Cadillac Jack's offers any toy collector the "world": there's a time worn trolley car dating back to 1896; cars, trucks, tractors, buses and trains from the turn of the century up to the '50s fill the huge toy inventory. Take a look at some of the many current available antique toy cars, trucks and trains right here!

You can probably find a 1920s Buddy L. Zephyr train and brandname toy trucks by Keystone, Sturdi Toy, Turner, Steelcraft and more: fire engines, dump trucks, cranes, loaders, pickups, trains and even U.S. mail trucks from the '20s. There's also a 1930s Keystone airmail plane ready to deliver mail and packages across the US.

Cap guns modeled from the famous Roy Rogers' pistols to a complete Lone Ranger Cowboy set can be found.

Remember those kids' metal pedal cars? Well, they have those too — everything from a D4 track-type caterpillar pedal tractor to old '30s and '40s cars of all descriptions. Yes ... even tin riding horses and the horse and cart combinations.

Many of these toys will bring back childhood memories.

Antique toy cars Antique toy pedal car Oscar Meyer Weiner Car
Metal antique toy trucks More metal antique toy trucks Antique toy firetruck and tow truck
Child's wagon Antique toy baby doll Die-cast antique metal toy cars
Pee-Wee Herman Doll Antique toy truck Antique toy race car

Cadillac Jack Fate Led this Collector Into a New Career

by Jean Meinzer

He doesn't challenge the smile creeping its way across his face. Cadillac Jack knows toys. His expression is much like that of a child's at Christmas when it comes to discussing any type of toy in his massive collection.

Sitting in the relaxed surroundings of his antique/pawn store, Jack rattles off toy facts much like an auctioneer chanting.

"This part of the country is probably the best place to find a lot of toys," says Jack, speaking of Colorado's eastern plains. "The toys are better here because of the low amount of moisture. I've bought toys out of attics in Kansas that had flat tires on them because of the heat in the summertime," he said.

Jack opened his retail store years ago in tiny Calhan, Colorado, about 35 miles northeast of Colorado Springs. The store is geared toward antiques with a heavy emphasis on toys. Jack estimates he has over 12,000 pieces, ranging from Matchbox cars to a large variety of transportation toys.

Jack's toy experience dates back to the 1950s, when he worked in a variety store. He soon merged his way into a larger discount chain where he became the toy buyer. His interest in the antique toy business simply propelled from there.

Now Jack spends a large percentage of his time scouring the countryside for more pieces. He limits himself to the Midwest and West, noting weather conditions are a consideration.

"We try to stay in the Western states where the toys don't have as much rust," Jack explains. "In fact We have over 100 pedal cars on hand from 1952 Caterpillar tractors to 1930's airplanes. We chose this area to settle because we can store the toys in warehouses and they don't have any rust at all."

Most of the pieces are for sale, but not all of them are tucked away in storage or on display inside his store. A cast-iron 1918 Dayton VisiPump stately stands in a corner of the living room in Jack's home. A 1923 Steelcraft Mack screenside United States mail truck shares a mantel with other select pieces above his television. Jack was offered $2,900 for the truck, but he refused to sell.

His collection has captured the attention of buyers worldwide. And like other collectors, Jack has his favorites. He leans toward the Buddy L 1920s model of open cab trucks. Jack also likes the Smith-Miller trucks circa 1940s and '50s. "That's the Cadillac of the toy," Jack said of the Smith-Miller. "It's heavy duty and built to last forever. I probably have three people per week ask about Smith-Miller toys."

Many inquiries are also business-related. If a toy features advertising logos or fits a certain occupation, it will be more inclined to sell.

"The two primary reasons for collecting are because it's related to a business or someone had a specific toy when they were a kid," Jack said.

An example is the 1937 Metalcraft tow truck Jack recently sold via photograph to a Georgia towing firm.

Authenticity is another consideration when collecting. Jack suggests collectors should search for pieces that have metal grills, solid tires and at least 70 percent of the original paint. Most toys fitting the bill will be pre-1960s.

"You can tell the age of a toy by its detail," Jack said. "And I'd advise carrying a magnet and see if it sticks or not."

Diligent searching can lead to coveted treasures. Jack's collection boasts an 1896 flywheel trolley that is a 24-inch replica of a real street car. But young novice collectors need only to look as far as one of their favorite fast food chains to begin a collection.

A buried treasure could be lying at the bottom of every McDonald's Happy Meal™ box, predicts Jack. The secret lies in keeping the toy with its plastic wrapper intact.

"That bag is worth as much as the toy," Jack said. "They're never coming back to that toy. Label the toy by date and it will be invaluable. McDonald's will be the next Coca-Cola."

For those not so young at heart, the McDonald's toys can be purchased separately for under 75 cents.

Estate sales are another resource for antique toys. Each year thousands of toys are discarded or sold at auction for far less than their value, Jack relates. And don't forget to check in at yard sales and flea markets for what could be a pleasant surprise.

"A lot of people throw stuff away, take it to the dump, or sell it because they want to clean out their closets or garage," Jack said. "You never know when you'll find something."

Which is why toy collecting has become big business. Over the past ten years, toys have increased more in value than any other antique, according to Jack.

"It's gotten to the point when I see something, I either like it or I don't," Jack explained. "I know pretty much what I can sell."

The door opens and yet another prospective customer enters his store. Jack eagerly jumps to his feet to answer any questions and show a specific item. Another smile crosses his face.