Collectible Toys Worth Thousands

PEZ dispenser Collection. Credits to egolon via flickr
PEZ dispenser Collection. Credits to egolon via flickr

Like art, the age and cultural popularity of your old toys can make them worth a lot more today. But unlike art, their worth can fluctuate. Many people who sell hit toys from the 50s through the 90s tend to auction them off on eBay. You might see something like PEZ dispensers sell for upwards of $250 and rare Pokémon cards sell for anywhere between $1500-3000. The market price is determined more than ever by consumer demand, rarity and condition. There are some toys that fans have generally agreed are worth the thousand-dollar mark. Below, we gathered information on some of the most valuable toys that you might have laying around your house. 

Pokémon Cards

Sample Holofoil card from Bulbapedia. 
Sample Holofoil card from Bulbapedia

Since Pokémon was created in 1995, it has launched a franchise of video games, movies, merchandise, and cards that fans religiously follow. People are so nostalgic for the original games that they download Game Boy emulators to play them from their computers, or even the Apple Watch. But certain cards are far more scarce than mass-produced games.

If you were around when Pokémon began, look for First Edition Holofoils in your collection. These were available in English & Japanese, released when the first game came out.  A full set of these cards has been auctioned for $8,496.  A quirkier option you can look for are misprinted Krabby cards with part of its trademark fossil symbol at the bottom right of the image missing. These can fetch around $5000

Limited releases of 15 cards or less can earn you a whopping $10,000 plus. 

Beanie Babies

Princess The Bear, Beanie Baby from POPSUGAR
Princess The Bear, Beanie Baby from POPSUGAR

The plushies were a fad in the 90s. Part of the reason they became such a fascinating collector’s item is because its creator, Ty Warner, would frequently change designs after launch. For example, only a few Peanut the Royal Blue Elephants were sold before Warner changed the color to light blue. One of these Royal Blue models was offered for $2,500 in a 2018 eBay auction.

A Patti the Platypus, one of the first models to be released in 1993, was offered on eBay for $9,000 in January 2019. Coincidentally, the Beanie Babies company also made an error when manufacturing a crab item. The 1997 model of Claude the Crab was known to make several errors across different plushies. These can reach several hundred dollars on the auction market.  

Beanie Babies that are autographed or attributed to a cause can reach high prices. In 1997, Warner released Princess Diana the (purple) bear which was sold to benefit the various charities of Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. 

Hot Wheels

1971 Oldsmobile 442 Purple from redlinetradingcompany.
1971 Oldsmobile 442 Purple from redlinetradingcompany

Hot Wheels was released in 1968 from the same brand who made Barbie and Mattel. Out of the 4 billion + models created, there are some rare gems.

Many models from the 1960-70s sell for thousands. For instance, the 1968 Volkswagen Customs can sell for over $1,500. It was only released in Europe, while most sold in the UK and Germany. 

The 1971 Purple Olds 442 is another desired item because of its color. Purple Hot Wheels are a rarity. This model also comes in Hot Pink and Salmon, and is estimated at over $1,000.

The price soars to $15,000 if you have a 1970 Mad Maverick with the word ‘Mad’ inscribed at the base. It was based on the 1969 Ford Maverick, and there are very few available. 

The rarest model you can find is the Pink Rear Loading Beach Bomb. This car never made it to production. It is only a prototype. However, the only one ever to make it to market reportedly sold for a whopping $72,000.

Lego Sets

Lego Taj Mahal set from bricks.stackexchange
Lego Taj Mahal set from bricks.stackexchange

The most sought-after Lego sets are those based off pop culture. In fact, some of these models have already sold for over $1,000 as a first release. 

One of the largest sets ever made was the 2007 Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon 1st Edition. It was originally sold for about $500, but an eBay user bought it for $9,500 making it the most expensive Lego set ever sold on eBay.

Another giant edition is the 2008 Taj Mahal set. Certain vendors like Walmart and Amazon offer relaunch models from $370 and up, but a 2008 original set can be sold for upwards of $5,000 on eBay.  

Barbie dolls

Original Barbie doll
Original Barbie doll

She needs no introduction – As of 2019, its estimated that 800 million Barbie dolls have been sold worldwide. But of that number, only about 350,000 are the original model from 1959. The most expensive one ever sold went for $27,450 in 2006 at Sandi Holder’s Doll Attic in Union City, California. But if you don’t have her, you’re not out of luck.

Barbie dolls based on pop culture figures tend to fetch high prices. The 2003 Lucille Ball doll is worth $1,050, while the 1996 Calvin Klein has sold for $1,414. In 2014, Mattel produced only 999 copies of the Karl Lagerfeld Barbie. You can find them on eBay with price tags as high at $7,000. 

Video Games

Screencap from NES game Wrecking Crew. Credits to Nintendo UK
Screencap from NES game Wrecking Crew. Credits to Nintendo UK

Not to be confused with gaming consoles (such as the Gameboy or Nintendo DS). If you opened your old console, its value may have actually decreased.  Collectors seek unopened consoles released prior to 1985, such as the Atari 2600 or the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). However, the price still ranges in the hundreds. But you can sell games that haven’t burnt out for these consoles for much more. 

Unopened kits of the 1985 NES game Wrecking Crew are worth over $5,000. The Flintstones (1994) is available for about $4,000; the game is a rare find, although its unknown why so few models were produced of it. A model of Game Stadium for NES (1987) has been sold for $22,800. Another game, Magic Chase (1993) has sold for about $13,000 because it was produced toward the end of the TurboGrafx-16 console’s sale span. 

This list would not be complete without a game that’s still popular today. A 1986 version of Super Mario for NES with Asian artwork has been sold for $25,000. 

Honorable Mentions

Tamagotchis. Credits to nerdist.com
Tamagotchis. Credits to nerdist.com

There are many other household name toys that were popular for their time, but not old enough to be worth thousands. Many of these were released in the 90s to early 2000s. Some examples are Polly Pocket, Furbies, Tamagotchis, Digimon, Sky Dancers, and Ninja Turtle Figures.

You can expect these to be competitive on eBay for hundreds. But maybe the nostalgia of your toy makes it worthwhile to keep or hold for another 20 years. 

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