A study has revealed that two thirds of the UK’s over-18s are hoarding their childhood toys in the hope that someday, they’ll make them rich – but are they actually worth anything?
A large chunk of the country’s population are stuffing their parents’ attics with their childhood valuables, predicting that they’ll be worth a bob or two in the near future.
According to the Mirror, six in ten plan to sell their plastic valuables on to make a profit, and four in ten reckon their personal collection will be worth thousands some time in the future.
But the big question is: are you more likely to be appearing on Antiques Roadshow with your collection, or Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder?
One potential danger with toy collection becoming so popular is that if two thirds of the country’s attic spaces are stuffed with the same items, it’s less likely that they’ll become of any value.
However, there’s no denying that certain gems are worth hundreds of pounds – but how do you tell the treasure from the trash?
Let us guide you through some of the most valuable childhood toys, and how much you could expect to make from them…
How to decide what to keep
If you’re faced with a mountain of childhood toys that your parents are pressuring you to get rid of, take some time to figure out what might actually be worth something one day rather than keeping (or chucking) it all.
This article is a good starting place, but do some further research based on what you have and what could be considered rare in the future.
If you’re taking this really seriously, you could even seek advice from an expert to see how your collection is faring.
Don’t forget to take a look through any collections your parents might have too, as you never know what sort of cash you could unwittingly be storing in the attic!
Top selling childhood toys
To start off with, we’re going to address what is often portrayed as the Holy Grail of valuable childhood toys – the Beanie Baby.
Over the years a number of viral articles have proclaimed these stuffed animals as being worth thousands – but are they actually worth any money?
If you’re lucky enough to own a rare one, then yes, you could be looking at a few hundred quid on Ebay, but don’t forget that the vast majority of Beanie Babies are worth little.
Even the Princess Diana memorial bear, often hailed as one of the most rare, fails to attract much attention on Ebay these days.
There are a couple of golden gems which can fetch upwards of £1,000 – the Employee Beanie Baby, for example. However, only 300 of these were made (exclusively for Ty employees), so getting your hands on one won’t be easy.
This list gives you a good idea of which bears are the most rare and will be worth the most money.
If you’ve got a Humphrey the Camel or the (Royal Blue) Peanut Elephant, for example, you might be in with a chance of selling them for a couple of hundred pounds.
But watch out for stuff like tags and whether the bear is first or second generation, as these will affect the price you can expect.
What you’re looking for here are pre-1998 Polly Pockets – back when they were really tiny (and probably a choking hazard).
Like with a lot of things, exactly how much you could make depends on what condition the item is in.
Two Polly Pocket sets (The Little Mermaid and Alice in Wonderland) recently sold on Ebay for £1,421 – but they were in mint condition and still fully packaged.
Assuming that you didn’t keep all your toys unopened in their original boxes, jewel cases can still fetch between £10 – 30, but rarer ones can go up to £450!
Try bundling a few together to ask for a bit more money (and save on postage).
The most expensive Pokémon card ever sold was the Pikachu Illustrator Card for £44,000 – only 30 were made and they were awarded as prizes for an illustration competition.
There are some other rare ones to look out for that could be worth a few bob. A first edition Holographic Shadowless Charizard is worth around £9,000 for example, and a first edition Shining Charizard can fetch around £2,600.
However, these cards are incredibly rare and that vast majority of Pokémon cards aren’t worth a lot. The first edition cards (printed 1999-2000) are definitely the ones to look out for, but here’s a quick list of some key features which could suggest your card is worth something
• Each card will have a rarity symbol in the bottom right corner. Circles and diamonds are common, but a star, star H or three stars mean the card is extra rare
• Holographic cards tend to be worth more, or ‘reverse holo’ cards (ones that are shiny around the picture, but not on the picture itself)
• Cards with errors weirdly are the most rare and valuable. Look out for ‘shadowless’ cards – cards where the shadow around the picture box is missing
• Look out for extra symbols or words after the card name – things like ‘ex’, a star or ‘LEGEND’ tend to mean the card is more valuable
• First edition cards are good money makers – look out for a number one inside a circle
• The collector number is in the bottom right – a collector number which is higher than the number in the set overall, 65/64 for example, suggests the card is a special edition.
If your cards don’t have any of these special features, try selling them off as a bulk set instead.
Remember those super annoying furry creatures that used to talk in gibberish? (Before you inevitably removed the batteries to shut them up).
If you’ve got an original 1998 Furby, it could be worth a fair bit, especially if it’s limited edition or in it’s original packaging.
Most sell for between £10 – £30 on Ebay, but we’ve seen a rare multicoloured version go for £200.
Fish yours out, check it’s still working and take a look at this 1998 Furby value guide for an idea of how much yours could be worth.
Yes, your old water pistols could be worth some actual cash.
Certain models of Super Soaker sell from some serious money. The mighty Monster XL regularly fetches £130 – £200, for example, while the classic Super Soaker 50 is worth around £30 – £50.
More common models probably won’t get you much, but it’s also worth checking out Ebay for any new trends or demands.
If you’ve still got your original Tamagotchi (from 1996-1997) certain versions can fetch a fair bit.
Unfortunately, the big bucks are reserved for those unopened, still-in-their-box ones, which can get around £50-100, while most opened ones will only be worth around £10 – £20.
However, look out for special or rare editions, as these can still fetch £80 – £100 in some cases! Look out for white and red ones, or themed ones.
The slightly less well known Digimon Tamagotchis are also worth a fair bit, typically selling for £30 – £60 on Ebay, and up to £100 for rare editions.
Just like with Pokémon, some of the most rare Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are worth a fair bit these days.
A quick way of establishing whether your card is worth anything is by using Card Mavin – a price guide site for collector cards like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!.
Since there are normally various versions of the same card, you’re better off typing in the unique card number which can be found in the bottom right corner of the picture. This will bring up a list of similar cards and an average selling price.
Narrow this down by selecting the cards most like yours (holographic ones, for example), and the card value will adjust accordingly.
There are two ways to go about selling your old Lego. If you have large bundles of random mismatched pieces, you can sell these by the Kilo.
Zapper buy Lego for £2.50 per 0.5kg for example, and Music Magpie will pay £2 per half kilo. The pieces need to be clean and in good condition, and they need to be genuine Lego blocks as opposed to Megablocks or Knex, but complete sets are irrelevant here.
If you’ve got a bundle of parts from a specific set or range, you can expect a bit more (up to £50 for a decent amount) and you can get more than £100 for a large bundle of mini figures.
However, complete sets are where the real money lies. Some of the Star Wars sets can fetch thousands, such as the Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon which has sold for £3,800 (bought for £342).
The Taj Mahal set could also get you over £1,000, while the Cafe Corner is apparently worth over £2,000.
These sets aren’t even that old either; many of them are from the mid-noughties. If you are lucky enough to own one of these valuable sets, you might want to think about using a specialist site like Brick Picker as opposed to Ebay, to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Happy Meal toys
McDonald’s Happy Meal toys are never as good these days as they were in the good old nineties, right?
Some of the most popular and collectable sets can fetch you some cash today (but we’re not talking loads, unfortunately).
A complete set of the 101 Dalmatians toys from 1996 could get you around £50 – or more, if you’ve also got the fold-out display box.
Toys like the Teenie Beanie Babies from 1997 or the McFurbies from 1999 won’t get you much more than a few quid, but larger sets can fetch a bit more.
Disney VHS tapes
Loads of VHS tapes are quite valuable but these days, but most are probably from your parents’ era rather than yours.
Have a raid of their video stash and see if they have any rare ones – films which never made it to DVD are usually the most valuable.
You’ll often hear lots of hype around Disney VHS tapes – particularly the Black Diamond Editions – but while people often ask for hundreds on Ebay, they rarely fetch more than a couple of quid.
Even the infamous edition of The Little Mermaid (which was banned because one of the castle turrets looked a bit too similar to a certain male body part) only sold for £8.48 on Ebay most recently.
Your best bet is to sell your Disney VHS tapes as a set, but don’t be expecting large amounts of money for them!
Harry Potter books
If you’ve got one of the first edition Harry Potter books at home, you could be sat on a small fortune.
The Holy Grail of HP books is a first edition hardcover copy of the very first book – Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone – from 1997. Only 500 were published (and 300 went to libraries), but they’re easy to spot as they’re credited to Joanne Rowling, as opposed to J.K Rowling.
These are priced at a whopping £28,850 – £39,700!
Advance proof copies can also fetch £5,000+ and first editions of the deluxe version from 1999 are also priced between £320 – £1,800. Paperback copies of the first edition also reach four figures.
First editions of the next couple of books in the series are also worth quite large sums of money (we’re talking £6,500 for The Chamber of Secrets), but once you hit books 4 – 5, only copies signed by Rowling herself have much value.
The classic games console from the early nineties can make around £60 on Ebay these days, and maybe a bit more if you’ve got some games to throw in.
Those that are still in their sealed boxes make the most – up to around £250!
Even your Game Boy Colour from 1998 could get you £40 – £60, or a little bit more if you’ve got a rare version.
Mario Kart 64
The Nintendo 64 was a staple past time growing up in the late nineties.
Your old game cartridges could be worth a fair bit now, especially the rarer games.
However, even one of the most common games, Mario Kart 64, can earn you around £30 on Ebay, or £40 – £50 if you still have the original box.
iPods might no longer be the essential gadgets they once were, but some of the first generation devices are worth a pretty penny now.
If you have a first generation iPod classic from 2001, you could make anywhere between £100 – £200 on Ebay, depending on its condition.
Even second generation iPod classics can go for between £50 – £100, so it’s worth hunting them out.
First editions of the Beano are really rare, but if you manage to get your hands on one you could rake in some serious moolah.
If you or an older family member have a soft spot for Dennis the Menace (first editions are from 1938), get checking through your collection – one collector sold a first edition issue for £17,000 last year!
Beano annuals are also becoming increasingly valuable, so make sure you keep yours in mint condition – you never know how much they could be worth one day.
Have you made some serious cash from selling on your childhood toys? Let us know in the comments!
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