The Most Valuable Toys From Childhood
Your favorite childhood toys could be worth a pretty penny these days.
Everyone has a couple of toys that are particularly meaningful to them from childhood, whether it be that beloved American Girl doll you carried around with you wherever you went or that Lego set you played with for hours on end. Little did we know that those same toys could be worth a fortune one day.
As the years have gone by, some of your favorite playthings from the past have become quite valuable. So if you have boxes of toys collecting dust in your attic, you may want to take a second look. These items from your childhood could earn you some big bucks now!
These days, rare editions of comics can be worth thousands of dollars — even millions. “Action Comics No. 1,” the issue that first introduced Superman to the world, holds the distinction of being one of the most valuable comics ever. In 2014, a copy of the comic that’s considered to be of the finest quality in existence sold for a record $3.2 million. Three years before that, actor Nicolas Cage shelled out $2.1 million for a different copy.
So if you have a collection of old comic books collecting dust somewhere, you may want to dig back through it. Who knows? You may have a hidden gem in there!
Pokémon trading cards, originally created in Japan in 1996, still remain a popular collector’s item, and rare cards can potentially make for some big sales. For example, a PSA 10 Charizard sold for $11,999 at an auction in Sept. 2016. Only two months later, a Pikachu Illustrator card fetched a whopping $54,970 at a different auction, making it the world’s most valuable Pokémon card.
Barbies are a childhood staple for many, but just imagine if one of the dolls you spent hours playing with as a kid was now worth five figures. You’ll be blown away to learn how much some rare versions of the dolls are worth. Today, an original Barbie from 1959, which boasts blonde hair and a black and white bathing suit, could sell for thousands. According to Mashable, a mint condition version of the doll previously sold for $27,450 at an auction — the highest this model has sold for so far.
Most people probably consider Hot Wheels cars a dime a dozen — and they’re right in most cases. But there are older and rarer models that could be worth more than you’d expect. One such example: the Volkswagen Beach Bomb, a prototype created in 1969 that never went into mass circulation. Due to its rarity, the toy car, which is modeled after a Volkswagen Bus with surfboards hanging out the back window, is by far the most expensive Hot Wheels collectible. In 2011, a collector bought one for $125,000.
American Girl Dolls
Who knew the American Girl doll you begged your parents for back in the day could now be worth a lot of money? According to USA Today, there’s plenty of demand online for the original dolls, such as Molly McIntire, Samantha Parkington and Kirsten Larson — several of which have since been retired. The value depends on the condition in which the dolls are in, but there have been several five-figure sales on eBay in recent months.
USA Today reports that an American Girl doll Grace Bakery set with a bonus Grace Bakery outfit sold for $4,500 on the site, while a signed collection of three of the original American Dolls in boxes sold for $5,400.
Disney VHS Tapes
If you’re one of the few remaining people who still have boxes of VHS movies stored somewhere in their attic or basement, you may not want to throw them out just yet. While it may be hard to believe, those old tapes have become increasingly valuable in today’s era of Netflix and streaming. Disney VHS tapes are particularly in demand, with “Beauty and the Beast” marking the category’s bestseller on eBay. The Black Diamond version of the Disney classic’s 1991 run is an especially big get for collectors. In the past, it’s sold for anywhere from $1,000 up to $9,000 (for a set of two).
And that’s not the only one to fetch top dollar. A “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” VHS Masterpiece collection sold for $7,500 in 2018 while a rare copy with a banned cover of “The Little Mermaid” went for $4,275.
‘Star Wars’ Action Figures
Tons of “Star Wars” collectible items have been made over the years, but the most valuable ones are, of course, those that date back to the original movies. “Star Wars” action figures from the 1970s and ’80s can fetch thousands of dollars, particularly if they’re still in their original packaging.
In 2015, a 1978 Luke Skywalker figurine still in its box sold for a whopping $25,000. The item was part of Japanese designer Nigo’s vast “Star Wars” collection, which earned more than $500,000 in total in a Sotheby’s auction.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game came on the heels of the Pokémon card fad. Like Pokémon, rare versions of each card can sell for a hefty price online. Among the more in-demand cards are first editions of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card, which have sold for up to $6,000 before, and the Dark Magician Girl, which have recently netted $3,000 in new condition.
G.I. Joe Action Figures
The invention of G.I. Joe essentially led to the coining of the term “action figure,” and the iconic toy has been in demand ever since. In the 1980s, the original toy line was expanded to include vehicles, playsets and other items. These days, you can still find some merchandise dating back to this era online, but it won’t come cheap. Vintage G.I. Joe sets, like this space shuttle set, have sold on eBay for anywhere from several hundred dollars to over $3,000 (as this USS Flag Aircraft Carrier set netted).
A lot of Polly Pocket toys aren’t actually pocket-sized these days, which may partly explain why the original, smaller toys are so in-demand online. Early versions of the toys, dating back to the late ’80s and early ’90s, have been known to sell for way more than their original value. Rare accessories, like this sealed Polly Pocket Pollyville set and this Polly Pocket jewel case, have previously sold for anywhere from $535 up to over $800.
Like many other items on this list, Furbies are at their most valuable when kept in their original packaging. The earlier editions of the toy also go for higher than the later versions. A first edition Furby from 1998 in new condition has previously sold on eBay for $700 while other limited editions have gone for closer to $400. A set of three Furbies also netted up to $799 on the site.
First Edition of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’
If you bought the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” book during its original run, you could be holding on to a fairly valuable item. First editions of the U.S. version of the beloved J.K. Rowling tale, first published in 1998, have sold for up to $6,500, according to AbeBooks. But signed copies may be priced significantly higher, particularly if they remain in good condition.
Believe it or not, these candy-dispensing toys could be worth a lot of money. Specific versions of the dispensers are so rare, they’ve been known to net thousands of dollars. Perhaps the rarest — and most valuable — of all is the 1982 World’s Fair PEZ Dispenser, which features the head of an astronaut with a blue or white helmet. One of them sold for over $32,000 on eBay in 2006. Another notable version is the Mickey Mouse Soft Head Pez dispenser, which reportedly sold for $7,000. Several other vintage models from decades past are also considered high in value, according to eBay.
Vintage board games can be worth significant amounts of money. In 2014, two Monopoly game sets from the 1930s sold at Sotheby’s for more than $3,000. Though not as rare, certain limited-edition versions of the game can also sell for several hundred dollars, depending on the condition.
First Edition of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’
They say a picture can be worth a thousand words, but did you know that a picture book might be worth a few thousand dollars? A classic book beloved by many, “Where the Wild Things Are” is already valuable in our hearts — but depending on the rarity of the version you own, it could also be valuable to your wallet.
In 2012, a signed 1963 edition of the book in good condition sold on abebooks.com for $25,000.
‘Star Wars’ Collector Lego Sets
Collector’s editions of Lego sets can be fairly costly to buy, but they may also be worth a pretty penny later on. Just look at the Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon set. Originally priced at $499.99, the over-5,000-piece set was considered the most expensive Lego set of all time during its 2007 release. But according to the Lego investing site Brickpicker, it’s now more than tripled in worth. The average resale value of the set: $2,189.34.
Vintage Lego Sets
“Star Wars” sets aren’t the only Lego items that can make you some money online. Other vintage sets can go for several hundred dollars up to nearly $1,000, especially if still sealed. One such example: This unopened Lego Forestmen’s Crossing castle set recently sold for $810.
Michael Bay’s “Transformers” film series, while not exactly critically acclaimed, has raked in millions upon millions of dollars at the box office. So it’s no surprise to learn that some of the franchise-inspired toys have become pretty valuable too. Rare action figures of the bot characters have sold for thousands in recent years. The original Optimus Prime, which was released in only limited quantities, is reportedly among the most in-demand items for collectors. According to CBR.com, a mint condition version still in its sealed box once sold for over $12,000.
Vintage Atari Games
Atari has been pegged as one of the worst games of all time, but that hasn’t prevented certain copies of the game from becoming extremely valuable today. After an urban legend suggesting that thousands of Atari cartridges were buried in New Mexico was bizarrely proven true in 2014, the excavators sold off a big chunk of buried treasure for a net total of over $108,000. The sellers told Rolling Stone that the most an E.T. cartridge sold for at auction was $1,535. Not bad for a game that earned critical ridicule!
Garbage Pail Kids Cards
The Garbage Pail Kids collectible cards were popular in the ’80s, but they’re legitimately valuable now. Depending on the type of card and what condition it’s in, these can sell for anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to the thousands. Case in point: This Adam Bomb and Friends card recently sold for almost $3,000.
Pokémon for Nintendo Gameboy
Cards aren’t the only pieces of merchandise from the Pokémon franchise that have grown in value over the years. Pokémon games for the Nintendo Gameboy have also proven to be a hot commodity online in recent years. Depending on the version and condition, a game could net a few hundred dollars. Sealed copies of “Pokémon: Red” have sold on eBay for a little over $400.
Sadly, your long-stored stash of beanie babies probably isn’t going to make you a millionaire — or anywhere close. But certain limited editions of the plush toys could be worth at least several hundred dollars. The thing to keep in mind is that their worth relies heavily on the condition in which they’re in. Most collectors are only willing to pay higher sums for pristinely kept toys, with the red heart tag still intact and preferably stored in containers to protect them from dust and other environmental factors.
Case in point: A brand-new, unused authenticated Quacker model (without wings) has previously sold for $1,800 on eBay, while other rare models — like the Royal Blue Peanut elephant — have gone for $650.
Vintage Playmobil Sets
Playmobil toys were synonymous with childhood for many, but now they could be worth several hundred dollars online. Rare vintage sets, such as this 4 Story Victoria Dollhouse and Western Theme Train Set, have recently been sold for $500 and $650, respectively. Unused items in mint condition, like the new Playmobil Fortress, have been listed for $1,500.
“Masters of the Universe” Action Figures
Faker was one of the first characters from “Masters of the Universe” to get his own action figure, although the toy underwent several variations in its earliest years. One of the rarest editions of the toy is the 1987 release, which featured a solid head rather than the hollow rubber version initially released.
These early editions can go for significant amounts of money on eBay. In early 2019, a mint condition Faker figure from the 1980s still in its box sold for $1,000. Prices for other similar listings remain at a few hundred dollars.
Original ‘Super Mario Bros.’
Sure, you can play the updated version of “Super Mario Bros.” on a contemporary gaming console, but some purists still crave the old-school Nintendo days. If you’re looking for the 1990 version of Super Marios Bros 3, you’ll likely be able to find it online — but it could cost you. Sealed copies of the game have recently sold for over $600.
Teddy Ruxpin Bears
These days, these teddy bears can also net you a few hundred dollars online. Original sets, including the tape and book, sell best, particularly if kept in boxes. For example, this 1985 Worlds of Wonder set sold for $710 while this vintage Christmas-themed one went for $375. Unboxed but well-kept versions sell for less, with many landing around $150.
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Figurines
Known as one of the most popular animated comic franchises of all time, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” originated with comic books and then spanned into TV, movies, apparel and toys — lots of toys. Since its debut, the series has inspired countless action figures and created a whole new field for fans to collect, buy and trade.
Early versions of the figurines, dating back to the early 1990s, can now fetch anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over $1,000. According to CBR.com, Scratch the Cat figures from 1993 have sold for upwards of $1,200 in mint condition, while a new 1994 Undercover Raphael has previously fetched $700. A set of four Playmates “TMNT” figures also recently sold for $800 on eBay.
Strawberry Shortcake Dolls
Strawberry Shortcake and her dessert-named friends made for some pretty adorable dolls back in the day. Those same lovable toys, originally released in the 1980s, can now command a fair amount online, particularly if in new condition. This vintage Strawberry Shortcake Banana Twirl Berrykin doll, still housed in its packaging, recently sold for $500. Rare accessories, like this Mini Reading Rocking Chair, can also net up to $700 if they’re still in their box.
Rainbow Brite Dolls
Who didn’t love Rainbow Brite and all of her colorful friends? Though the dolls don’t command as high of a price as some of the other items on this list, certain models — particularly vintage versions from the early ’80s — can fetch sellers a couple hundred bucks online. An original 1983 doll still in its box has sold for up to $300 while some pre-owned, unboxed 10-inch versions have gone for around $200.
That’s right — your old Super Soakers from the late ’90s and early 2000s aren’t just good for battling it out in the backyard. They may also be able to make you some extra pocket money! Today, you can sell limited edition or vintage versions of these toys online for several hundred dollars. A boxed vintage Hasbro Super Soaker Monster, which broke several firsts as a water blaster and made it into the Guinness Book of World Records, has fetched nearly $500 in the past. Even used rare Soakers have sold for up to $300 before.