. Look After the Packaging
When you’re buying Thomas train products, make sure that you’re also taking care of its boxes. Many valuable items still have their original boxes and are still in good condition.
This will increase its value in the future and will protect the toy inside.
5.Consider Where You’re Storing Your Collection
Your collection should be put in a safe and dry place. Never put it somewhere your kids, nephews, or nieces can play with it. Find a storage area where it’s away from direct sunlight and could not easily get dusty or wet.
Some serious collectors put their items in storage unit facilities for better protection and security.
6. Maintain Original Condition
Putting your collection in a safe area is not the only thing that you should do. You should also visit your toys regularly and clean them from dust. Remember that your collection is an investment. Making sure that they are always in good condition should be your no 1 priority.
7. Visit Thrift Stores
The Thomas train community is big. Once you become an expert in collecting Thomas merchandise, you’ll know that you can find their products from certain areas. Thrift stores, market stalls, and garage sales are some of the best sources for vintage and collectible items.
Additionally, you can check out different Thomas train Facebook marketplaces and communities where you’ll find a wider community to interact with.
8.Love What You Collect
The most important part when collecting Thomas trains is to love what you’re doing. Investing in toys can be a roller coaster ride. You’ll experience great highs and lows during your journey and loving what you’re doing can help you in all these times. Always trust your instinct and your investment will pay off in the future.
Which Thomas Trains Are Worth Money? – Conclusion
Knowing which Thomas trains are worth money is important if you want to become a collector. Look at wooden, Ertl, and limited edition Thomas trains because they are considered more valuable. Thomas trains usually cost between $11 to $500 depending on their value and manufacturing date.