Few people who were around during the 1990’s wouldn’t remember the iconic toys of the time. Your personal favorite may vary, but most of us are familiar with Beanie Babies, Tamagotchi, Polly Pockets and more. The best part of these novelties is that they are so iconic to the time — the nostalgia is undeniable.
After storing toys like these in your storage unit for decades, however, an item like this becomes a vintage collectible rather than a new craze. It’s now a question of worth for many amateur collectors. So, are your vintage collectible toys worth money today? We decided to dig into the data and figure that out.
10 Collectible Toys Thought to Be Worth Money
— Cardboard Icons (@cardboardicons) June 27, 2013
To determine the change in value for these kinds of collectible toys, we first compiled a list of those that were expected to gain value as well as those that reportedly did unexpectedly. The 90s favorites that made our list include:
- Pokemon cards
- Baseball cards
- Happy Meal toys
- Vintage cereal boxes
- Beanie Babies
- Polly Pockets
- Super Soakers
- Graphic novels
- Nintendo NES Games
How We Determined Their Actual Worth
We used data from recent online sales of each toy to find the average sales price per each. Then we compared that sales price to the original price of the item and its original purchase year. We were left with some compelling insights about which items did gain considerable value and end up being worth something. Some even had a better “return” than the stock market!
So How Much Are These Collectible Toys Worth Today?
Contrary to recent press about Beanie Babies and Polly Pockets selling for thousands of dollars, most of these items sell for less than $50 on average. In fact, a baseball card was the item that saw the highest jump in value (+$34.00) from its original purchase in 1985. Following close behind are a 1995 purchase of a Polly Pocket (+$26.03) and a 1999 purchase of a Super Soaker (+$25.19). These are the top three collectibles toys worth money based on our research.
All of the collectibles analyzed saw an overall increase in selling price except for Nintendo NES games. After their original purchase of $50.00 in 1990, the value dropped by $30.48 to $19.52 on average.
So your Tamagotchis, Beanie Babies, and Polly Pockets may not be worth as much today as you expected, but most of them would still make you some money!
Which Collectible Toy Had the Best Overall Return?
Seeing the change in dollar value for each item is compelling, but we also thought it would be important to analyze the percentage change overall.
When analyzing it this way, baseball cards remained in the top spot at a whopping 3400% overall difference in value. Pokemon cards and vintage cereal boxes dethroned Polly Pockets and Super Soakers for the second and third spot, however. Respectively, they saw a 2837.50% and 1153.50% increase in value.
Again, Nintendo NES games were the only item to see a negative figure. All of the collectible toys analyzed would be worth at least 45.8% more money today than the original purchase price besides an NES game, which would sell for 61.0% less on average.
All in all, we found that favorites like Tamagotchis and Beanie Babies are worth a significant amount more today, percentage-wise, than they were in the 90’s. Chances are, you could turn a good profit selling your collectible toys!
Which Old School Favorite Was the Best “Investment?”
You’ve spent time and money collecting toys you presumed might be worth something someday. So was it worth it? To help us put into context which collectible toys could actually be deemed a “good investment,” we took a look at the annual return of each collectible, too.
For a point of reference, we decided to compare these percentages to the average return that investors get from the stock market (7.0%).
Interestingly, this was the first ranking in our analysis that didn’t land baseball cards at #1. Instead, Pokemon took the top spot with a 149.3% average annual return. Six of the ten items analyzed ended up with a better return than the stock market, including Beanie Babies (13.9%) and Polly Pockets (7.5%).
Unfortunately for sellers of Super Soakers (6.6%), Tamagotchis (5.3%) and graphic novels (2.5%), their return was less than the average market investor’s. Even the collectibles with positive changes in value didn’t end up being great “investments!”
Here are all of the metrics summarized for each item we analyzed, ordered by original purchase year:
Still, it’s hard to put a dollar figure on the nostalgia from these prized collectibles!
What About Storing Your Collectibles?
Potential profit aside, some of us just want to hold onto our old school favorites.
With treasured items like collectibles or family heirlooms, it is important to store belongings in a proper environment. To make sure you’re taking care of your beloved collectibles, check out some of these helpful storage guides.