With the advances of the internet and other technologies, searching the world for that wonderful and elusive Steam Toy is not as difficult as when I started collecting Steam Toys over 25 years ago.
I started with the fairly readily available Mamods which are nearly always found in the free ad papers or similar, then Car boot sales came along and I graduated up to buy SEL (signalling engineers limited), these later became badged up as Merit (or Randalls), with the advent of technology over the last 10 years I have managed to purchase engines I had never seen before, such as Jenson and Weedon from America, then I managed to acquire some nice quality German steam toys from such makers as Bing, Carette, Marklin, Falk, these were mainly produced in Nuremburg and peak production was in the early 20th Century.
Nowadays for toy steam it is left with the English Mamod company and the German Wilesco company to produce modern steam engines to conform to the latest standards, although there are a few small companies out there producing more individual engines such as Jensen in the USA, Steamco of Australia and Regner of Germany.
When seeking out steam engines to add to your collection, investigate, after all do you want a ready to run engine straight from the box, or do you want one that you will have to procure lots of parts for or maybe do a total restoration.
There are now lots of companies supplying parts and services so even the rarest of engines can be bought back to life again, ask the seller questions, like when was it last run, look at the pictures, does it come with the burner tray, are the safety valve and water level plug in place? if these are missing take that into consideration as again they are items you will have to source or with cases of rare engines, even get manufactured.
Remember that an engine that runs once its out of the box and needs no work, is worth paying a bit more for, if you are going for a restoration project then factor in prices or if you will need specialist help in restoring it to its former glory, there are several toy steam forums on the internet who will gladly assist and give you some pointers.
I hope this has given an insight into toy steam models and that you will find some nice examples to enhance your collection, if your just buying your first steam engine, then safe steaming and happy collecting.