Planning to Marie Kondo your basement or your attic? Don’t be too hasty to relegate old playthings to the trash or your local Goodwill store. The cheapest of toys — and even random pieces of plastic you got free with a burger and fries — can be worth significant sums today.
If you have any of these old toys, you could be in for a boost to your bank account.
Introduced in 1963, the Easy-Bake Oven was a toy, but you could actually bake something in it without help from your parents. No wonder it was so popular! This cute little oven came in pretty pastels and was on the top of many children’s Christmas lists. AOL reported in 2017 that an original still in its box had netted $300, but that seems to be on the high end of what you can get today. However, there’s a 1964 original Kenner Easy-Bake Oven in that classic turquoise color without the box on eBay now for $120.
Nintendo Game Boy
The Nintendo Game Boy was launched in 1989, creating a market for portable hand-held gaming devices. Back then, it retailed at $89.99, but if you sell an original today, it could go for much more, and limited edition models are the most valuable. A mint-condition original Nintendo Game Boy in its sealed box just went for $2,052.45 on eBay. PricingCharting values an unused Pokemon Special Edition Gameboy Color System from 1992 at $799.99, but the “loose” price (because you probably played your Gameboy!) value is just $50.
Millions of Pez dispensers have been sold throughout the world, and this mass-market kids’ item certainly isn’t exclusive. But some designs are rarer than others, and the right one could be worth thousands. The Astronaut B — which was created for the 1982 World’s Fair, though only two were made — is often cited as the most valuable of the collectable Pez dispensers; it sold on eBay for $32,205 in 2006. One current eBay seller is asking $2,200 as the starting bid for a Snow White Pez dispenser still in its packaging. But people are also selling entire collections for $20.
The most valuable Hot Wheels car of all time was only a prototype: a pink, rear-loading Volkswagen Beach Bomb that didn’t make it to market. It sold for a staggering $125,000 at auction in 2011, but it’s not the only valuable Hot Wheels. According to Hot Wheels collector, historian and appraiser Mike Zarnock, a 1968 Cheetah Base Python with “Cheetah” on the base could be worth about $12,500. Meanwhile, collectors and sellers Brian and Anna have about a dozen rare Hot Wheels listed on their site for several thousand dollars right now.
You can pick up a 2019 Furby on Amazon for $64.99, but a rare type of Furby in its original packaging could bring in a few hundred bucks. In early 2019, a “Rare New Kid Cuisine” Furby sold for $450 on eBay, and a “1998 Original Furby Tiger” went for $365, even though it was in used condition. In general, though, brand new Furbys in sealed boxes fetch the most cash, says reselling site The Family Pickers.
Monopoly is big business — and we’re not just talking about building hotels on Park Place. A hand-drawn, painted version of the game, made by the inventor Charles Darrow in 1933, sold at auction for $146,500 in 2010. Other vintage versions have sold at Sotheby’s for over $3,000. However, you have to have something special to land that kind of cash: the average worn original Monopoly game isn’t likely to net you more than $20. Some special editions, like this “South Park”-themed Monopoly, could go for $50-$100, though.
Garbage Pail Kids
Garbage Pail Kids, the hugely popular collectible cards schoolkids were obsessed with in the 1980s (when they weren’t banned, that is), have sold for thousands. They were discontinued in 1988 due to declining sales, but remain sought-after collector’s items. The rare “Adam Bomb” card just sold for $3,624 on eBay, and various complete sets can bring in three-figure sums.
1978 Luke Skywalker
Only 20 1978 Luke Skywalker figurines with double-telescoping light sabers exist in the world, so it’s no wonder they’re worth megabucks. The double-telescoping light saber is so rare because they broke easily, so Kenner pulled production on them. One of these dolls sold for $25,000 at a Sotheby’s Star Wars auction in 2015. CNN reported that the figurine, which was in its original packaging, had been expected to fetch $12,000. That’s still a lot! Some sellers claim to have these for sale today for much less, but as Vintage Action Figures warns, there are fakes out there, so buyers should beware.
‘Stadium Events’ Nintendo Game
Collectors will pay significant amounts for old Nintendo game cartridges — even more if they’re unopened. The 1987 Bandai release “Stadium Events,” a sports game, has a high value because it was pulled a year after release when the game and its name were changed. In 2017, a brand new game in an unopened box sold for almost $42,000, according to The Gamer. Need one for your collection? There’s one on sale on eBay right now for $25,000.
1938 Action Comics No. 1
The most expensive comic book in history is the June 1938 Action Comics No. 1, which had a print run of less than 50. A copy sold on eBay in 2014 for a staggering $3.2 million after the seller set a starting bid of 99 cents, CNET reported. The fact that it contains the first-ever appearance of Superman no doubt adds to its impressive value. It’s not the only comic book that has sold for more than a million bucks, and there are others that have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Sell My Comic Books.
Old Legos can be super valuable, but we’re not talking about a random collection of bricks in a box in the loft. To reap the big rewards, you need to have a discontinued set in its original packaging with no missing pieces. For example, if you’re lucky enough to have the Lego H.C. Anderson’s Clumsy Hans — a limited-edition set handed out to around 80 Lego ambassadors in 2015 — you could probably sell it for up to $2,000, says Lego valuation site Rebrickable. Another example: #10179 Ultimate Collector’s Series Millennium Falcon sets are selling for more than $1,000 right now.
Strawberry Shortcake Dolls
Produced during the 1980s, Strawberry Shortcake dolls still have a large fan base today. One of these dolls in its original box or casing can sell for hundreds of dollars. In 2019, a vintage Strawberry Shortcake Banana Twirl doll fetched $370 on eBay, but most dolls aren’t worth nearly that much.
American Girl Molly
The original American Girl doll Molly McIntire, a patriotic child who grew up during World War II, was released in 1986, retired in 2013 and re-released in 2018. In 2018, “Today” reported that a Molly McIntire had sold on eBay for $1,200. If you’re lucky enough to have one from 1986, you should know that the ones that are worth that much are a collector’s edition — but the regular editions are still selling for more than $200 on eBay right now. Other discontinued American Girl dolls, like Samantha Parkington and Kanani Akina, are also incredibly valuable.
Atari 2600 ‘Air Raid’
Don’t let old Atari 2600 games gather dust in the basement — they could boost your bank balance in a major way. “Air Raid” is the most valuable: a copy of the game sold for $31,600 in 2010, and a boxed version that included an instruction manual sold for $33,433 in 2012 — a father-daughter duo found it in the family’s storage, and the daughter used her share of the game’s sale to buy a house. This game is so rare (the number of known copies is only a dozen, and only 20 copies were made) that it fetches huge amounts even without its box.
It’s a lot to expect a kid to keep a toy in the packaging and put it away for safekeeping, but if you did this with a Transformer in the 1980s, it was a sensible move. This Hasbro line is one of the most successful franchises in toy history, both in terms of ongoing popularity and financial worth. CBR.com reported that an Optimus Prime action figure in its unopened box sold for over $12,000 in 2017, while a graded mint-condition, sealed-in-box Computron went for more than $5,000.
Cabbage Patch Kids
The waitlist for Cabbage Patch Kids, created by Xavier Roberts, was long when they burst onto the toy scene in the 1980s. The most valuable doll is a James Dudley from 1985, which was listed for $3,000 on eBay in 2017, and a doll from 1985 sold for $2,000 earlier this year. You’ll need the original papers and accessories to get the best price out of a Cabbage Patch Kid from the 1980s, of course. But if you bought one of the limited edition Cabbage Patch Kids released to commemorate the collection’s 25th anniversary in 2018, you might want to hold onto it — and look after it — for 20 years or so.
1960s G.I. Joe
Hasbro’s G.I. Joe was first released in 1964 and quickly became a favorite among kids. In 2003, a prototype figure fetched $200,000 at auction in 2003, but other mass-produced items have also sold for large amounts: The Missile Command Center sold for $17,500. Most old Joe dolls don’t net quite so much, but depending on what you have, a rare one could be worth for anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand, The Gamer reported earlier this year.
Who’d have thought cardboard milk caps with pictures on them could create such hype? Pogs were a toy craze in the 1980s, and you could be sitting on a goldmine if you have rare sets. The full six-piece holographic “Jurassic Park” set, complete with slammer, sold for $1 million in 2016. A “Jurassic Park” set of 54 pogs without the slammer and hologram are currently on eBay for $2,500.
Large quantities of Sky Dancers were recalled for being dangerous, which is hardly surprising considering they are designed to fly out of your hands when you yank their string. But if you threw caution to the wind and held onto yours, you could sell it for a lot more than its original retail value of around $10. In June 2019, a set of two Sky Dancers (Dazzle and Lacey) sold on eBay for $199.
Despite her small stature, Polly Pocket made a big impression in the 1980s and 1990s. If you’ve managed to hold onto every single tiny little piece (which is easier said than done) you could cash in. A Sparkle Surprise set sold on eBay for $500, and a large Polly Pocket “compact lot” is currently going for $900 on eBay. People have paid over $1,000 for complete sets in recent years.
Webkinz — plush toys with a digital component— are fairly new, but they already have an avid collector base. A retired Cheeky Dog Webkinz sold on eBay for $1,799 way back in 2007, Reuters reported, which inspired other sellers to start the bidding at four figures. And the demand has grown: Right now, an eBayer is asking for $1,736.70 for a brand-new Webkinz Cocker Spaniel Dog.
‘Toy Story’ Toys
Fans of the first “Toy Story” movie couldn’t wait to get their hands on their very own Buzz Lightyear or Woody. If you have an original Buzz figurine in pristine condition, you might be lucky enough to get more than $500 for it. In 2016, baddie Stinky Pete came with the highest price tag — around $700 – on eBay. One seller has a ’95 Woody still in the box on eBay for $299 right now.
Anyone who grew up in the ’90s knows that there was only one pet worth having, and it was of the digital kind. The Tamagotchi made a recent comeback — even Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom wore them to the 2016 Met Gala — but an original in its box that will make you some serious cash; in 2017 OK! reported that some rare Tamagotchi were going on eBay for more than $3,000. Right now, eBay has sellers offering 1996 Tamagotchi from around $40 all the way up to $2,000.
McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys
McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, the fast-food giant’s secret weapon against parents, may come free with your lunch, but they can end up being pretty valuable. According to a 2018 story at LoveAntiques, one of the most lucrative is the Ty’s Teenie Beanie Boos from 2000, which could earn you $450 for a complete set. Meanwhile, the “Clone Wars” Happy Meal Box from 2008 (yes, just the box) is valued at $50.
We’ve seen hundreds of iterations of Barbie over the last 60 years, and some of them are worth a pretty penny. The most expensive Barbie of all time is the Stefano Canturi Barbie, a special edition designed by Australia jewelry designer Canturi for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Her diamond necklace was worth $300,000 alone, and she sold at auction in 2010 for $302,500.