Many of us remember a favourite childhood toy – whether that was a Barbie, a Polly Pocket set, or a Hot Wheels car – and some are still holding onto beloved playthings stashed away somewhere.
Those who do have old toys in the attic could be in luck as they could now be worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds, new research has revealed.
Liberty Games sourced a selection of the most popular toys throughout the years and their original price. In order to establish their value now, it analysed ‘Buy Now’ prices on eBay searching each toy from the same year as the original value, with the highest price used to establish their potential gain.
Of course, it is worth noting that while sellers may have listed the toys with a high Buy Now tag, that doesn’t guarantee anyone will actually pay it and it doesn’t equate to a sold price.
Liberty Games found an original Hot Wheels car from 1968, similar to this, now selling for £434.36 – it would have cost the equivalent of £0.48 new.
1. Hot Wheels toy car from 1968 – up 90,625%
The toy that has seen the biggest percentage increase in price from its release date to now was a Hot Wheels car.
Toy cars are still a firm favourite with children and Liberty Games found an original Hot Wheels car from 1968 now selling for £434.36 – a staggering percentage increase of 90,625 per cent from its initial pre-decimal price that was the equivalent of £0.48 back then.
A Barbie doll from 1959, similar to this one, is now being sold online for £607.81 – a 24,867% increase
2. Barbie from 1959 – up 24,867%
Another iconic toy that is still popular with children today is Barbie and the vintage dolls have seen the second highest percentage increase after the Hot Wheels cars.
An original Barbie that cost the equivalent of £2.43 in 1959 could now set you back £607.81 – a 24,867 per cent increase.
Cabbage Patch Kids, similar to this, are now worth the most out of all the toys, with one selling for £2,109.88
3. Cabbage Patch Kid from 1978 – up 10,300%
The research found an original Cabbage Patch Kids doll from 1978 was now worth substantially more, with a doll being sold online for a massive £2,109.88.
This makes it the toy that is worth the most money on the list. New it would have been £20.29, which was still a lot of money at the time, giving a huge increase of 10,300 per cent.
Original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures are worth substantially more than their original cost and one was found at a 7,089% premium
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle from 1987 – up 7,089%
Another nostalgic favourite includes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures which saw the fourth highest percentage increase.
A toy from 1987 costing £4.87, could now be bought for £350 – a 7,089 percentage increase.
A Rainbow Brite Doll, similar to this, was found at 6,681 per cent more than its original price
5. Rainbow Brite Doll from 1980 – up 6,681%
A Rainbow Brite Doll from 1980 was found selling for £385.18 online. This means the brightly coloured doll is potentially now worth 6,681 per cent more than their original price of £5.68.
Originally priced at just £16.23, a Transformer similar to this was found online for a staggering £850
6. Transformer from 1980 – up 5,137%
A Transformer action figure from 1980 came sixth on the list, originally priced at just £16.23, the toy can now be bought online for a staggering £850 – a 5,137 per cent increase in cost.
A Care Bear, similar to this, sold for £1.62 in 1980 is now available online to buy for £81.09
7. Care Bear from 1980 – up 4,896%
Vintage Care Bear dolls, that could be bought for £1.62 in 1980, are now available to buy for £81.09 – a mighty increase of 4,896 per cent.
An original Monopoly board from 1933, similar to this, can now fetch up to £55.99 online – a 3,350% increase
8. Monopoly from 1933 – up 3,350%
A Monopoly board set from 1933 – a game that more than 80 years later is still the cause of many a family argument – is now worth £55.99.
As the original sets were initially sold for the equivalent of £1.62, this is a huge increase of 3,350 per cent.
Polly Pocket has long been a favourite toy and one similar to this has increased in value by 2,275% since 1980
9. Polly Pocket from 1980 – up 2,275%
A Polly Pocket from 1980, which could be bought for £12.17 at the time, can now be bought for £349.99 – an increase of 2,275 per cent.
A G.I. Joe action figure, similar to this, was up 2,467% from its original £9.74 back in 1982
10. G.I. Joe from 1982 – up 2,467%
A G.I Joe action figure set that would have cost a parent £9.74 as a Christmas or birthday present back in 1982 was found for sale at £249.99.
That is a 2,467 per cent price increase, although how many will have survived the past 37 years in a state they could be sold in remains to be seen.
Why do people buy old toys?
There are many reasons why people decide to buy old or collectible toys. Some like collecting rare and unusual items for their own pleasure, whilst others have an eye on selling in the future after their value increases.
For many others, purchasing a toy from a bygone era is for nostalgic reasons – they likely had a similar one as a child and it brings them happy memories.
Richard Beale, a valuer at Warwick and Warwick, an auctioneer of collectibles said: ‘People usually buy old toys as there is a connection with them and the collectors will have had them as a child.
‘There comes a point where people have paid off their mortgage, their children have left home and then they find they have money in their pocket.
‘These people will then buy the toys in nice conditions and pay good money for them. It can be a little bit of an obsession to be honest. There is the thrill of the chase.
‘If they buy things in nice condition, the collector will keep them and won’t get them out the box and play with them. People like to build collections and there will always be something else you need for a collection.’
The re-emergence of a toy years down the line, perhaps thanks to a revival and re-issue by their makers, or a new film arriving in the cinema can spark fresh interest in buying originals.
Chana Baram, retail analyst at Mintel, said: ‘On average, 57 per cent of toy buyers said that they like to buy toys for their child that they also played with.
‘Toys such as Polly Pocket are experiencing a resurgence. Mattel reintroduced Polly Pocket several years ago, but in a much larger size so the dolls were missing their original charm.
‘However, it has been reported that the original sized Polly Pockets, which were initially released in 1989, will be available from the summer of 2019 in time for its 30th birthday.’
While many owners may hold onto their childhood toys, they may not feel they are in a condition to sell on. Those worth the most money will be boxed and in mint condition, but in-demand items can sell even when heavily played with.
Stuart Kerr, of Liberty Games, said: ‘This research has really brought on a feeling of nostalgia, with all of these classic toys being worth considerably more these days than when they were originally on sale.
‘With some of these toys dating back as far as 1927, certain models or prototypes of these popular toys (some of which may be now discontinued) are worth a lot in the eyes of collectors and fans due to their rarity.
‘The toys that have emerged as having the highest return of investment have been global successes, with dolls such as Barbie, or the Cabbage Patch Kids, being adored by children all over the world.’
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