This post was updated on August 2021
Holding onto cherished toys from your childhood doesn’t have to make you a pack-rat. What you should know before tossing anything out, however, is that some of your old toys may be extremely valuable to collectors and toy aficionados across the world.
Old toys offer sentimental value and let us day-dream about those simpler days of our youth, but most of us have old toys that we want to part with, if only to declutter our homes.
In other cases, you may be on the hunt to get some extra cash for your old toys. We understand that all your toys are precious to you, but the fact of the matter is that some old collectible toys are more valuable than others.
Before you sell your old toys, make sure that you have a realistic idea of how valuable they are. Distinguish which toys have significant monetary value, and which are more rich in nostalgic value. Why give up your favourite action figure at a garage sale when it could be worth thousands?
Muzeum isn’t just a place to sell gold in Toronto. We also buy a number of other items like antiques and collectables — including old toys.
Below we'll look at which toys may be hidden treasures that could fetch you a decent return.
You’d be surprised by some of the most expensive toy collectibles on the market today – because you may even have one of your own!
Transformer toys are easily one of the most valuable action figures on the market. These collectible toys are designed with the ability to “transform” from one object to another; i.e. from a plane to a robot (or mecha) and back again. They’ve been a popular toy for kids since the 1980s and have only gained in popularity because of the movies.
While a number of these toys exist, there are rare finds that will fetch a hefty amount of money. For example, an unopened box of a vintage Optimus Prime action figure can sell for $2,000 on eBay.
Who would have thought that these fun candy-toy combinations could turn into a collectable toy wanted by collectors? Pez has been around since 1927, so there are a lot of opportunities to find a rare item that could get you a pretty penny. The superhero PEZ dispensers made before 1989 are among some of the most popular ones and can be sold for a couple of hundred dollars.
The American Girl doll line came out in 1986 by the Pleasant Company and was designed to resemble real life girls with actual stories to accompany them. They were notoriously expensive and could cost $114 without the addition of accessories. If you or your parents invested in the right doll, however, you could be earning your cashback and more. A doll from 1950 named Molly McIntire is particularly valuable and can sell for $5,000.
The My Little Pony toys and TV shows were popular in the 80s and 90s. Nowadays, however, the brand has seen a recent resurgence of popularity due to the revamping of the franchise with theMy Little Pony: Friendship Is MagicTV show. Though it’s a total revamp of the original design, many collectors are now interested in the older, original vintage toys. A rare pony that’s in perfect condition like Rapunzel can sell for $900.
The Care Bears was a popular animated TV series in the 80s and 90s. A number of fans of the show have grown up now and are nostalgic for their beloved bears. In other words, if you kept any of your Care Bears toys from your childhood, you might be able to sell them now for a decent amount.
The plush bear stuffed animals have become a valuable collectible toy that’s a particular favourite among collectors. Recently, a whole collection of Care Bears plush sold for $7,500.
The character Strawberry Shortcake first appeared on a Laurel Greeting card in 1973, but since then it’s spawned multiple television series and a bunch of accompanying merchandise. The original Strawberry Shortcake dolls are now considered to be highly sought after collectables, with a vintage boxed Strawberry Shortcake Banana Twirl Berrykin doll selling for $500.
Star Wars has held a special place in the hearts of many fans, so of course, any rare collectables related to the franchise will be valued favourably. In 2013, toy specialist Vectis Auctions sold a Jawa figurine with a rare vinyl cape for £10,200, as the Daily Mail writes.
The older the item, the more it’ll be worth – action figures from the 70s and 80s can go for thousands of dollars, especially if they are still in their original packaging. When Japanese designer Nigo sold his Star Wars Collection in a Sotheby’s auction (aptly named ‘The Return of NIGO’), the whole thing earned more than $500,000. A single item from the set – a 1978 Luke Skywalker figurine still in its box – sold for $25,000.
It’s probably not surprising to hear that there are collectors of Barbie dolls and that they can fetch a lot of money at auction. Since Barbie first hit stores in 1959 its creator, Mattel, has created a number of special editions. The rarest of all and the most expensive so far is Stefano Canturi’s Barbie – a one of a kind make that sold for $302,500.
“Hot Wheels Leading the Way!” may pop into your head when thinking about this popular brand of die-cast toy cars. Though it is as old as 1968, the brand didn’t become a huge competitor in the toy car scene until 1997, which is why it’s so commonly known and remembered. Even to this day, the brand is a popular choice for kids – but it’s also caught the attention of collectors looking for vintage or rare toy models like the “red-line” variations that had a red stripe on the tire.
There’s also the 1969 Hot Wheels Beach Bomb rear-loading Volkswagen in pink that sold for an incredible $125,000 at auction. This one of a kind model is just an example of what collectors are willing to pay for Hot Wheels toys.
You may also be familiar with the Dinky diecast toy cars that were made in England from 1934 to 1979, as well as the Corgi car toys that were introduced in Wales in 1956 and continue to this day under Hornby Hobbies’ ownership. Older, rare models of these toy cars can be worth a lot to collectors, and go for as much as $160 for an item that’s in good condition and in its original packaging.
Pokémon has seen a huge resurgence since the release of Pokémon Go. Even before then this franchise has continued to run strong with a TV series, video game series, as well as a trading card game that has new releases on the regular. 90s kids who grew up on Pokémon and collected the cards, games, and toys, can now sell some of these items for a decent amount.
Collectors young and old are particularly interested in the Pokémon Trading Card Game franchise and the cards that have been in circulation since 1996. The most expensive Pokémon trading card sold to date is the limited edition “Pikachu Illustrator” that was purchased for an astonishing amount of $54,970 at auction.
Not all old toys are made equal. There are certain types and categories of toys that, inevitably, hold more value than others.
Vintage toys will often be the most lucrative collectibles. For example, tin toys from the turn of the last century can be quite high in demand, even if they are from the 1920s.
Toy trains continue to attract interest from buyers nostalgic for the classic toys of the past. We learned that a one-off coal-powered model of the hand-made Flying Scotsman — reportedly crafted in the 1930s — was sold for $50,000.
Why would old toys be so attractive to buyers? Glen Chapman, a toy specialist at C&T Auctions, told The Daily Mail: "It's all about nostalgia. People who grew up in the Seventies and Eighties are probably married, have children and well-paid jobs now.
"They have the money and want something to remind them of their childhood."
In the automotive category, who could forget Hot Wheels? Those iconic toy cars are rare these days, and can be worth thousands. eBay experts say the most valuable Hot Wheels car is the Volkswagen Beach Bomb, which can sell for more than $125,000 US.
Don't overlook the simple toys, much like Hot Wheels. Look at the photo below of the "Fisher Price No. 740 Push Cart Pete Toy". It isn't fancy or complicated, and cost 50 cents in the year it was released in 1936. When it was sold at auction, its final sale price was $8,000 US. Wow!
First-edition action figures and dolls can be lucrative for their owners. A first-edition Barbie Doll might be hiding in your closet, and if it is in mint condition it could attract bids as high as $23,000.
Old toys might come in the form of board games, and original games can fetch a decent return. For example, an original cloth version of Monopoly made in 1933 sold for $192,000 in 2011.
The Wall Street Journal reports that demand for vintage board games linked to Universal Studios monster movies of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s has boomed in recent years, inspired in part by rising interest in other collectibles from the same era. "Games in perfect condition featuring Dracula, Frankenstein or the Wolfman can fetch $1,000," WSJ states.
Other toys that could put some cash in your pocket include:
You may not even realize you have a rare collectible toy until you go to sell it. Before you sell your old toys, there are a few ways you can try to assess their value yourself.
It's important to keep toys in great condition if you decide to pursue valuations or auctions or even yard sales. Dust off the gunk, keep the toys away from pets and direct sunlight, and wash them lightly with water and soap. If you have a board game like Monopoly, ensure all of its pieces and items are in the box.
If your collectible toy is dated and in good condition, the better chance you have that they aren’t made anymore.
Demand: Is your old toy discontinued? Then that means there are limited amounts of this toy in circulation, which ups its value substantially. A lot of collectors specifically seek rare toys.
Condition: There’s a reason why your mom made you keep that old special edition Barbie in a box. If your old collectible toy is in mint condition or even unused, collectors will be more likely to spend some hefty money to add it to their collection.
What many don’t realize is that old toys can be worth thousands if they are a rare model that collectors are looking for and they’re cared for properly.
After reading this list you might be surprised to see that some of your favourite childhood toys are actually one of the most expensive toy collectibles. Remember that even the rarest items sell for higher if they are in good condition, and even more so if in their original packaging.
Feel free to stop by Muzeum and ask us how to preserve vintage collectibles so that you can get the best price for your items when you decide to sell them. Muzeum offers a best price guarantee for your items, so if you have any rare toys then be sure to bring them by for a free evaluation.
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