Is there anything that ignites childhood nostalgia more than seeing our beloved toys that we carried everywhere with us?
Nostalgia is in and we’re indulging in our favourite music, TV shows, movies, and fashion from our younger years. This is being extended to our childhood playthings too, with old-school toys making a huge comeback amongst adults. Toy World Magazine reported that in 2021, 19–29-year-olds made up a quarter of all toy sales.
As well as bringing up happy memories, there’s another reason we’re digging out or searching for nostalgic toys – they can be a goldmine. From Barbies to Beanie Babies, plenty of out-of-circulation toys are sought after by collectors.
Here, we’ll cover some of the under-the-radar nostalgic toys that could net you some money – if you can bear to part with them, that is.
The rarest Beanie Babies
Did anyone else’s mum religiously collect Beanie Babies because they were promised they’d all be valuable in years to come? While all Beanie Babies eventually becoming valuable turned out to be a bit of a myth, there are some specific soft toys that could net you some money – so if you loved your collection as a little one, you don’t need to part with all of them.
The original Peanut the Elephant is one of the most valuable Beanie Babies around because of its very limited production run. Only 2,000 of the royal blue Peanut were ever produced – but there’s debate as to why there were so few. Some said it was a production error and that he wasn’t supposed to be royal blue, while others believe the creator of Beanie Babies, Ty Walker, wasn’t happy with its initial sales. Either way, the original Peanut could earn you close to £4,000.
Unique Lego sets
Lego is one type of nostalgic toy that’s still just as popular today. According to the manufacturer itself, the number of adults buying Lego sets has increased fourfold in less than a decade. But when it comes to valuable sets from days gone by, you need to have some specific sets.
The lucrative Lego Airport Shuttle set has a unique place in history. As well as producing a limited run, it’s said that Lego outsourced the production of the monorail tracks to a company that folded, so the tooling pieces were lost forever. You could fetch close to £2,000 for one of these sets.
It’s well-known that original Star Wars action figures are worth big money, and the same applies to Star Wars Lego sets. A used Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon bundle is worth around £1,184.99 – around treble its original value. The Imperial Star Destroyer, from the same collection, could be worth around £1,830.
The most valuable Barbies
It’ll come as no surprise that an original of the very first Barbie doll is worth a lot of money. But there are plenty of iterations of Barbie through the years that could bring in some money that you might well have in your collection.
The three most valuable Barbies all have real jewels sewn into their outfits and were either extremely limited or one-of-a-kind, but you don’t have to have a diamond-laden Barbie to make some cash. Barbie Millennium Princess, designed in honour of the year 2000, is commanding a price of around £1,988. Calvin Klein Barbie, a quintessentially ‘90s toy, is worth around £1,124 if you’ve kept her in good condition.
If your mum passed down some of her vintage Barbies to you, they could be worth even more money. Vintage Parisienne Barbie, from the very first catalogue of Barbies in 1959, could be worth £2,305.
We’re loving nostalgia right now, and that’s translating to a huge demand for vintage children’s toys. Adults are making up a bigger share of the toy-buying market and people are searching for classic playthings from their own childhood. If you have boxes of toys gathering dust in your attic, why not take a trip down memory lane and bring them out? If you have any of the above, you could be in for a lucrative payday if you can part with them. And be sure to keep your own children’s toys in storage once they grow out of them – their action figures, game consoles, and boys’ backpacks could be worth something one day too.