Welcome! If you are a yo-yo collector--young or old, new or experienced--then this FAQ is for
you! There are four sections in this FAQ:
Why collect yo-yos?
should I start collecting yo-yos?
should I get started in yo-yo collecting?
do I decide what yo-yos to get?
should I look for old yo-yos?
should I look for when buying a yo-yo?
sources of information are there that can help me with my yo-yo collection?
there any reproductions available of old wooden yo-yos?
other yo-yo stuff is good to collect?
the best way to find out about the latest yo-yo releases?
yo-yos do you think will be valuable in the future, that are still available
now in the U.S.?
Managing Your Collection
the best way to keep track of a yo-yo collection?
do I grade a yo-yo?
is the best price guide to use for collectable yo-yos?
have some old yo-yos I want to sell. What's the best way to go about it?
want to show my collection of yo-yos but I'm not sure how I should do it. Any
Maintaining Your Collection
should I store my yo-yo collection?
an old yo-yo be repaired if it is damaged?
of the yo-yos I have collected and kept in the package have batteries. Won't
those batteries eventually get old and start to leak?
have some old yo-yos that still have the original string on it (or at least
a string from the same period as the yo-yo I think). Should I remove the string?
I keep a yo-yo in its package, will it be worth more?
Lots of reasons!
Yo-yos are one of most widely available toys in the world.
The toy transcends all ages.
Collecting yo-yos can sharpen your observation skills and improve your
ability to organize information.
a fun way to learn about the science of physics and how different types of materials
and shapes affect a yo-yo's performance.
Learn more about the countries
where foreign yo-yos are made and how children and adults play with the
Actually, if you are looking to yo-yos as a serious investment for the future, you probably should
try something else. It's unlikely anyone has ever sold an entire yo-yo
collection for profit. Still, a collection of yo-yos that you have
carefully assembled and taken care of over
the years, may later be sold for a profit.
It's important to remember that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get started on a nice
yo-yo collection. And, for the most part, it makes no difference where you live when it comes to
availability; yo-yos are found in nearly every country on the planet and in a wide variety of price
When should I start collecting yo-yos?
Actually, the best time to collect yo-yos is when they are not as
popular and no one is interested in them. That was not the case about
late 1997 to 2001. During that time period, yo-yo sales, including
collectible yo-yos, saw a rise in popularity (and price) due, in
part, to the Internet. At that time, it seemed as if every kid was
playing with a yo-yo! In this country, many people, both young and
old, are enjoying the sport and collecting side right now. So, get
started on your collection today!
How should I get started in yo-yo collecting?
The first rule of collecting anything is that you should collect only those things that you truly
enjoy and are interested in. Yo-yo collectors are curious and interested
in learning more about the yo-yos they find, and in talking with other
collectors about the history of a particular item. If you find yourself
in the same boat, then you are headed in the right direction.
You can get started in yo-yo collecting by first deciding on an area of focus. For example, you
may decide to start collecting only ball bearing yo-yos, or just plastic yo-yos, or wooden yo-yos
from a particular manufacturer. Or, you may decide to collect them all (in which case, you better
have lots of money to spend!).
decide your area of focus, purchase yo-yos that are
beautiful, interesting, or just plain different. Most importantly, try
to collect yo-yos that have one or more of the following items of
information on one or both yo-yo halves:
Name of the yo-yo name
of the manufacturer
Year the yo-yo was made
Yo-yos that have none of this information on its halves--regardless of how exotic the yo-yo is or
how beautiful--is worth very little. Therefore, get in the habit of collecting only yo-yos with a
logo; they're much more interesting (and valuable).
How do I decide what yo-yos to get?
Consider focusing on yo-yos that are of interest to you and that you can afford. Avoid getting
caught up in all the hype and talk that surrounds a new yo-yo before and
after it is release. Try collecting the first editions of a model or
unusual seconds (sometimes BC/What's Next has let some unusual yo-yos
slip out into the market. For example, the author recently found a BC
Phantom model with a one of a kind paint scheme and a Tom Kuhn RD-2 in a
laminated rainbow configuration).
When it comes to old yo-yos (usually pre-1970), it helps to study the market first to find out what
is available and what people are paying for yo-yos that interest you. You can study the market by
looking at the two collecting books mentioned in this FAQ and
especially by following auctions of yo-yos on the
Where should I look for old yo-yos?
By far the most popular place for finding old yo-yos are the auction sites found on the Internet.
Be prepared, however, to pay substantially more for very old or rare yo-yos. Often, the price of
rare yo-yos and yo-yo related items is much higher than the current values listed in yo-yo
collecting books. On the other hand, if you are patient and can wait,
you can often find bargains.
also want to try looking at these other places
Yo-yo championships - a great
meeting place for fellow collectors who have the same interest as you.
Your grandparent's attic
Antique stores in small towns or out-of-the-way places
Ads in yo-yo magazines and newsletters (most, however, are ads placed by
interested buyers, not sellers)
What should I look for when buying a yo-yo?
When buying new yo-yos, look for the following:
Clean, sharp graphics on each yo-yo halve. Graphics colors should be rich
and not faded (in comparison to other yo-yos of the same type).
Centered graphics on the halves.
No visible flaws on the yo-yo itself.
No bent, opened, torn, or cracked packaging.
Packages that do not have a store sticker or price sticker.
No loose halves.
No excessive scrapes on the outside diameter of each halve (indicating lots of
"walking the dog").
Clear impressions of the logo or clean sharp graphics.
Decals should be as whole as possible.
If the yo-yo is jeweled, check for loose rhinestones.
Repainting or shoddy repair work.
When buying old yo-yos, most will be wooden. Therefore, check for the following:
What sources of information are there that can
help me with my yo-yo collection?
Cook, Christopher. June, 1997. Collectible American Yo-Yos - 1920S-1970s :
Historical Reference & Value Guide. ISBN: 0891457615.
Meisenheimer, Lucky. April, 1999. Lucky's Collectors Guide to 20th Century
Yo-Yos History and Values. ISBN: 0966761200.
Yo-Yo Times newsletter
articles of interest (check a university or college library for old
issues or look in this museum under Patents & Resources > References &
Cohen, Martin. December, 1971. "The Swinging World of Yo-Yos." Boys'
Malko, George. Summer, 1970. "Will There Ever Be Another Yo-Yo
Volk, Daniel. June, 1992. "Collecting Yo-Yos." Antiques and Collecting.
Zuckerman, Edward. July, 1985. "Quest for the Perfect Yo-Yo." Science
Yo-Yo History - The premier source of information on
the Internet for yo-yo collectors around the world. (If you are reading
this, then you have already found it!)
eBay - Do a
listings search on "yo-yo" to view many pictures (and
accompanying detailed descriptions) of yo-yos that are often not found in
yo-yo collecting books. The pictures are typically available for a limited time
(usually 90 days or less).
Yo-yo clubs that
meet in your area. A store that sells a variety of yo-yos may
be able to tell you if a club exists nearby. You can also check the
American Yo-Yo Association (www.ayya.org) for a list of clubs in your
Are there any reproductions available of old wooden
there are several available, About 1994 or 1995 Dale Myrberg (a yo-yo
Master from Utah) sent one of his mint condition Duncan Model "77"
yo-yos to Brad Countryman, founder of What's
Next/B.C. Yo-Yos. Brad used the yo-yo to recreate a reproduction of Duncan's most popular
yo-yo. This model is still available today. The only difference
between the old model and the "New" model is the location of the
registered trademark symbol on the halve; it's
now located to the right of the letter "n" in Duncan instead of above the word "Yo-Yo".
Duncan has also reproduced the Jeweled Tournament, Satellite in silver,
wooden butterfly in silver, and the Imperial. All of these yo-yos are
still available today (as of 2005). Perhaps some day, other well known
favorites such as the Duncan Seattlite will also be reproduced (well, we
can always wish and hope can't we?).
What other yo-yo stuff is good to collect?
yo-yo related items that you may want to consider collecting
- Award patches
- String packs (a great item to collect because they are relatively inexpensive)
- Award trophies
- Advertising media
- Trick books
- Magazines and Newsletters
- Dolls and Sculptures
What's the best way to find out about the latest
Internet, visit Dave's Skill Toys web board and store. Many
people post what they are finding in their part of the world. You can
also use an Internet search engine to locate the web pages of yo-yo
manufacturers for information about new releases.
Currently (as of 2005), there are no widely distributed, mass
published magazines devoted to the world of yo-yos and yo-yo
What yo-yos do you think will be valuable in the
future, that are still available now in the U.S.?
tough question. Some factors to consider are how widely available
the yo-yo is throughout the country, it's current price and popularity
(or unpopularity), how many were made (usually a guarded secret among
most yo-yo manufacturers), and even whether the manufacturer is still in
business. Here are some guesses:
BMT yo-yos Holgate yo-yos (unusual shapes) American Spinners
Goody yo-yos (reproductions) Revolution "Rev G" (a short-lived carbon fibre
yo-yo) Tom Kuhn yo-yos (especially limited production yos) Oxygene
MANAGING YOUR COLLECTION
What's the best way to keep track of a yo-yo collection?
The best and most efficient way to keep track of a yo-yo collection is to use a database program.
There are many database software titles available that can help you quickly create a custom
database for yo-yo collecting. A database lets you organize the yo-yo information in many
different ways, including printing custom reports or specifying queries.
Occasionally, eBay has had a software program being auctioned
that is specific to yo-yo collecting and included the ability to add
you browse the yo-yos in the Museum of Yo-Yo History, notice the
different fields of information used that describe and identify the
yo-yo. If you create your own yo-yo collecting database some of the
fields and associated formatting that you may want to consider using
include the following:
Database Field Name
Formatted as a
Drop-down list (combo box)
Identifies where the yo-yo is sold
or the country of origin.
Identifies who made the yo-yo.
Identifies the web site of the
yo-yo or yo-yo maker.
Identifies the name of the model
of yo-yo (usually taken from the
side of the yo-yo).
List in detail the appearance of
the yo-yo, unique qualities,
where and when it was
purchased. The text on the yo-yo
packaging can help you write this
Halve shape or
Identifies the yo-yo shape such
as standard, standard modified,
concave, concave modified, or
other (for example, the Holgate
square yo-yo or the Damert
Turbo Sparkler), and so forth.
Halve material or
Identifies what the yo-yo is made
out of such as polycarbonate,
graphite, wood, plastic,
aluminum, tin, and so forth.
Halve color or
Identifies the colors of the yo-yo.
Identifies the axle used in the
yo-yo such as fixed, transaxle,
ball bearing, roller bearing, a
combination of these, or just
unknown (if you have left it in
Identifies whether the axle is
made of wood, nylon, metal, and
Identifies the weight of the
yo-yo, usually taken from the
packaging, if it is listed.
Nearly all Japanese yo-yos list
this on their packaging.
Identifies the diameter of the
yo-yo, usually taken from the
packaging. Nearly all Japanese
yo-yos list this on their
Can the yo-yo be taken apart for
maintenance or to replace parts?
What year was the yo-yo
If you did not pay anything for
the yo-yo you can check this box
and leave the Price Paid field
(listed below) empty or filled in
if you know the retail value.
What year did you purchase the
Is the yo-yo in mint, excellent,
good, fair, or poor condition?
How much did you pay for the
yo-yo (including tax or
picture below is an example of one record in a yo-yo database that was created
using the fields in the table above. You may want to add, delete, or edit fields
of your own when you design your own database. The key is getting in the habit
of updating the database as soon as you acquire a yo-yo.
hard disk failures can occur unexpectedly, remember to create a back up
of your yo-yo database on a separate disk using a program such as
Norton Ghost 9 from Symantec.
If you do not have a computer, you can always write down the yo-yo information on separate
How do I grade a yo-yo?
grade a yo-yo by comparing the condition with the same yo-yo pictured in
a yo-yo collecting guide or on an auction site on the Internet. Or, you
can post a picture of your yo-yo on Dave's Skill Toys web site and
solicit feedback. Grading by part-time collectors and amateurs is often
a subjective process with many personal interpretations. If you think
you have a valuable yo-yo, you may want to post a picture of it (along
with a thorough description) on Dave's Skill Toys web site and solicit
feedback from the yo-yo community.
What is the best price guide to use for collectable
The two yo-yo collecting guides mentioned earlier in this FAQ are probably the best price guides
today. Unfortunately, nearly all the prices in both guides do not
reflect the prices that most collectors are paying today. Usually, the
prices are significantly higher even for yo-yos in average, "played
with" condition. You can thank the Internet for that. Still, the
guides can serve as a starting point for pricing a
I have some old yo-yos I want to sell. What's the
best way to go about it?
Auction sites on the Internet are probably the best way to go
about selling individual items. If you are selling a large collection
(say 100 or more), you will not have very many bidders because few
people have thousands of dollars at any given moment to spend all at
once on a pile of yo-yos! In such case, you would be better off
placing an ad in such a magazine
as Yo-Yo Times.
I want to show my collection of yo-yos but I'm not sure
how I should do it. Any ideas?
Consider displaying your collection in the childrens section of
your public library. Chances are, they have some display cases that you
could use. Pick a few prized yo-yos from your collection and write some
interesting information about each yo-yo on a business size card. You
can display the card next to the yo-yo. Most libraries have several
books about yo-yos too so you can point them to more information if they
are interested. Just before you take down your display, you could
give kids and adults a short program of some tricks you know and answer
questions they may have about your collection.
also become a Curator (it's free and easy) for the Museum of Yo-Yo
History and add your own pictures of yo-yo
MAINTAINING YOUR COLLECTION
How should I store my yo-yo collection?
The simplest and most economical way to store opened yo-yos or yo-yos in hard plastic
packaging is in a hard-sided container such as a plastic box with a tight fitting lid. Store the box
away from heat, sunlight, and moisture. The box should be able to hold a dozen or so yo-yos.
Many yo-yo collections are stored in foam that has cut out circles for each yo-yo. Foam is
typically considered a short-term storage solution because it often deteriorates and breaks down
over time. If you are really ambitious and are looking for an attractive, long-term storage
solution, you can make a wooden container with approximately 24 2.5" x 2.5 " boxes for each
yo-yo, then cover it with glass to keep dust out.
Yo-yos that are still in their cardboard packaging is a little more difficult to store. To keep the
card flat, try storing them upright in a box. Or, a more costly method would be to buy comic bags
and boards, put the yo-yo package inside it, and store it upright like a filing cabinet system.
Stores that are going out of business can also be a good place to find inexpensive glass display
cases or old watch display stands to house your collection.
Should an old yo-yo be repaired if it is damaged?
Generally, no. Any visible repair work you do to an old yo-yo will usually decrease its value.
Therefore, you should decide if you want to maintain the yo-yo's quality or whether you want a
fixed-up yo-yo that looks really nice.
An exception to this may be when a halve on a wooden yo-yo becomes unglued from the axle (be
careful though; many old wooden yo-yos were not originally glued at the
axle such as the Whirl King). In such cases, it would be acceptable to
glue it back together. The same is also true of jewels that fall out of
jeweled yo-yos such as Duncan Jeweled Tournament yo-yos or Filipino
Twirlers. A very small amount of epoxy applied to both surfaces will
prevent the jewel from falling out again.
Some of the yo-yos I have collected and kept in
the package have batteries. Won't those batteries eventually get old and start
Yes, that's a possibility. You would be better off carefully opening the package and removing the
batteries from the yo-yo altogether. The loss from not having a mint in
package (MIP) yo-yo would be much less than if the yo-yo was mint in
package but damaged from a leaking battery.
I have some old yo-yos that still have the original
string on it (or at least a string from the same period as the yo-yo, I think).
Should I remove the string?
Old, worn, dirty, knotty strings that are still on old yo-yos do not make the yo-yo itself any more
valuable. If you want, leave it on for esthetics. Or, you may want to consider replacing the old
string with a "new" old string that comes from the same period and company as the yo-yo. Old
strings packs occasionally appear on Internet auction sites. If you'd rather not go to all that work
and expense, just take the old string off--carefully--and replace it with a new string that will age
along with the yo-yo.
If I keep a yo-yo in it's package, will it be worth
Yo-yos (and even yo-yo string packs) in their original packaging is often considered by some
collectors to be worth more. However, most packaging adds very little to the overall value of a
yo-yo (some exceptions include the Playmaxx Cold Fusion can or a Tom Kuhn Heirloom set).
Obviously, a yo-yo in it's original packaging will remain in mint condition. But, more
importantly, original printed packaging provides additional information about the yo-yo such as
where and when it was made, and details about how you take care of it, adjust it, and so forth. If
you cannot keep the yo-yo in the package, at least try to keep the printed material.
Factoid: Up until about 1988, Duncan made the "Mel-Yo-Dee." A nice collectors item now, it
played the Duncan theme song when the yo-yo was spinning.