There aren't many good things about getting older: you can't drink as much as you used to, you start to ache in places you didn't think you could ache before, and you start forgetting things. But, there is a silver lining to this depressingly gray cloud—your old crap might finally be worth something. If you're the kind of person who happened to hang onto action figures, video games, or dolls for decades in their original wrapping, you might be sitting on hundreds of dollars worth of eBay auction returns.
Tread lightly, those of you who hope to strike it rich by selling the treasured keepsakes of your past. Just because you have a bunch of old shit in your basement doesn't mean that you've struck it rich. Rarity, condition, and complete chance have to come together to create the perfect storm that raises the value of your childhood toys above what you paid for them, let alone returns the kind of haul that could pay off your student loans. Sometimes you see items listed for thousands on eBay:
But that doesn't mean it's selling for anything close to that much:
Here's how much you can really expect for all of that old junk in your trunk or storage space.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figures
Most valuable toy: Devilgotchi (approx. $400)
Original price: $17.99
Selling for now: $18-$200
Some Tamagotchis go for upwards of $300, but odds are that yours doesn't. There were over 40 versions (lines) of Tamagotchi released, and each line featured a variety of colors and variations. Only about 20 Tamagotchis are listed at over $100 on Amazon. Of the 79 million Tamagotchis sold, yours would have to be one of the rarest models to be worth the effort of resale.
Due to the large number of Tamagotchis available and the relatively small number of hardcore fans, there seems to be a lack of consensus as to how much rare Tamas are actually worth. TamaTalk, a Tamagotchi fan site, has a number of forum threads dedicated to determining a fair price for a vintage Tamagotchi.
It's generally agreed upon that the Devilgotchi is the rarest Tama, though there is disagreement as to what the Devilgotchi is worth. A recent eBay sale went for $360:
And an unsold listing was marked at $589.
This tells us that the best guess for Devilgotchi value is somewhere in the neighborhood of $400.
Most valuable toy: Bluebird Series Polly Pockets ($350)
Original price: $10-20
Selling for now: $10-$300
To have any significant worth, your Polly Pockets will probably have to meet a pretty precise package of parameters (sorry, couldn't resist the alliteration). As with many other popular vintage toys, eBay has drafted some guidelines for determining the worth of vintage Polly Pockets. Polly Pockets that go for hundreds of dollars were manufactured before 1998 when Mattel took over production from Bluebird. Bluebird manufactured 350 sets over the decade that they were in the Polly Pocket business, and only a handful command more than a hundred bucks. So, your vintage Polly's could fetch you something like this:
If your Polly Pocket appraisal game needs help, consult OnlyPollyPocket, the leading site for all things Polly.
Power Rangers Toys
Most valuable toy: 14K Gold Power Rangers Lost Galaxy Megazord ($1,000)
Original price: $5-$50
Selling for now: $1-$400
The 14K Gold Lost Galaxy Megazord is by far the most valuable Power Rangers toy right now. There are said to be less than a dozen in existence. One recorded sale last year placed the toy's value at about $800:
The Power Rangers fanatics at Ranger Board generally agree that the market value for one of these Zords (robotic war machines used by the Rangers to fight enemies) in mint condition is somewhere around $1000.
Generally, Zords are the most valuable Power Rangers toys. However, the other rare Zords only go for up to a few hundred dollars. Figures of the actual Power Rangers tend to cap out around a couple hundred bucks. The White/Green Fliphead action figure, one of the rarest non-Zord figures, sells for somewhere between $100 and $200.
Video Game Consoles
American Girls Dolls
Most valuable toy: Punchers a.ka. Pinchers: 1st Generation ($2000)
Original price: $5
Selling for now: 80 cents-$800
You can log onto eBay and find Beanie Babies listed for thousands of dollars. Unfortunately for those of you hoarding Beanies to use as currency during the end times, this is generally little more than wishful thinking. While there are some insane listings for the legendary Princess Diana bear, Beanie experts like those at LoveMyBeanies.com have a different opinion. If you evaluate Beanies by their sale prices and not by their list prices, the Princess Bear comes up short.
There are some Beanies that are actually worth more than the beans stuffed inside of them. LoveMyBeanies ranks the first generation Beanie "Punchers" as the most valuable Beanie with a recent sale price of almost $2,000. Another site, Beanie Babies HQ, has Punchers valued at over $4,500 and has Peanut the Royal Blue Elephant valued a bit higher at over $5,000, but they don't provide sale data to support that number.