A Passion For Playmobil

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Playmobil is one of the world's leading toy brands
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Playmobil is one of the world's leading toy brands

One Of The World's Best-Loved Toy Brands

Playmobil was invented in 1971 by Hans Beck and has since become one of the best-loved and most-collectable line of toys in the world. It was manufactured for the first time in 1974 by the Brandstätter Group, from Zirndorf in Germany, and has captured the hearts of adults and children everywhere, with an imaginative array of figures and props allowing fans to make up their own adventures and stories.

The signature Playmobil toy – once known as a Klicky thanks to the typical clicking sound it makes – is just 7.5cm tall. These days, models of this kind are sold individually or as part of a set with Playmobil fans keen to search out some of the most rare and unusual Playmobil memorabilia to have ever been made. Everything from themed Playmobil series to special edition figures have been released over the years but what are the most valuable collections on eBay?
The 5516 country horse set can fetch up to £1,000
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The 5516 country horse set can fetch up to £1,000

Unused and Unopened

Prices differ considerably from listing-to-listing depending on the popularity of the auction or what the seller wants for their product. However, people tend to pay more for Playmobil sets that are unused, unopened and in immaculate condition such as the Playmobil 3268 Knight’s Empire Castle, which is on offer for £469.98. This comes complete with six Playmobil figures as well as a range of accessories including shields, swords, figurine armour, a functioning hoist, a king’s throne and a prisoner’s dungeon.
Similarly, brand-new, unused and unopened Playmobil 4032 Western-theme train sets tend to come with a fairly hefty price tag with listings reaching £1,888. This particular set includes Playmobil figures, a horse and cart, twelve bronze tracks and a remote control and seems to be more valuable when sold with its original box and paperwork. You can also get hold of a Playmobil 5516 Country horse and stall set in mint condition for close to £1,000 as well as a large Playmobil 5106 City Life bus set - complete with opening doors and room for 11 passengers - and a Playmobil 4488 tropical reef divers toy complete with figures, scuba accessories and marine life for about the same price.

Sets still in their original packaging are worth more money
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Sets still in their original packaging are worth more money

Original Packaging

Many collectors are keen to buy Playmobil sets that are still in their original packaging. This is because Playmobil has been marketed in many different ways and the box alone can help date the product and add to the retro feel of the set. When Playmobil was first introduced, for instance, there were just three play worlds, with knights and medieval accessories being sold in a green box, Indians and wigwams in a red box and construction sets in a blue box. The Playmobil logo was also different incorporating the circular Brandstätter company logo with the popular Bauhaus writing. While sets containing this might not cost the earth, they’re often considered more valuable to Playmobil fanatics.

You’ll come across a lot of retro products on eBay that are worth a lot to collectors including the vintage 3362 nurse and wheelchair set or the Playmobil 3488 vintage traffic police set.

The Playmobil police
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The Playmobil police

How to Spot Retro Figures

Some people like to add to their Playmobil collection, not by purchasing a complete set but by looking out for the very first Playmobil models. The originals are cherished by buyers and are considered more valuable than those made at a later date. Vintage toys tend to sell fairly cheaply on sites like eBay and these oldest pieces can help a collection be more complete. Here’s what to look out for when looking for retro figures.

Playmobil with non-revolving hands:  If the hands on Playmobil do not revolve, this means they were produced before 1982 and are amongst the earliest figures to have been created.
Playmobil with painted features: When Playmobil was first introduced, the figures tended to have features that were painted on by hand. Changes were made after 1978 with the introduction of techniques such as dual injection moulding which help to construct the faces using different coloured plastic.
Playmobil with the inner and outer legs the same colour:  The legs of the first Playmobil figurines are made from the same plastic and are usually the same colour. The inner-leg of later models tend to be made with a clear-white and more flexible plastic
The date stamp on the foot:  The date stamp on the foot does not indicate the year of production but rather the year of copyright registration of the mould – so don’t use this as a basis for when the model was constructed.

While many retro figures won’t break the bank, you may have to pay more for unique, rare and special editions that are hard to find. These include a collection of British police figures. Playmobil toys of this kind – including the Playpeople British 'Bobby' Police Officer Figure, the Playpeople British WPC Female Poilce Figure and the Playpeople British Police Officer Figure with peaked cap – were only manufactured and released in the UK from 1975-1980 and were sold and produced for the UK market under licence by Marx Toys LTD.

They were never released outside of the UK and boast a unique shade of navy blue which was only used on police figures. As a result, these tend to be sold for far more than other toys, priced at about £50 or more on eBay.

A Martin Luther set
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A Martin Luther set

Special Editions

Special editions such as the Playmobil 6099 Martin Luther figure complete with a hat, two white cuffs, a quill pen and a mini bible can also fetch £50 plus, especially when in its original packaging. This piece has been issued ahead of the 500 year anniversary (2017) of the Protestant Reformation and has become Playmobil's highest selling toy of all time.

Playmobil doesn’t look to be going out of fashion anytime soon and with highly valuable sets and figures available from eBay you’re sure to find the perfect addition to your collection. And remember, while some pieces come with a high price tag and are worth a lot of money, others are valuable due to their historic and sentimental importance and retro design. These are a vital part of any collection.

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