Valuable Old Toys: Are These Vintage Toys Hiding in Your Home?
We all know that fine wines and cognacs get better with time. Even some fashion does, too. But did you know that old toys gain popularity and value as they become vintage? We may have access to tiny supercomputers and watches that remind us when to stand, walk, and maybe even breathe (you probably shouldn’t test that theory out, though), but there’s something about an old Game Boy or original Cabbage Patch Kids that really gets some buyers going. Some people want valuable old toys for enjoyment, while others just want to preserve them as collector’s items.
If you find some vintage toys you don’t want, consider getting them appraised or selling them on eBay! (We don’t buy or sell anything, and don’t have connections to people who do, so seriously: Check Google or eBay!) In the meantime, check out these hidden treasures hiding somewhere in your attic! (Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in August 2017. It has been updated throughout.)
Who said collecting Pokémon cards would never pay off? Clearly, they were wrong. Since their release in 1996, Pokémon cards have gained a huge following. Some Pokémon cards are even worth thousands, if they are rare and kept in good condition.
1978 Luke Skywalker Action Figure
Collectors are willing to spend a certain amount of money to get what they want, sometimes even passing that limit. Star Wars has had a devoted fan base since its release during the 1970s, and their collectible products are known to sell for a lot. These fans are so diehard that in 2015, the Luke Skywalker Action figure released in 1978, was sold for $25,000. That is some serious devotion for any collector.
PEZ Dispensers have been a collector’s dream since their release, with many people having an entire collection. Some PEZ Dispensers are so rare and can sell for thousands, along with a whole collection. The popularity of PEZ dispensers never really went away — a 1982 PEZ dispenser known as the Astronaut B, sold for $32,000 on eBay.
The Original Monopoly
The original hand-drawn version, made by Charles Darrow in 1933, sold for $146,500 in 2011. If you have any vintage versions from the 1930s or limited edition versions of Monopoly, you can be looking at some serious cash.
With all these amazing graphics and stellar game systems, who needs a Game Boy these days? For that reason alone, you should get your hands on your old Game Boy and check what the value on it is. Mint condition Game Boys sell for hundreds, and if you have a special edition Game Boy, such as the Game Boy Light, it can go for over $1,500.
Since 1968, 4,000,000,000 Hot Wheels cars have been made, and only a handful of them are valuable. Some Hot Wheels cars were only made as prototypes, like the 1969 “Volkswagen Beach Bomb” prototype, never making it to wide production, making it one of a kind and with a high value of $125,000.
First Edition Pound Puppies Plush
When Pound Puppies first made their appearance during the 1980s, kids went crazy for them. Today, a first edition Pound Puppy can make you a pretty penny, going for $5,000.
Cabbage Patch Dolls
Cabbage Patch Dolls were huge for a long time and depending on which doll you have, you can earn some serious cash for it. As of now, the most expensive Cabbage Patch Dolls belong to Pat and Joe Prosey. The Proseys have over 5,000 dolls in their custom-built Maryland museum and are selling their whole collection for $360,000.
Sega Genesis Console
If you happen to come across your old Sega Genesis game system one day, do not throw it away. Instead, check to see if it still works and if it does, hit the internet with it because you can be looking to make up to $2,000 for it.
Fisher Price Push Cart Pete
This 1936 toy was on the market for 50 cents. Today, if you happen to come across Pete and he’s not looking too bad, you can make an easy $3,000.
1982 Skeletor Action Figure
He-Man and Skeletor are the most popular action figures from the Masters of the Universe World. A 1982, in-box mint condition Skeletor action figure could go for at least $2,000 today.
These were particularly popular during the 1960s and 1970s, with different versions of the game being made. Today, an original Lite Brite can go for well over $100, not bad for a game you paid $20 for.
Happy Meal Toys
The value varies depending on which Happy Meal Toy you have. Happy Meal Toys have been around since 1979 and have remained popular. Certain themes have become collectibles, like the 2002 Disney theme characters, which recently sold on eBay for $300.
A mixture between a hamster and an owl, these Furby toys became incredibly popular in the 90s. For an original Furby in an unopened box, you could expect to see a $900 value.
After the release of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Talkboy became really popular. It was a stylish version of a tape recorder, but if you’re still holding on to one of these today, you can look to make over $200.
Beanie Babies were a huge deal for a long time, from the early 90s into the late 2000s. Today the fad has died down, but there are still collectors willing to pay thousands of dollars for rare or limited edition Beanie Babies. The price varies depending on which Beanie Baby you have. Some are worth hundreds and some are well into the thousands. A 1997 1st Edition Princess Diana Beanie Bear could go for up to $12,000.
Lionel’s Pennsylvania “Trail Blazer” Train Set
If you ever come across a 1934 Standard Gauge version of this train set while cleaning out your attic or basement, you’re in luck. You can make up to $250,000.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1980s Actions Figures
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took over the late 80s with action figures, comic books, and a television series. Mint condition Turtle action figures can go for at least $600 a piece, and rare pieces can hit $5,000.
First released in 1959, Barbie seems like she’s been around since the beginning of time. She remains such a huge figure in young girls lives.
It’s been well-documented that the crazy prices that original Barbie dolls will go for is something collectors have no issue with. Just to remind you of that figure, an original Barbie can garner more than $23,000. It really is a Barbie world!
Vinyl Caped Jawa
This version specifically will get you at least $5,000. When this version of Caped Jawa was released in 1978, its cape was made of vinyl, before Kenner Company felt the cape looked too cheap and changed the vinyl to cloth. The vinyl caped Jawa is incredibly rare, very valuable, and worth a minimum of $5,000.
Transformers were a toy phenomenon back in the 1980s.
They were first released by toy company Hasbro in 1984, and millions of kids all over the world owned one. Today, these action figures could go for upwards of $2000 if they are still in their original packaging.
Jurassic Park Figures
Jurassic Park was one of the biggest films of the ’90s and was perfect for the toy market.
These original dinosaur action figures could be worth $1200, today so you should probably check your attic.
Vintage Super Soaker Gun
Lonnie Johnson’s famed recreational water gun was a huge innovation to kids toys back in 1982. Today, you can find imitations in any and every dollar store, but the vintage original can go for up to $1000.
Another Hasbro favorite, Stretch Armstrong is the man whose arms can be stretched to the farthest breaking point, without breaking! Vintage Stretch Armstrong dolls have gone to auction for an insane $4000, and $10,000 purchases also have been recorded! Some people really shouldn’t have lots of money.
Mario Kart 64
Super Mario has always been popular with kids and adults alike. If you own a mint-condition vintage cartridge of this childhood favorite, it could be worth $750.
G.I. Joe Circa 1964
The original action man, G.I. Joe was owned by every young boy in the ’60s and, like his female counterpart Barbie, he is still with us today.
He has had many different incarnations and appearances over the years, but it’s his original 1964 version that is worth the most money. If you (or your grandparents) have one of these in the attic you could be looking at a cool $10,000. That is, if it’s in mint condition and unopened.
These toys were originally from Germany and worked pretty much like movie sets. You built the location based on the parts that came in the box. Then your other toys could have adventures in it.
A set of these today could go for more than $800.
First Edition of 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone'
It’s hard to believe that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had trouble finding a publisher. Or that its author even had to hide her first name behind the mysterious ‘J.K.’ in a hope boys wouldn’t be turned off by a female writer. But the phenomenon it became, and still is, took the world by storm and captured the imagination of kids and adults everywhere. If you were one of the people lucky enough to buy a first edition of the book, you could be holding well more than $6,500. Now that’s magic!
Even folks unfamiliar with comic book collecting are likely to know that some incredibly old comics like Action Comics #1 (first appearance of Superman) and Detective Comics #27 (first appearance of Batman) sell for millions of dollars these days. You’re unlikely to have either of those comics just sitting around, but if you or your kids bought comics in the 1980s or 90s, you might have some valuable books in the closet. The two key factors are the condition of the book and if it happened to be the first appearance of a character. Another factor that may substantially increase the value of the book will be whether the character appears in one of the many film or TV adaptations that are appearing these days. For instance, take the first appearance of Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #300, now valued at $400; then there’s Spawn #1, now valued at $20; or the first issue of Watchmen (adapted into a film and later HBO TV series), now valued at $55 (values as of December 2019 from ComicBookRealm.com).
'Retired' American Girl Dolls
Buying a new American Girl might set you back over $100, but it turns out that if you hold on to some of them, you might easily make that money back down the road. Certain American Girl Dolls, like the Molly McIntire pictured, can resell at auction for $1,000, or even more. The key to reselling American Girl Doll toys for that much is if the doll has been “retired.” If so, the out-of-stock dolls just become harder and harder to get, thus collectors will want to pay much more to add them to their collection.
Atari Video Game Cartridges
If you have a box of old Atari video game cartridges sitting in a closet in your home, don’t just throw them on the table during your next lawn sale. You should take the time to research them on eBay and see how much people are paying for them. Certain games are incredibly rare to find these days (if inventory didn’t sell, stores would often destroy them or send them back to the manufacturer, who would destroy them). Take the above pictured River Patrol, which sold on eBay for $675 in September 2019. Also, if you’re like us and just learning today that Atari made adults-only video games, and you have them in your collection, they can sell for hundreds. The above-pictured set of five that were still in their wrapping sold for $950.
'Masters of the Universe' Eternia Playset
Anybody who remembers the 1980s almost certainly remembers the Masters of the Universe, where He-Man and his allies battled Skeletor and all his villains. If you have any of the toys sitting around, most collectors will be willing to take them off your hands if they’re in good condition (they’ll pay more if they’re in the original packaging). However, the “holy grail” of Masters of the Universe merchandise is the Eternia playset. Full sets in the box go for thousands, like the pictured listing in December 2019 that sold for over $4,900.
'She-Ra' 1980s Toys
From He-Man we go to She-Ra, where just like the boy-targeted toys of the 1980s, original 1980s She-Ra toys carry similar resale value for collectors these days. If you have any of the toys in their original packaging, you can likely get close to $100. The big ticket items are the horses in their original boxes. In the left image, Swift Wind the horse is included in the box by itself and carries about a $400 price. There are versions that include She-Ra and Swift Wind, which can sell for over $1,000. The “Starburst She-Ra and Crystal Swift Wind” box set pictured on the right has a listed value of $800.
Strawberry Shortcake Dolls
We’re pretty sure most people from the 1980s will be at least vaguely familiar with Strawberry Shortcake. However, many likely don’t know that the character was originally used on greeting cards and became popular enough that toy company Kenner Products decided to license the character. The first Strawberry Shortcake doll came out in 1979 and throughout the 1980s, many more appeared. One of the most popular for collectors these days is the Banana Twirl Berrykin, which can fetch over $1,000 on eBay auctions. Then there’s the above pictured Happy Home House playset, which has a staggering $5,000 listing price. But this is a mint, unopened version, so most other versions likely would sell for less.
Digimon Digital Monsters and Trading Cards
Of the many “rip-offs” of Pokemon, Digimon was perhaps the most popular. Created in 1997, the Digimon (“digital monsters”) were virtual pets akin to the other popular Tamagotchi toys, but marketed more toward boys in that the creatures were meant to battle like the Pokemon creatures. These days, the original digital devices from 1997 garner over $100 for just the device outside the box. Some listings inside the box and even ones without the original box are listed at or around $500 resale value on eBay.
Lego Train Sets
What happens when you mix Lego fans with avid train collectors? You get a secondary market for Lego train sets that’s unmatched. Collectors of both niches clamor to get their hands on vintage Lego train sets. There are freight train sets, steam cargo train sets, and city train sets that all fetch over $1,000 on eBay auctions. There are also plenty of boxed sets that will likely get you around $500, like the above Lego Express Deluxe, which sold for $610 in October 2019.
1980s G.I. Joe Snake Eyes
Now that kids from the 1980s are all grown up (and have some money to spare), they’re chasing after tons of classic toys from the decade. One of the most important toys of the ’80s were the relaunched Hasbro G.I. Joe 3′ 3/4″ action figures (a drastic change from the 1960s versions we discussed earlier). For the time period, the toys were a revelation in action figure articulation. The small figures turned, bent, and swiveled in so many ways, allowing for almost full movement on the entire body. As the decades have passed, one character in particular has stood out among the rest: Snake Eyes. Thanks to the popular Marvel Comics series and animated show released in conjunction with the toy line, Snake Eyes became a breakout character and his is the most prized of the early Hasbro runs. “But It Now” listings on eBay range from $2,000-$3,000, but completed bid auctions usually end up going for about $700-$800.
1980s G.I. Joe - Other 3' 3/4" Figures
While the Snake Eyes action figure from the original 1980s G.I. Joe toy line is easily the most valuable of the lot, if you have other figures sitting around in boxes, they can fetch you several hundred depending on the character and the condition. Obviously, unopened figures in their original package will garner the most. From the first 1982 series the Cobra Commander, Scarlett, and Laser Rifle Trooper, a.k.a. “Flash,” all go for hundreds ($300-$500). If the figures are out of their packaging, things get less easy to estimate value. If the figure has all of its accessories, that will boost the value. Additionally, if the figures have their “File Card” (the cut outs included on the back of the cardboard packaging), that too will increase their value for buyers. Depending on the figure, you can probably expect to get anywhere from $20 up to $200 for the more rare figures.
No matter what age you are, you’ve most likely seen Funko Pop! figures around. Ya know, the little figures with the big, cute faces. Basically every popular movie and TV show ever created has gotten the Funko treatment. Despite the collectibles’ seeming ubiquity, there are several rare gems out there that sell for thousands of dollars. Among the most sought-after toys are the 2011 San Diego Comic Con Star Wars exclusives, Chewbacca and Shadow Trooper ($800-$1,000). Then there’s the 2012 Darth Maul “holograhic” limited edition figure that can sell for upwards of $2000 or more. Another popular one among collectors are the Disney Dumbo Funkos. Several versions exist, with the rarest being a SDCC exclusive with clown makeup selling for over $2,000, while “metallic” versions of blue and gold each sell for about $500. Finally, there’s the “headless” Ned Stark from Game of Thrones, which can have a price tag around $1,500. And then there are hundreds of other “exclusives” you can keep an eye on that go for hundreds, if not more.