Tonka trucks serve as nostalgic reminders of youth for many collectors. The appeal of old vehicles is now being recognized by younger generations, who frequently use them as decorative accessories.
So how much could you expect to pay for one?
We’ll examine 19 of the most valuable Tonka trucks to ever hit the market. We’ll also discover more about the rare and valuable Tonka trucks models that are worth buying.
History of Tonka Trucks
In 1946, Alvin F, Avery F. Crounse, and Lynn Everett Baker. Tesch came up with the idea for Tonka, although it wasn’t always Tonka and they did not begin by creating toy trucks. When Mound Metalcraft was established in 1946, they were producing tie racks.
Due of their nostalgic appeal, vintage Tonka trucks are excellent collectibles. Over 400,000 toy trucks were produced by Tonka Toys each week in the middle of the 1950s.
Why is it called Tonka?
Tesch experimented with several vintage toy ideas left by the building’s former tenants and given the toys the moniker “Tanka,” which means “large” in Dakota Sioux. From Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka came the very name Tonka!
The toy trucks, however, were a success, and in 1955 the company formally renamed itself to Tonka Toys Incorporated. The metal tie racks, on the other hand, were not a big hit.
Manufacturers of Tonka Trucks
The company that manufactures Tonka trucks is Tonka Toys, a well-known American manufacturer of steel replicas of delivery, fire, and construction vehicles.
In Mound, Minnesota, the business was founded in 1946. Mound Metalcraft was its previous name at the time. Tonka trucks were once the company’s secondary offering, but they quickly took the lead. The Minnesotan lake Minnetonka is the source of the name “Tonka.”
Tonka Toys Incorporated became the official name of the business in 1955, replacing Mound Metalcraft. Up until 1991, when it was acquired by the American giant Hasbro, the business carried on as before. The parent business of Tonka Toys has remained Hasbro.
19 Valuable and Rare Tonka Trucks
Prices are always fluctuating. This source, which includes the year of manufacture and an estimated current worth for each Tonka toy, was discovered. It’s an excellent resource and well worth a look.
Here is the list of 19 rare and valuable Tonka trucks currently as of this writing!
1. 1956 Ford Cab No. 5 Fire Truck sold for $371.00
Fire trucks are constantly in demand, and this one from 1956 is especially alluring. The cab’s flaming red paint and the bright yellow accents on the back are stunning.
It is 6 inches tall and slightly under 17 inches long. The Tonka Fire Department’s initials, “T. F. D.,” are displayed on the hood. Additionally, there are many wonderful touches, including pressure gauges and an emergency light.
Although this vehicle is really attractive, there are several difficulties with its condition. A few chips here and there indicate that the paint has been on the surface for more than 60 years. The ladder, one of the crucial components of every fire vehicle, is also absent.
2. Tonka AAA Wrecker Tow Truck 1956 USA **RARE** Excellent All Original sold for $227.50
Tonka 1956 AAA Wrecker Tow Truck is in its original manufactured in 1956 by Tonka, undamaged condition with only minimal surface corrosion. The hook and a portion of the chain are the only things that are missing. Minor blemishes, rust on the surface, and everything original. On the headache bar/light rack, there are some bends. Minor dent on the bumper.
3. Vintage Tonka Morrell Meats Refrigerated Truck sold for $699.99
From Tonka Toys’ own label line, the Morrell Meats refrigerator truck is another enduring classic.
The toy truck resembles a truck pulling a refrigerator semi-trailer. The concept is completed by the truck’s advertisement for “Morrell Meats,” which sounds like the meat-processing business John Morrell and Co.
The trailer for a refrigerated truck is grey, while the semi-cab is white. The vehicle is 24 inches by 9 inches. Due to its extreme rarity nowadays, this 1954 refrigerator Tonka truck fetches a high price.
4. 1960s Caterpillar U.S Army Road Grader Truck
Rare U.S. Army Caterpillar truck from the 1960s vintage. It is approximately 6.5 inches broad, 18 inches long, and 6.5 inches tall. The wheel continues to revolve, steering the truck in the proper direction, as it should.
It does, however, exhibit noticeable wear. The paint has discoloration and is chipped and flaking in some places.
The cost of antiques and collectibles always relies on how much the market will bear. You might be able to negotiate a cheaper price if you’re persistent.
5. 1974 Tonka Toys Mighty Mixer sold for $187.50
One of Tonka Toys’ trucks with a construction theme is this Mighty Mixer No. 3950. This Tonka vehicle, which is a huge truck scaled at 1:16, was produced in 1974. It features a commanding shape and six sizable tires.
Although the mixer is frequently utilized on these vehicles, it is normally in excellent shape because to its high quality. The chute pivots, and the barrel rotates. Lime green is a gorgeous color, and there’s no denying that its appeal to nostalgia and beauty contribute significantly to the item’s price.
6. Tonka No.5 Hook and Ladder Fire Truck
A true gem is the Tonka No. 5 Hook and Ladder fire vehicle. It is one of the rarest Tonka trucks and was produced in the 1950s.
The Tonka Fire Department is indicated over the automobile in the letters TFD, which makes the fire engine appear authentic.
The No. 5 Hook and Ladder fire vehicle is red, and it has a special turntable attached to a trailer truck. The extinguishers, sirens, and ladders are all there and functional. The fire engine is also idling.
7. Vintage 1960s Tonka US Air Force USAF Jeep sold for $335.00
1960s vintage Tonka USAF Jeep with Original Box, US Air Force Outstanding Survivor! manufactured by Tonka brand in 1966. Writing can be seen on one side of the box with a little yellowing. Overall, the truck is in fantastic shape, however there are a few spots with light paint chips. Totally original.
8. Vintage Tiny Tonka No.968 Extended Backhoe
One of the Tonka truck with a construction theme that delighted children in the 1990s was the Tiny Tonka No.968 Extended Backhoe.
Die-cast metal and small plastic components make up the durable backhoe. For role-playing, it has realistic details. About 15 inches long, the toy Tonka truck is little. It is designed for entertaining push-and-go play.
This vehicle looks amazing and has a precise level of detail that makes it very striking.
9. 1980s Dump Truck No. 58002 sold for $197.79
Model number 58002 and made in the early 1980s, this dump truck. It is made of pressed steel and is a gorgeous, brilliant shade of yellow, just like the early Tonka models.
It measures 7.5 inches long, 3 inches broad, and 3.5 inches high. The stamp “Tonka Corp – Made in USA” may be found on the bottom if you flip it over. It has excellent paintwork and decals that are both clean and new.
10. Vintage Tonka Truck Road Grader sold for $200
Another Tonka truck that you might want to add to your collection is this road grader. The Tonka road grader, which was produced between 1956 and 1961, is extremely hard to come by.
It is 17 inches long and scaled at 1:18. Back in the day, watching this enormous Tonka road grader crush everything in its path was thrilling. It leveled mud and gravel like a genuine level with its steel blade.
11. Vintage Minute Maid Tonka Truck sold for $499.99
The private label line of Tonka Toys includes the Minute Maid truck. The truck, which was produced in 1955, has a fun theme.
Every child enjoys the cool beverages served in between game phases. A line of beverages is called Minute Maid. By combining two of children’s favorite pastimes, gaming fun and refreshment, this Tonka truck appealed to children back in the day.
A white box truck composed of pressed steel transports the classic Minute Maid truck.
12. Tonka 1958 Hi-way Hydraulic Dump Truck sold for $805.00
This Tonka Truck corresponds to this hydraulic dump truck. The truck is attractive, with only a few minor dings and wear. The hydraulic ramp hoist in the back is still fully functional. However, the Tonka decals aren’t precisely straight.
This one seems to have been made in the 1958. For collectors, it was vital that it included the original packaging.
13. Tonka 1962 No. 2120 Farm Set Very Rare Yellow Pickup Truck sold for $457.03
Very Rare Yellow Pickup Truck – Nice Original Shape Tonka 1962 No. 2120 Farm Set manufactured in 1960.
Wheels all move well. Rare yellow pickup was available for one year only with the Farm Set and for one year only as a separate item. Decal and windshield are great, and the original paint is quite nice. Grill and hubcaps remain bright. For collectors, this is a wonderful original rare pickup.
14. Vintage 1955/1956 Tonka TFD Fire Department Pumper Truck with Bullet Taillights sold for $221.50
Vintage Tonka TFD Fire Department Pumper Truck from 1955–1956 with Bullet Taillights A 1956 pumper truck with the extremely unusual and sought-after bullet taillights and the bars across the back was made available as a “salesman sample” in 1955. Missing items include the grill, headlights, hoses, ladder, rooftop light, hose reel hose, and one side door. Has minor white paint speckling on the cab, paint loss, play wear, and light surface rust. Beautiful Tonka sticker on the bottom.
All in all, a difficult to find truck that would make a wonderful beginning collector’s piece or a superb contender for a restoration or custom project.
15. 1960s Dump Truck with Sand Loader
This 1960s-era dump truck with a sand loader is constructed of standard pressed steel. There are other wear indicators, such as scratches and paintwork losses. The wheel covers also have some corrosion visible.
However, it continues to function as it should. Sand loader is in motion. The dumping mechanism runs without a hitch. Additionally, the rubber conveyor belt is in fantastic shape. The sand loader is slightly smaller than the dump truck, which is 6 inches wide, 6 inches tall, and 13 inches long.
16. 1965 TONKA #998 Gas Turbine AERIAL LADDER Fire Truck sold for $300.00
The second vintage Tonka fire truck to make our list is this one. This one is in fantastic shape and has an aerial ladder.
Everything painted in red and white is original. Despite a few scuffs and scratches, it still appears new and shiny. Additionally, the “T. F. D.” decals, which stand for Tonka Fire Department, really make the vehicle pop.
Large at 31 inches long, it is. The side ladders, fire extinguishers, and decals are all still present, as are all the other original components.
17. 1955-56 Carnation Milk Truck sold for $139.99
One of three stock Metro van designs released by Tonka in the 1950s is this Carnation Milk truck. Parcel and Rescue were the other two, but in our opinion, the Carnation design is the greatest of all three.
It is old painted white and features eye-catching advertising decals. It forms a striking collection centerpiece thanks to its classic style. However, there are a few painting losses and some decal damage.
18. Tiny Tonka No. 968 Excavator sold for $109.99
There were three standard Metro van types made by Tonka in the 1950s, including this Carnation Milk truck. The other two were Parcel and Rescue, but in our opinion, the Carnation design stands out as the best of all three.
It boasts a crisp white paint job with eye-catching advertisement stickers. It makes a beautiful focal point for any collection thanks to its classic style. The painting has suffered a few minor losses, and the decals have also seen some damage.
19. Tonka Eckes Bitters Private Label Truck
One of the private label series of Tonka toys is the Eckes Bitters truck. It is a small delivery vehicle with an open back and a raised tailgate. It features an advertisement for the German-based bitter manufacturer Eckes Bitters.
It was constructed in the 1970s from pressed steel, making it a durable toy truck that provides thrilling push-and-go excitement. This delivery truck in cream color is quite expensive because it is a genuine HTF (hard to obtain) Tonka truck.
How to Find Value of your Vintage Tonka Truck?
Here are the following factors that helps you to find value of your vintage Tonka truck.
When it comes to worth, a historic item’s condition could even take precedence over its rarity. Tonka trucks included, vintage items’ condition is just as crucial as real estate’s location.
In the industry, different terminology is used to indicate the condition of the parts. The first is “mint,” which designates an item that is ideal in relation to its condition during manufacturing. Other terms like almost perfect, very good, and good can also be found.
A Tonka truck that is in pristine condition will unquestionably be worth more than one that has minor edge dings or paint loss. Old Tonka trucks occasionally have the word “restored” on the label. This indicates that repair work was done to bring the artwork back to good or nearly flawless condition.
“The older the item, the more valuable it will be” is a maxim in the world of collectibles. In general, older vintage items are more expensive.
The older pieces frequently have components or technologies that newer pieces do not, which is one explanation for this.
All collectibles, including Tonka trucks, are worth more when they are still in their original packaging. This is so that the authenticity may be verified by the original packing. More than that, collectors are motivated by feelings rather than a piece’s inherent value, and the original packaging adds to the experience.
As collectors look for the original boxes that their priceless vintage toys came in, authentic toy packaging has even developed its own industry today. As a result, a Tonka truck that comes in its original box will be worth more than a comparable one that doesn’t.
Any vintage item, including the Tonka trucks, gains value through rarity. A Tonka vehicle is going to be more valuable the harder it is to find one. Therefore, a rare Tonka truck will be worth more now than one that was built in large volumes.
A Tonka truck that is extremely difficult to locate may still command a good price even if it is in poor condition because rarity is such a significant consideration.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about 19 most rare and valuable Tonka trucks to hit the market recently. For a price, you can find anything you’re looking for, including rare prototypes, restored vintage models, and original condition items.
And if you still have your own antique Tonka truck at home, look after it! It could be incredibly worthy.