The Tonka truck's rarity is the most important factor affecting its value, while the toy truck's age is the least important factor. The toy's condition is important, but the rarer the toy, the more forgiving the collector is when evaluating its condition.
Because Tonka trucks are well-made and durable, antique dealers are actively seeking these toys for resale, as of 2015. Owners of collectible Tonka truck can review these dealers' websites or contact the dealers directly to get an idea of the value of their trucks. First, the toy truck owner needs to identify his truck, including age and model. There are many websites, such as TonkaToys.com, that have identification guides. Run by a dealer in vintage Tonka trucks, TonkaToys.com organizes its guide by cab style. Once an owner finds the truck's cab style, he can isolate the year it was manufactured by other distinguishing design characteristics, including hub caps, tires, headlights and the decal. Knowing the year and the cab style, the owner can solicit dealers' bids for the toy or sell it directly to collectors via a site such as eBay.
Dealers and collectors prefer Tonka trucks that are in mint condition, meaning that it comes with the box and instructions, if applicable. Because most antique toys do not meet that criteria, dealers will buy these trucks in good condition or even worse. Still, if the truck has been improperly repaired or repainted multiple times, its value can decrease by 50 percent, as compared to one in mint condition.