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 in the future.
One potential danger with toy collections 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 £100s – 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…
Which toys are worth money and worth keeping?
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!
Most valuable toys from the 1990s and 2000s
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 anything?
How much are Beanie Babies worth?
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 very little.
Even the Princess Diana memorial bear, often hailed as one of the rarest, fails to attract much attention on eBay these days.
There are a couple of 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 rarest and will be worth the most money.
If you’ve got a Humphrey the Camel or (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).
As with a lot of things, exactly how much you could make depends on what condition the item is in.
How much are Polly Pockets worth?
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 in an illustration competition – and chances of you having one are very slim.
How much are Pokémon cards worth?
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 the 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 are the rarest and most 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)? Turns out they could be worth keeping after all!
How much are Furbies worth?
If you’ve got an original 1998 Furby it could be worth a fair bit, especially if it’s limited edition or in its 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 on eBay for an idea of how much yours could be worth.
Yes, your old water pistols could be worth some actual cash.
How much are Super Soakers worth?
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 an original Tamagotchi (from 1996–1997) certain versions can fetch a fair bit.
How much are Tamagotchis worth?
Unfortunately, the big bucks are reserved for those unopened, still-in-their-box Tamagotchis, 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.
As with Pokémon, some of the rarest Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are worth a fair bit these days.
How much are Yu-Hi-Oh! cards worth?
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 card. 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.
How much is Lego worth?
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 back in the day, right?
Some of the most popular and collectable sets can fetch you some cash today (but we’re not talking loads, unfortunately).
How much are Happy Meals toys worth?
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.
How much are Disney videotapes worth?
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 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!
While you’re at it, why not try flogging some of your old CDs, games and DVDs for extra cash? Or check out info on the top secret Disney Vault in our guide to making money.
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.
How much are Harry Potter books worth?
The Holy Grail of HP books is a first edition hardcover copy of the very first book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’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 the fourth or fifth books, only copies signed by Rowling herself have much value.
If you’re old enough to remember handheld gaming before it was in colour, you might just have a classic Game Boy lying around – and it could be worth a fair few quid too.
How much are Game Boys worth?
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 pastime for anyone growing up in the late nineties.
How much is Mario Kart 64 worth?
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 may no longer be the essential gadgets they once were, but some of the first generation devices are worth a pretty penny now.
How much are iPod Classics worth?
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.
My Little Pony
My Little Pony was first launched in the 1980s and is still an enduring childhood classic to this day.
Recently a rare ‘Firefly’ pony from 1983 went for £786 on eBay, but others are worth a fair bit too!
How much are My Little Ponies worth?
Like with most of these toys, what you’re looking for is first editions or rare breeds. These often have a date of issue on their hooves, so keep your eyes peeled for those.
Mimic the twinkle eye Unicorn pony is said to be the most valuable as it had a really small production run – one in good condition could fetch you as much as £150.
Mail order ponies are also pretty valuable. These were ponies that you could send off for with proofs of purchase from your other ponies, making them much rarer.
Barbie dolls have been around since the 1950s, and millionss of children grew up collecting dolls, clothes and pink Barbie cars.
The problem is that most of the ‘collector’ Barbie dolls were expensive to buy originally and were most often bought as investments by collectors, rather than as toys for kids.
But that doesn’t mean your set is completely worthless.
How much are Barbies worth?
As you might expect, the most valuable Barbie dolls are the oldest ones – ones from the 1950s and 60s can fetch tens of thousands of pounds!
Limited edition, special occasion Barbies are also a solid bet – the Pink Jubilee Barbie doll to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary, or the Karl Lagerfeld doll to celebrate the iconic fashion designer are listed as two of the valuable.
Basically, any Barbie dolls which aren’t your bog standard could be worth cash. And don’t forget that people pay for Barbie clothes too!
Got the eBay selling bug? Here’s a list of 28 things you can make money from selling on eBay right now. Don’t forget to swat up on the best techniques for selling on eBay before you begin.