Saturday 19 June 2021

A Guide To All-Things-Disney Collectibles

Since the first appearance of Mickey Mouse in the 1928 classic “Steamboat Willie,” Disney has become one of the world’s most beloved brands. There are also few brands with as much merchandising power as Disney; from the early days, the company has released a new batch of Disney collectibles just about every year, with devoted Disney collectors quickly snatching them off shelves and adding them to their collections. 

If you’re looking to start your own Disney collectionestate sales are a great place to start, especially if you’re looking for more vintage Disney pieces. Depending on the piece, Disney collectibles can be worth anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, and you can often score much better deals at estate sales than you could ever find online.

How a whistling mouse launched an empire (or how Disney became the most powerful company in the world)

Walt Disney had a few strikes before he hit it big; his Laugh-O-Gram silent films and his animated series featuring his first original character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, failed to connect with audiences, and Disney found himself and his company facing bankruptcy.

Laugh-o-grams were Walt Disneys first foray into animated short films
The shape of things to come. Walt Disney’s “Laugh-o-grams” were the precursor to his Disney empire.

But those failures are what lead to Disney’s first million dollar idea: a mouse named Mortimer. Mortimer Mouse, who would become better known as Mickey Mouse, was a smash hit from his first appearance in “Steamboat Willie” and, seeing the opportunity, Disney created a merchandising arm of the company called Walt Disney Enterprises.

Disney continued to push the envelope on what was possible for animation when they released the first feature-length animated film, “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs” in 1937, which went on to become the highest-grossing film of its time and signaled the beginning of Disney’s legacy of creating the most beloved animated films of all time.

1938 Premiere of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'
In 1938, Walt Disney’s ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ premiered to a record-breaking audience at the Carthay Theatre in Hollywood, CA

While Disney’s roots began in animation, they went on to launch other wildly successful projects, including Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (which would go on to become the most successful chain of amusement parks in the world); the Disney Channel;  a live-action film division; and, of course, their merchandising division. 

From the very start, Disney placed a heavy emphasis on pushing merchandise related to its characters and films. As such, the company spawned generation after generation of Disney fanatics and collectors seeking out the rarest and most valuable Disney treasures they could get their hands on. 

Today, there is nearly 90 years of memorabilia and merchandise for Disney collectors to seek out and add to their collection.

Why Disney collectibles?

There are very few brands who can stay as relevant and as well-loved for 90 years as Disney. Part of the Disney magic is that they create films and experiences that can be enjoyed by children and their parents, bridging the generational gap and bringing families together.

If you ask anyone you know, chances are 95% of them will say Disney played a big role in their childhood. Thanks to that universal appeal – and the heavy nostalgia factor – many collectors enjoy adding finding and adding new pieces to their Disney collections. 

Because so many people are into all-things-Disney, there’s a lot of competition for rare Disney items – and collectors are willing to pay a premium to add the rarest items to their collection. For example, at the 2016 “Collecting Disney” auction, held by Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, CA, the “bronzed” Mouse Ears worn by original Mickey Mouse Club member Annette Funicello fetched a whopping $14,000 while the original drawing from the Mickey Mouse short “Plane Crazy” brought in $4500.

"Bronzed" Mouse Ears worn by original Mickey Mouse Club member Annette Funicello
These ears were given to original Mouseketeer Annette Funicello on the Mickey Mouse Club’s 25th anniversary special, later becoming one of her most prized possessions.
Plane Crazy was one of the first Mickey Mouse cartoons ever made.
Plane Crazy was one of the first Mickey Mouse cartoons ever made. This sketch is one of the first original drawings by animator Ub Iwerks.

If those price tags are giving you a bit of sticker shock, take a deep breath – you don’t need to drop your life savings to be a Disney collector. Thanks to the company’s longevity and the sheer volume of its merchandise production, there are a virtually endless number of pieces you can add to your collection; you could spend a lifetime collecting Disney memorabilia and still find yourself discovering new pieces.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular – and some of the most rare – Disney collectibles that you might be able to find at an estate sale near you:

Disney Parks

What’s the happiest place on earth? Why, Disneyland of course! Disneyland was opened in Anaheim, CA in July of 1955 and drew crowds of Disney fans from around the world. After Disneyland’s initial success, Walt wanted to create a larger park on the East Coast, and Disneyland was followed in 1971 by Disney World in Orlando, FL.

1958 Disneyland park map
A 1958 Disneyland park map

Today, there are six Disney parks around the world: Disneyland, Disney World, Tokyo Disney, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and the recently opened Shanghai Disneyland. 

Each park has their own unique features and attractions, including their own version of a beloved Disney castle (three of the parks have a spin on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, two have replicas of Cinderella, and Shanghai Disney has its own castle called the “Enchanted Storybook Castle”).

In addition to its own unique features and attractions, each Disney park also has its own memorabilia and Disney collectibles (there are also universal pieces that were released at all or some of the parks). Each park releases park-specific memorabilia, often for a short period of time (for example, for the holiday season), which makes each piece a rare find – and super valuable to Disney collectors.  

1980s vintage Disney sweatshirt
This vintage sweatshirt was available sometime in the 1980’s at Walt Disney World in Florida. 
Vintage Disney Book
This vintage book that offers details about both Disneyland and Disney World was released in 1979 and features rare photos of the parks in their early days.
“It’s A Small World” vintage ornament
This ornament was a part of a toy highlighting “It’s A Small World”, one of the original attractions at Disneyland.
1955 Disneyland opening glass
This glass was sold at the opening of Disneyland in 1955. Items from Disneyland’s grand opening are of special interest to collectors. 

Disney Films

Disney has done a lot of things over the years, but the heart and soul of the company will always be in film. 

Disney took the film world by storm with the 1937 release of “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs,” the first feature-length animated film to be released in Hollywood. The company continued to churn out timeless masterpieces like “Pinocchio” in 1940, “Dumbo” in 1941, “Bambi” in 1942, and “Cinderella” in 1950. 

After the deaths of Walt Disney (1966)  and his brother, Disney CEO Roy O. Disney (1971), the company hit a creative rough patch. In the late 70’s, one of Disney’s lead animators, Don Bluth, left the company (taking 11 Disney animators with him) to form rival studio Don Bluth Productions, which would go out to create more critically and commercially successful films (including “The Secret of NIMH” and “An American Tail”) throughout the 1980’s.

During this time, Disney struggled to find a hit, and many higher-ups in the company wanted to shut the doors to the animation department for good. But following the release of 1989’s “The Little Mermaid,” Disney entered its most critically and commercially successful era with what’s known as “The Disney Renaissance.” During this period (which spanned from Mermaid’s release in 1989 through the release of “Tarzan” in 1999), Disney released some of the most beloved and critically acclaimed animated films of all time, including 1991’s “Beauty and The Beast,” 1992’s “Aladdin,” and 1994’s “The Lion King.”

Disney then went on to partner with Pixar to lead the charge on computer animation, releasing films like “Toy Story” and “The Incredibles.”  

Disney films – particularly older, VHS films – have become one of the hottest Disney collectibles on the market. During the 80’s and 90’s, Disney would release limited editions of its films on VHS; after the limited run, the films would go “back into the vault” until future release dates. These limited edition VHS tapes are in high demand with collectors and can catch thousands on eBay, but can often be found for much more reasonable prices at estate sales. 

The Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection Rare Disney VHS tapes
The Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection, which was a limited release of classic Disney films from 1994 through 1999, are more rare than most other Disney movie collections – making them especially valuable to Disney collectors.
Disney's 1985 VHS "The Black Cauldron"
VHS copies of lesser-known Disney films, like 1985’s “The Black Cauldron,” are few and far in between – especially limited edition prints like these, which makes it all the more valuable to collectors.

Disney Toys 

Since Disney is for kids (and people who consider themselves kids at heart!), it makes complete sense that a huge focus of their merchandising efforts would be on toys. Disney toys are one of the most popular (and profitable) arms of the Walt Disney Company. 

Disney has released an insane amount of toys throughout the years across multiple distribution channels; they released toys through the parks, through their retail channel The Disney Store, and through partnerships with third-party companies like McDonald’s.

Disney partnered with McDonald’s to release limited edition Happy Meal toys beginning in 1983, a partnership that still continues to this day. Some of the more popular Disney/McDonald’s collaborations include Disney’s 100 years of magic (which features 100 different collectible Disney toys), Disneyland’s 40th (which featured Disney characters riding famous Disneyland attractions), and Pixar’s Cars. 

Disney store toys are also a heavy favorite among Disney toy collectors. While the Disney Store still has retail locations today, the store hit its peak popularity in the early to late 90’s thanks to reignited public interest as a result of the Disney Renaissance.  

The most popular Disney toys today revolve around the Disney Princess franchise; newer Disney princesses like Elsa from “Frozen” along with more classic Disney princesses like Cinderella and Snow White fly off the shelves (and off the internet).

Most collectors, however, are more interested in older, more obscure Disney toys. Toys like Disney plushes of rare characters or limited edition items have been steadily increasing in value – and would make a great addition to any Disney collection.

Disney Giga Pets
Virtual pets were all the rage in the mid-90’s. Disney partnered with Giga Pet to release a number of virtual pets, including this Little Mermaid edition, that proved to be extremely popular with children. Today, Disney Giga pets are one of the most sought-after Disney toys for collectors.
Disney party face blowouts
These vintage Disney party face blowouts are a throwback to the 1950’s and 60’s. 
“Beauty and The Beast” tea set
This “Beauty and The Beast” tea set featuring Mrs. Potts and Chip was popular around the release of the original film in 1992. While additional Beauty and the Beast-themed tea sets have been released in the years since, the original is the most desirable for Disney collectors.
Huey, Dewey, and Louie
Huey, Dewey, and Louie were first introduced as Donald Duck’s nephews way back in 1937, but it wasn’t until the 1987 premiere animated series “Ducktales” that they began to gain major popularity. “Ducktales” is about to get a 2017 reboot, making these toys – released during the show’s original run – even more popular with collectors.

Vintage Disney Watches

Of all the varieties of Disney items on the market, none seems to have as much of a collector’s following than watches. Vintage Disney watches are among the most sought after and in-demand Disney collectibles out there. 

And they aren’t in short supply. Over the years, Disney has released their own line of watches as well as partnered with well-known industry leaders like Fossil, Timex, and Invictus to offer a wide variety of high-quality time-tellers that quickly became a must for any Disney fan.

Because there are so many vintage Disney watch designs out there, it’s a favorite among collectors. There are arguably thousands of different designs, making the thrill of the hunt even more enjoyable.

If you’re looking to collect vintage Disney watches, it’s important that you know the difference between a real vintage watch and a vintage design watch; many Disney watches with vintage designs have been released in recent years, and while they might look like they were created back in the day, they’re really only a few years old. And while there’s nothing wrong with having a new watch, if you really want to collect vintage Disney, you’ve got to keep looking until you find the real thing.

Vintage “The Little Mermaid” watch
This vintage “The Little Mermaid” watch has intricate ocean-themed detailing on the wristband of different types of shells. 
Mickey Mouse watch 1960s - 1970s
Mickey, who turns 89 this year, has gone through a number of changes and reanimations throughout the years. This watch features the Mickey animation style popular in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Disney animated watch
This watch, which was likely released sometime in the 1980’s, features a Mickey and Minnie that dance and shake their heads as the minutes tick by.

Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company…

Disney is one of the most beloved brands of all time, and the sheer volume of merchandise they’ve released over the years makes them an ideal choice for collectors of all types.

If you want to get started on the path to becoming a Disney collector, estate sales are a great place to start. Because Disney is such an institution around the world, most families collect at least some Disney memorabilia over the years – memorabilia that can be yours, if you know where to look.

Now that you know everything there is to know about all-things-Disney-collectibles, it’s time to say goodbye. Or, in the words of the Mickey Mouse club:

“Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company

M-I-C (see you real soon!)

K-E-Y (why? Because we like you!)


Saturday 12 June 2021

34 Collectible Toys and Their Value Today


34 Collectible Toys and Their Value Today

array of different collectible toy cars

Antique and collectible toys resonate with collectors today for their ability to evoke the power of memory and nostalgia. From holding on to your first Barbie doll to discovering a mint-condition action figure from your childhood, these objects offer a glimpse at the historical evolution of toys in our society and serve as cultural relics. Here, we explore some of the most popular childhood collectibles, including vintage toys from the 19th century through the 21st. Read on to see if your favorites make the list.

Vintage Toys

By the turn of the 20th century, technology made it possible to easily produce toys in the same manner as early cars and trucks. Before the rise of action figures and franchise-driven toys, vintage toys enthralled children all across the world. Today, toys like model trains and porcelain dolls that were once cherished items are now valuable collectibles.

Wind-Up Toys

German Nifty Mickey Mouse Wind Up Organ Grinder Toy.

Mickey Mouse Wind Up Organ Grinder Toy. Sold for $10,000 via Morphy Auctions (March 2019).

Wind-up toy mechanisms first appeared in the 15th century when German inventor Karl Grod developed a mechanical fly and eagle. Later, in the 16th and 17th centuries, large-scale and toy-sized automaton figures were created with wind-up motors that were used to produce lifelike motions.

By the early 18th century, wind-up toys gained traction in Germany and other parts of Europe, and by the 19th century, a wealth of European toymakers began mass-producing tin versions. This led to a large influx of tin wind-up toys in America during the Industrial Revolution. In 2012, a rare Marklin wind-up toy boat sold at Bertoia Auctions for $264,500.

Model Trains

clockwork train engine.

Hull & Stafford Train. Sold for $3,660 via Morphy Auctions (June 2016).

First created in Germany in the 1830s, model trains were made by pouring molten brass or tin into a mold. Shortly after, the first American version was created by Mathias Baldwin of the Baltimore Locomotive Works. After the American Civil War, model trains grew in popularity, and eventually more advanced features like the section track, figure eight layout, and electric capabilities caught on. Demand for model trains began to wane in the mid-20th century, as interest shifted from trains to cars.

Diecast Cars

large collection of cast iron and diecast motorcycles from the 20th century.

Collection of Cast Iron Diecast Motorcycles. Sold for $3,438 via Sotheby’s (December 2010).

Diecast cars began appearing in the early 20th century when toy manufacturers started to create miniature versions of the Model T and MG sports cars. These detailed replicas provided a means for collectors and car enthusiasts alike to own the expensive models they coveted. Diecast cars reached the height of their popularity during the 1960s.

While older, rarer models can sell for thousands of dollars in the market, the most expensive example ever to sell at auction was a gold-plated 1:8 scale model of a Lamborghini Aventador, which started at a price of $7.5 million in 2013.

Antique Porcelain Dolls

First appearing in the mid-19th century, antique porcelain dolls became a popular children’s toy and are now considered cherished collectibles. To-date, the most expensive doll ever to sell was a bisque doll, which sold at Theriault’s for $300,000 in 2014. Though limited editions and dolls made before the 1930s generally sell for loftier amounts, others generally sell anywhere from $10–$2,000.

Cap Guns

vintage gap gun in box.

Hubley Diecast Automatic Disintegrator Gun. Sold for $889 via Morphy Auctions (September 2017).

Cap guns grew in popularity towards the end of the American Civil War when the gun manufacturers that had produced firearms and ammunition prior to the war began developing toy models as a way to stay in business. Cap guns were further popularized by the introduction of fictional heroes of the American West in movies and television programs. Toy companies like Hubley, Kenton, Kilgore, Wyandotte, and others began entire production lines of cap guns, and the height of their production was a 20-year span in the years that followed World War II.

Today, collectors find the most value in mint and boxed versions, especially those in complete sets with lifelike features. Rare cap guns in their original boxes have sold for upwards of $2,000.

‘70s Toys

The rise of action figures and franchise-driven toys dominated the toy industry in the 1970s. Characters were important components in how toys were deemed relevant, and this allowed for a franchise’s multi-media reach across literature, film, and television. Vintage toys are still notable today and are coveted relics for modern collectors.

Dinky Cosmic Interceptor

The Dinky Toys company produced miniature diecast toys from the 1930s until the 1970s. Today, Dinky diecast toys are in-demand at auction: a collection of 3,500 rare car toys sold for £150,000 at Devon auction in 2016—and one of their later airplanes even increased its value at auction in 2015.


Pez dispensers are loved for both the candy inside and the playful characters on top. While the dispensers are often produced in limited editions (and thus, hard to find), sometimes Pez candy itself can be incredibly valuable. In 2012, a collection of hard-to-find Pez candies from the 1970s, in their original wrapping, sold at Profiles in History for a hammer price of $300. The candies came from the collection of Chad Dreier, one of the most avid collectors of entertainment and pop-culture memorabilia, including a swath of vintage toys, games, and action figures.

Stretch Armstrong

Rare Factory sealed Kenner Stretch Armstrong action figure

Stretch Armstrong action figure. Sold for $1,650 via Toystrainsandotheroldstuff (October 2017).

With the ability to stretch to four times his size and snap back without a mark, Stretch Armstrong was one of the most intriguing and entertaining toys to emerge from the 1970s. It was the only toy of its kind, and its unique approach made it desirable to many. Unbreakable and dexterously satisfying, this doll has been known to sell for over £300 at auction.

Evel Knievel “Stunt Cycle

Evel Knievel "Stunt Cycle" toy in box

Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. Sold for $610 via Morphy Auctions (March 2016).

Evel Knievel is one of the most notable stuntmen of all time. His daring motorcycle tricks seemed to defy gravity, and the merchandise that was modeled after him allowed kids (and adults) to take home a piece of the action. His “Stunt Cycle” action figure is now a tough toy to find, but an original, unused piece in its sealed box—with the original price sticker of $4.49 still attached—landed over $600 at auction in 2016.

Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels, a brand of diecast car that launched in 1968, gained traction during the 1970s. Various models were released throughout the decade, including mirrorings of drag race culture and a partnership with Marvel comics for themed cars. Though many different models and lines of the cars have been released since they first launched, earlier releases are coveted collectibles.

Star Wars Memorabilia

vintage star wars comic book

Star Wars vintage vinyl. Sold for £8,500 via Vectis Auctions Ltd (March 2017).

Star Wars was the ultimate film phenomenon of the ‘70s and still draws a strong cohort of fans to this day. Action figures of well-known characters came to the market shortly after the franchise launched in 1977 and were beloved by fans both young and old. A near-mint vintage figure of a character with little screen time took home £8,500 at auction in 2017—main characters have been known to garner far more.

In addition to action figures, the Star Wars franchise launched a line of Marvel comic books. As a testament to the enduring appeal of Star Wars merchandise, this comic book was originally sold for just $0.35 in 1977. In 2016, it sold for nearly $4,000 at Heritage Auctions in 2016, indicating that interest in the franchise shows no signs of slowing.

‘80s Toys

Toys in the 1980s were a mix of classic favorites mixed with new technology. Dolls and action figures remained a quintessential fixture of toy boxes everywhere, but technological advancements saw the rise of video games and more electronically savvy toys. Their worth was defined by the pioneering spirit of these new toys and their enduring appeal today.

Koosh Ball

The Koosh Ball, still in production today, is a stretchy and soft toy that serves as a plaything for children (and is often used a stress-reliever for adults). The multi-colored ball won’t cost you more than a few dollars today, but an original with the tags intact can be worth much more.

G.I. Motorized Battle Tank

G.I. Joe action figures first came on the market in 1964 and were popular until they were discontinued in 1978, largely in response to waning support of the Vietnam War. The 1980s saw a resurgence of interest in toys of military interest due to Cold War sentiments, and G.I. Joe made a comeback, with the Motorized Battle Tank leading the way as one of the most favored toys in the line.

Teddy Ruxpin

Teddy bear from Mattel

Mattel Teddy Ruxpin. Sold for £150 via Christie’s (September 2007).

Teddy Ruxpin was the original talking teddy bear. He “read” children stories from cassette tapes, based on the same technology as the talking figures featured at Disneyland. Though adoration for him didn’t withstand the test of time, an original Teddy has been known to sell for three times its pre-sale estimate; worth more than just a good story today.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

vintage ninja turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sold for £160 via Vectis Auctions Ltd (August 2015).

This action figure line was already on the rise, but the release of the eponymous 1990 film propelled their success. Fans still flock to the franchise today, with films, action figures, and comic books enjoyed all over the world. The value of the action figures doesn’t live in the sewers as their namesakes do, though original pieces have been known to sell for more than two to three times their pre-sale estimate.

Thundercats Thunderwings Action Figures

PAIR inc Toy Options Ltd "Thundercats" figures

Thundercats figures. Sold for £190 via Vectis Auctions Ltd (May 2015).

The eponymous animated cartoon aired from 1985–88, continuing the obsession with coordinating action figures. Capitalizing on the theme of humanoids and aliens that took the decade by storm, Thundercats action figures provided a fantastical outlet for kids and are collected by nostalgists today.

Rubik’s Cube

Rubik’s Cubes are arguably one of the most iconic puzzles to ever exist. Still in production, consumers have been known to use them as casual pastimes, or to even engage in competitions—world records have been set for the fastest time to solve one. A brand new cube in its original packaging from 1980 can run for nearly $300.

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake was a beloved character in the ‘80s. Her popularity spread through television shows and children’s books and is still a favorite today. While the world has seen an abundance of dolls to hit the market, Strawberry Shortcake’s key differentiator was that the dolls actually smelled like strawberries. This one-of-a-kind feature exponentially increased the doll’s value.

Cabbage Patch Kids

Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage in the 1980s, and New Year’s Day in 1983 marked the sale of more than three million dolls. Today, an original toy can earn up to $375 at auction, depending on its condition. The high demand for the dolls also later served as inspiration in the 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Jingle All The Way.”


unopened vintage nintendo entertainment system

Nintendo Entertainment System. Sold for $500 via Freedom Auction Company (September 2018).

Launched in 1985, the Nintendo Entertainment System revolutionized home video games. For the first time, the excitement of the video arcade could be replicated in your living room and with the release of the Nintendo system, the video game world was changed forever. As one of the most recognized gaming systems of all time, an original, unopened version could fetch more than $500 at auction.

Nintendo took the world by storm in the 1980s, and that was just the beginning. The original Game Boy was a huge step forward for mobile gaming. Its audience included people from all ages and backgrounds, including astronauts—this particular unit sold for $1,220 at auction after it flew to space in 1994.

nintendo game boy flown in space in white

Nintendo Game Boy. Sold for $1,220 via Bonhams (May 2011).

American Girl Dolls

Since the launch of American Girl dolls under the leadership of Pleasant Rowland (The Pleasant Company) in 1986, the brand has flourished to include books, film adaptations, and brick-and-mortar stores. The success of the first three dolls is credited with the rise of the franchise, and an original Molly McIntire, Kirsten Larson, or Samantha Parkington doll could be worth more than $1,000 today.

‘90s Toys

The 1990s saw sustained interest in action figures and the rise of high-tech toys. You may still have a few in your closet or be familiar with many of the reissues that have occurred in recent years. Though not the distant past, the ‘90s still yielded a swath of collectible toys.

Magic: The Gathering

Magic: The Gathering was the first trading card game released in 1993, and the phenomenon is still played today. The intricate activity has a number of unique cards to entice players and make things interesting. Each game depicts a battle between wizards known as planeswalkers who cast spells, use artifacts, and summon creatures that are seen on the individual cards.

The value of these cards depends greatly upon their rarity. Some were less produced than others in printing which increased their value in both the game and cost. A small, colored symbol on the card represents its rarity, where black is the most common and orange-red or bronze is mythic. Depending on your collection and its condition, these cards could be more valuable than just making the right play.


brown furby

Chewbacca Furby doll. Sold for $700 via Profiles in History (October 2017).

The Furby took the 1990s by storm, igniting the tech-toy boom. With a wide-ranging vocabulary and snarky attitude, the Furby kept kids busy and surely drove some parents insane. A characterized re-release of the toy to correspond with new Star Wars films yielded a resurgence in Furby’s popularity in 2015.


Carrying a pet around all day is a commitment, but a digital pet that fit on your key fob or in your pocket allowed kids the best of both worlds. The craze was wide-reaching in the late 1990s, and despite the rerelease of the toy in 2018, an original Tamagotchi could be worth up to $100. The revival may have something to do with its value—fans of the toy as children may be doing a bit of nostalgic collecting as adults.

Deluxe Talkboy

After it appeared on Home Alone 2: Lost In New York in 1992, the Deluxe Talkboy was a huge hit. The toy allowed friends to radio each other and keep in touch during play, and is more than just a cheap piece of plastic and wires today—an original toy is worth at least $130.

Power Rangers

The 1990s had its own wave of action figure franchises. Power Rangers toys were based off the live-action superhero television series and catapulted the action figures to the spotlight. Only a few dollars a piece would have allowed you to be part of the fun back then, but today, an original piece could be worth more than just nostalgia.

Polly Pocket

Though Mattel recently relaunched the Polly Pocket line of toys, the original collection is still highly sought after, as some parts and pieces are difficult to track down. The small figures allowed players to flex their creativity and craft a unique, tiny world of storytelling and imagination.

Super Soakers

Still enjoyed today, Super Soakers are signature features of any child’s summer. While the market has expanded to include a variety of models and designs, an original vintage Super Soaker can be valued at nearly $500. As the first toy of its kind to shoot water over 50 feet, it was a revolutionary development for pool time.

Spice Girls Doll Collection

The Spice Girls were a ‘90s girl band sensation. The five British singers were well-known globally by their unique personas and catchy songs. A complete collection of all five Spice Girl dolls in their original boxes can take home up to $600.

Mario Kart

Launched in 1992, Mario Kart was—and still is—one of the most beloved video games of all time. The racing game brought friends together for long afternoons of fun, and original versions can be worth up to $1,000 today, sought-after for their original graphics and gaming features.

Beanie Babies

Blue beanie babies

Princess Diana Beanie Baby Bears. Sold for $10,000 via Gallery 70two (October 2016).

Beanie Babies were some of the most desired childhood animal toys during the 1990s. Special edition Beanie Babies—such as the Princess Diana memorial bear—were not only sought out by children but also by collectors. Auctions featuring the bears during the height of the craze brought top dollar.

Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt Cars

Though Hot Wheels had been around for several decades by the 1990s, the release of the signature Treasure Hunt Cars line brought on a new obsession for the cars. A limited edition line of cars with real rubber wheels and modified designs were instant hits with collectors and are still highly sought after today.

Harry Potter Books

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone vintage book

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Sold for $162,500 via Christie’s (December 2018).

While not your average toy, the first publication of the Harry Potter book series holds a special place in many hearts, and is one of the most notable childhood landmarks of the ‘90s. The first publication in 1998 only produced 500 copies, 300 of which went straight to libraries. A first edition signed by author J.K. Rowling took $162,500 at Christie’s in 2018.

Pokémon Cards

Japanese fantasy cartoon Pokémon took the United States entertainment world by storm. Not only did it comprise a television series and video game, but the coordinating card game became popular in the ‘90s and still is to this day. Trading cards were amassed by players and collectors over the years, and some are worth far more than their original value.

While rich in sentimental value, collectible toys from decades and even centuries—ago can fetch top dollar when sold in their original condition. The evolution of toys and how much they are auctioned for—from simple wind-up toys to technologically complex video games—gives us a glimpse into how the childhood experience has changed over the decades. Such cultural relics give collectors insight into our historical relationships with toys, and provide a hint at where the future of toys is headed.

SourcesThe Atlantic | Encyclopedia Britannica 123 | Mattel | TIME | Nintendo | The New York Times | Buzzfeed 12 | BBC

How valuable are you vintage Barbie dolls?

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