TOYS from our childhood bring back feelings of nostalgia and (hopefully) happy memories, but what if they’re also worth a lot of money?
The Sun has taken a look at our favourite toy brands from the past few decades, and some are selling for eye-watering prices on eBay.
According to 21st century collectables expert, Tracy Martin, the British market for vintage toys is one of the best in the world.
Luckily, it’s possible for you to get in on the action – simply check the attic, raid your parents’ basement or go through your little ones’ toys for any secret treasures.
If you spot something you believe could be worth more than you bought it for, do your research and then consider selling it.
If the toy is in good shape and you have the original packaging, it adds about 30 per cent to the toy’s value, Ms Martin of Collectablesexpert.co.uk, told The Sun.
How to spot if you have a hidden treasure at home
THE Sun asked collectables expert Tracy Martin for her best tips on how you can get in on the action. This is what she said:
- Always buy from reputable sellers: Either through specialist auctioneers who have experts in that field or if buying online check feedback to ensure the seller is genuine and see if the seller can give you confirmation on where the item originated from
- Ask questions: This is important when buying, especially about condition as this is paramount. So ask, for example, with Barbie dolls if there is any greening to the face, chew marks to fingers and toes and whether all the hair plugs are still in tack
- Do your research: If you have something at home you feel may be worth money then ask questions, research on the internet and ensure you know exactly what you have before selling. Auction houses are happy to give free valuations and are experts in this area. Also check sold prices on eBay to get a feel for an item’s value
But she added: “As it’s more about the actual item itself, it’s still possible to sell it even if you don’t have the original packaging.”
The Sun has taken a look at toys from popular brands including Barbie, Beanie Babies, Furby, Game Boy, My Little Pony and Polly Pocket and we found items that have sold for up to £1,190 on eBay recently.
Below are the toys that sold for the highest price for each brand.
Pokemon Game Boy game (sealed) – £1,188
Old tech is booming in resale value as people born in the 80s and 90s look to relive their childhood.
When the original grey Game Boy console was launched by Nintendo in Japan in 1989 it cost £67.40.
Since then, it has sold over 100 million units and there are several hundreds of games for players to enjoy.
Some fans are now selling the consoles on eBay, but it’s those selling the actual games that are making the most money.
At the end of last year, an unopened Pokemon Red Version game for Game Boy fetched £1,187.87 on eBay.
The item was still in its original packaging and described by the seller as a “rare chance to own a coveted collectable”.
My Little Pony – £786
My Little Pony launched in 1982 following the original My Pretty Pony toy range, which rolled out in 1981.
The franchise has since dominated the toy industry, getting its own line of movies, books, TV series and even a cult male following called Bronies.
In fact, the demand is so great that Smyths this week began selling original My Little Pony toys for £9.
So there’s no surprise that the ponies are making their owners a lot of money.
A rare My Little Pony from 1983 sold for a whopping £786 on eBay in January this year after attracting 26 bids.
The toy called Firefly was part of the Pegasus family, and said to be in “very good condition” and had only had one owner prior to the sale.
First generation ponies are usually worth the most, according to Ms Martin.
These have markings or symbols on their sides, such as balloons, stars or fruits. Experts say they’ll also have the date of issue stamped on their hoof.
Polly Pocket – £728
Polly Pocket toys were initially designed by Chris Wiggs in 1983 for his daughter, and he used a powder compact to house the dolls at the start.
The dolls were then bought by Bluebird Toys in the late 80s, and after that the brand was redesigned and expanded with new accessories and characters.
It even got its own TV series, but eventually died down in the noughties when toy giant Mattel took over.
The toys originally sold for around £10 in their heyday – but prices have soared thanks to a hunger for vintage toys, so if you still have your old Bluebird collection from your childhood, it could be worth a small fortune.
One Polly Pocket blossom brooch made in 1997 during the Bluebird era sold for £728 on eBay in November last year.
It was still in its original packaging, and the sellers said the toy could be used as a real brooch.
The Polly Pocket toy range was completely re-launched again last year, with the look of Polly and her friends updated for kids (and possibly the nostalgic adult) today.
New Polly Pocket dolls are slightly bigger than the old design, with the original dolls standing less than an inch tall and bending in the middle.
Barbie – £453
Mattel released the first Barbie doll in 1959, and ever since there have been thousands of different designs.
But they have always been a hit with collectors.
The most expensive Barbie doll ever sold at an auction was a custom-made one, and it sold for £192,000 in 2010, according to Ms Martin.
Apart from the doll and her outfit, it came with a necklace with a pink diamond in it.
Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to make this much money from your Barbie doll on eBay, but there are still opportunities to rake in cash.
One pre-owned Barbie doll, which came in her original swimsuit and blue shoes, sold on eBay for just over £450 in November last year.
The model was from before the Twist ‘n Turn era, and it was made in Japan in the 1960s.
If you have a lot of Barbie outfits, you’re in luck too, says Ms Martin. This is because people pay high prices for the doll’s clothes and accessories.
“People will pay more money for a really beautiful 1950s outfit than the later dolls,” Ms Martin said. “People love fashion and they love the costume.”
Furby – £104
The fluffy owl-like creatures who spoke “Furbish” were the must-have toy in Christmas 1999.
Furby went on to sell 40million of the electronic pets in just three years, and its speaking capabilities were translated into 24 languages.
The toy had a brief resurgence in 2012 but has since fallen out of favour.
But if you have the toys hidden away at home, you can still make money from them.
One lilac and green Furby from 2006 sold for over £100 on eBay in December.
It had previously been used, but it came with the original packaging, although it was a bit damaged.
Furbys made after 1999 were manufactured by Tiger Electronics and they’re the ones that could see you rake in £80 to £100, up to a maximum of £150, according to Ms Martin.
Beanie Babies – £69
Kids became young collectors thanks to the phenomena that was Beanie Babies in the 1990s.
The plush animals were filled with plastic beans and each featured a special name tag, while there were also numerous special edition bears.
Like all good crazes, most Beanie Babies are now residing in a black bag in the loft, but you can still make money from them.
One Beanie Baby with a peace sign and with the tag still on sold for £68.87 on eBay last month.
Other Beanie Babies that could make you money are the Princess Diana ones (those can see you make around £100 to £200) as well as prototypes that were given out to employees, according to Ms Martin.
But the latter were never sold publicly, so the chances that you’ll have one of those in your basement are slim.
What you need to look out for when selling things on eBay
HERE’S what you need to know before you put your stuff on auction:
Always set a reserve price – Starting with a low price will attract bidders but you don’t want to accidentally sell your item for less than it’s worth.
Watch out for seller’s fees - You can list up to 20 things for free every month but there is a 10 per cent charge if you sell - including postage and packaging.
Set the right amount for postage and packaging - The auction site offers set postage fees based on what sellers with similar products charged but these might not be the best option for you. Use the Royal Mail price finder to get an idea of what it will cost you.
Close your auction on Sunday – According to eBay, the website is at its busiest on Sunday evenings so try to end your auction then to get the best price.
Sell stuff for free on other sites - You can avoid eBay’s fees altogether by selling your things on classified sites, like Gumtree, Preloved or Facebook Marketplace.
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