Pay for play: Don’t overlook the value of your vintage toys!

September 12, 2018

Put your toys away, as Mama always said—but remember where you store them! Those vintage playthings could become a source of profit.

In fact, Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials who have saved their cherished childhood trinkets may be able to clinch deals with collectors today that will pay for a good chunk of their retirement, according to a September 9 report by Work + Money.

Jacquie Denny, co-founder of the online estate sale and secondhand goods marketplace Everything But The House, told Work and Money that iconic toys are the hidden gems in today’s marketplace for secondhand and collectible toys. Star Wars memorabilia, G.I. Joe action figures, Legos classic kits, and Pokémon cards and toys all are in high demand.

“The kids who grew up on these are now at the age that they are raising their own families and want to share those memories by enjoying them with their own kids,” Denny said.

So when’s the last time you looked in the attic of your parents’ house to see if a semester of college tuition for your own kid may be hiding in a toy box?

Here’s a list of what you should be looking for if you want to cash in on those childhood memories:

  • Power Rangers Action Figures: While a lot of collectors insist on mint condition figures that are still in the box, Power Rangers seem immune to that criteria. The Carrier Zord figure released in 1993 in good condition can get as much as $270. Other out-of-the-box Power Rangers average around $200.
  • 1959 Barbie Doll: There have been a lot of Barbie dolls released in the past 60 years, but this is the original. No mint-condition 1959 Barbie’s have sold in recent years, but even in good condition they are worth a lot. One sold earlier this year for $23,000.
  • Pokémon Cards: A Pikachu Illustrator card recently sold at an auction house, according to a report on Nerdist, for more than $50,000. Pikachu was the main Pokémon character that appealed to both boys and girls, and there was low production on the first generation while they were testing the market. Early misprints—such as the one that sold for more than $50,000—bring in more money than the more common corrected versions of the card.
  • 1980s-Era Video Games: Work + Money says that Mario Bros. is “making a huge comeback,” but any big-name game going as far back as the original Pong is finding love on the collectible toy market. The original Game Boy Color and a Sega Genesis console have been selling for as much as $2,000 on some video game collecting sites, while copies of Mario Kart 64 can fetch as much as $1,000.
  • Transformer Action Figures: Not all of those old-school Transformers action figures are worth a fortune, but Optimus Prime and Megatron can be worth megabucks: anywhere from $800 to $900 each, if the figures are in pristine condition.
  • Unopened Lego Sets: Not all of those old-school Transformers action figures are worth a fortune, but Optimus Prime and Megatron can be worth megabucks—anywhere from $800 to $900 each, if the figures are in pristine condition.
  • Super Soakers: The Super Soaker Monster XL still bills itself as the largest water gun ever sold. In mint condition, it routinely sells for $500 on eBay and other collectible sites. But even used, Super Soakers are worth something. A used Super Soaker CPS, known as the most powerful water gun ever sold, can get as much as $360 if your days of ambushing the neighbor kid are behind you.
  • Polly Pocket and Accessories: These inch-tall toys and the line of accessories sold separately were the craze for kids in the 1990s. Now they’re the craze among toy collectors. A Peter Pan Polly Pocket set was recently listed on eBay for $300. Other toys in less-than-mint condition can still get as much as $200.
  • Rare Beanie Babies: Most of the original Beanie Babies that sold for $5 during the first craze over these stuffed animals fetch an average of $21 on the secondhand market. But first edition Princess Diana bear has sold on the collectibles market for $500,000. Other Beanie Babies – including Peanut the Royal Blue Elephant and Quackers the Duck – can fetch prices ranging from $400 to $1,800, depending on their condition.
  • Pez Dispensers: They also have to be rare, but Astronaut B, a PEZ dispenser that was created for the 1982 World’s Fair, sold for $32,000 on eBay—marking the highest resale price for a PEZ dispenser that Work + Money could find in its research.
  • Early Monopoly Sets: Sotheby’s routinely puts original Monopoly sets produced in the 1930s up for auction, and they usually sell for between $4,000 and $6,000. But if you happen to find one of the original sets—the one with the hand-painted board that was fashioned in 1933 by creator Charles Darrow— you’re looking at $146,500, if we use the last sale price from Sotheby’s.
  • G.I. Joe Mobile Command Center: Or really anything G.I. Joe, Work+Money says. Even a used Starduster— a figure that Hasbro only sold through mail order—can get as much as $300.
  • Easy-Bake Ovens: If you managed to hold onto the one you got on Christmas morning in 1963, you can now probably buy a top-line oven. Originally sold in teal or yellow, matching the kitchen appliance style of the time period, these toys now sell for as much as $4,000.
  • Star Wars Action Figures: There’s an obvious question to be asked when collectors are willing to pay as much as $5,000 for a Boba Fett action figure: Why Boba Fett and not one of the better-known characters from the original Star Wars franchise? Kenner originally planned to sell it via mail-order with a rocket that actually launched from Boba’s jetpack. But the hazardous nature of the toy was noticed before it was shipped, causing delays and pent-up demand. As a result, Boba Fett is the king of the collectible toy market even if he meets an untimely end in “Return of the Jedi.” And that $5,000 is for the U.S. version. A Canadian version recently sold for $6,250, and a Hungarian version sold for $15,000. Don’t feel too bad for Luke Skywalker, though. There are only 20 of his 1978 original action figure known to be in existence. If you find one and it’s still in the box, it will make Boba Fett look like chump change. Sotheby’s sold one at auction in 2015 for $25,000.
  • Beach Bomb Hot Wheels Car: An individual Hot Wheels car won’t get much –  unless it’s the Beach Bomb Hot Wheels Car. The purplish-pink van has a surfboard hanging out the back. One of them sold in 2014 for $72,000.

Research contact: @CopeWrites

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