9 Childhood Collectibles Worth Big Bucks Today

By Mikey Rox on 3 February 2015 0 comments
Photo: Jay Malone

Remember when your mom told you that if you didn't clean up your room she was going to throw away all your stuff? Well, your stubbornness totally cost you, dude, because some of those toys and games are worth major money today. (See also: Reselling Antiques: The 5 Principles of Power Picking)

Take a look at these nine nostalgic items from your childhood and the price tags they now command, and then lament the fact that you didn't listen to your mom.

1. Buzz Lightyear 1st Generation — $205.00

The highest bid on this eBay item — a first generation Buzz Lightyear action figure with utility belt — is relatively low compared to the final price of other items on this list. The listing says that it comes with a certificate of authenticity and that it's "brand new" in its original box. "Brand new" probably isn't the best phrase to describe it — it is 20 years old, after all — so a better description might be "mint condition" or "factory sealed" if that's the case. Considering that this toy probably cost around $25 when it was released in 1995 (I'm assuming at the same time as the first Toy Story movie), this sale is a decent win for its owner. Anytime something increases in value eight times over, you can pat yourself on the back.

2. The Mummy Mystery Game — $888.99

The final sale price of The Mummy Mystery Game from Hasbro might encourage you to hoard all your board games from now on. Perhaps you can retire early on a first edition Monopoly, or pay off your credit card debt with a vintage Taboo.

3. GI Joe Air Sea Rescue Set — $909.77

GI Joe isn't just the 1980s icon we've come to know and love. Rather, the line of action figures from Hasbro has been occupying the imaginations of little boys (and girls) for more than 50 years. Over the past half-decade, Joes have changed — most notably from 12 inch figures in the 1960s to 3¾ inch figures when it was relaunched in 1982 — but interest hasn't waned. The whole gamut is worth a pretty penny these days when in good condition, but if you happen to have an old-school GI Joe Air Sea Rescue set, you're in luck. This couldn't have cost more than a few bucks at its regular retail price several decades ago, but you can thank inflation, vintage status, rarity, and eBay for its nearly $1,000 price tag today.

4. PEZ Baseball Glove, Bat, and Plate Dispenser — $950

It's no secret in my family that I'm an obsessive-compulsive PEZ collector — if I see one I don't have, I have to buy it — so this collectible's resale value makes me optimistic for the future. The starting price of this early PEZ dispenser that features several parts and no modern "feet" (a collector's dream, by the way) was $275, and quickly shot up to $950.

5. LEGO Sculptures Statue of Liberty — $2,950

I was rather surprised to learn that LEGOs are pretty big business on eBay. I mean, I know they're popular, but I wasn't aware that they were thousands-of-dollars popular. The priciest listing I came across was for a DIY Statue of Liberty sculpture (otherwise known as "3450" to LEGO-philes) that was described as unused and unopened — which was true; the actual bricks were still sealed in factory plastic — but the original box was a bit mangled. Still, this toy managed to fetch nearly $3,000, likely from someone who values playtime over presentation. If that doesn't blow your mind, there's a hefty $9K price tag for the same item (but better preserved) on Amazon. I can't definitively say that someone bought it for that price, but it's certainly listed as such. Other high-value sets include the Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower.

6. Pokemon Shadowless Unlimited Booster Box — $2,325

I never got into Pokemon — it was a little past my time — so I can't honestly say that I understand a craze that was built on trading cards. Paper trading cards, people. Seriously, is that where the world went wrong?

In any case, this factory-sealed Pokemon Shadowless Unlimited Booster Box — I have no idea what that means — went for more than $2,300. The listing description says, "Booster boxes are considered even more rare than 1st Edition and Unlimited Boxes because of the short print." Sure, okay, I believe it. I do, however, have a hard time wrapping my head around the retail value of $4,000, which the seller calls a "great investment." I'd say.

7. Webkinz — Up to $5,000

I'm not sure I've ever heard of a Webkinz before, but apparently millions of people have. These small plush toys have a playable online counterpart in Webkinz World — stay with me here — and when you enter a secret code into the portal, you can play with your pet virtually on the website. Or something like that. Anyway, these seem to be big business on eBay — even though the product line is only 10 years old — with listings spanning from lots in the $600 range, single or double animals at $500-ish, and there's someone with a lot of gall who is asking $5,000 for a "rare" lot of 85 Signature Collection animals.

8. 1978 Luke Skywalker Action Figure — $12,600

Star Wars memorabilia has been among the most consistently sought after collectible items for many years, but the vintage Luke Skywalker 12 Back-B AFA 90 action figure in mint condition (this jargon is lost on me) has to take the cake for the greatest difference in original and resale values for any action figure ever. One loyal fan shelled out more than $12,000 to relive his childhood fantasies — which I'm confident has made his family very proud.

9. Nintendo World Championship GOLD Cartridge — $100,088

Even the most entrepreneurial kids of the 80s and 90s couldn't have predicted the insane future value of Nintendo games. It was just a toy back then, and one that often caused us hassle; we all remember having to blow into the godforsaken machine to get it to work after we had it for a while. Fast forward a quarter century and it's not the actual system that's hauling in the cash, but rather some of the more rare games in the form of those iconic grey cartridges. The record-setter? The 1990 Nintendo World Championships (Gold Edition), which grabbed a whopping $100,088 from someone with too much money and even more Nintendo nostalgia. Only 26 of these cartridges exist, and they were originally given out as prizes in a contest held by Nintendo Power magazine.

Have you bought or sold a childhood collectible? What was the item, and how much did you sell it for? Let me know in the comments below.

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