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Furbies, Tamagotchis and More: The Cost of All the Hottest Toys Since 1983
This year, it’s all about the Hatchimals — last year, it was Star Wars droids.
But let’s take a blast to the past: Do you remember what the hot Christmas toys were when you were growing up?
All I’m going to say is get ready for some nostalgia — and some sticker shock.
I (OK, fine, my intern) went to the depths of the interwebz to find the prices of the most popular toys from 1983 until today — and then added them all up. (Please note prices are approximate and in that year’s dollars.)
You might be surprised to see the grand total… we certainly were!
1984: Transformers — $9.95-$20.99, depending on which model you purchased. These toys are now worth up to $600!
1987: Koosh Ball — Currently selling for $4.99 each (we couldn’t find information on the original retail price). I’m willing to bet you still have a few of these lurking in your junk drawer.
1988: Nintendo Entertainment System — $89.99 with no game, $99.99 bundled with Super Mario Bros and $149.99 for the Action pack that came bundled with two games and an extra controller.
1990: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures — $19.99 each. There were four different turtles (duh!), and accessories cost $3.99. Pizza not included.
1992: Barney doll — $24.99. Awkward hugs included.
1993: Talkboy — After being seen in the all-time classic “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” demand soared for this audio cassette player, which sold for $29.99.
1994: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers toys — These action figures retailed for the low price of $4.99, causing them to fly off the shelves in good ol’ ‘94.
1995: Beanie Babies — $5. Anybody else have WAY too many of these?
1996: Tickle Me Elmo — $27.99. This bizarre toy sold out almost instantly, causing fights between consumers — and scalpers to sell them for hundreds of dollars.
1997: Tamagotchi — $17.99. This was one of the only cool toys I had (and it was definitely the knock-off version).
1998: Furby — These creepy little robots retailed for $35, but were in such high demand that resale prices rose to $300.
1999: Pokemon — Whether it was trading cards, video games or plush dolls, anything Pokemon was all the rage. Trading cards ranged from $10-$20 per pack, and Pokemon GameBoy games were around $30.
2000: Razor Scooter — $99-$149, depending on the model.
2001: Bratz Dolls — $9.99-$22.99, depending on the brat.
2002: Beyblades — We couldn’t find a direct source for their original prices, but they’re currently selling anywhere from $5.99-$30 on eBay. (Also, WTF?)
2004: Robosapien — This two-foot tall programmable robot toy sold for $99.
2005: Xbox 360 — Microsoft rushed this console to the shelves in 2005 in an effort to beat out the Playstation 3. It retailed for $399, with games costing $60, so purchasing a brand new system would’ve cost around $460.
2006: Playstation 3 — Not as affordable as the Xbox 360, the PS3 cost $499 for the base model and $599 (!) for the console with more memory. You would’ve had to tack on an additional $60 for a game, for the ridiculous total of $560-$660.
2007: Nintendo DS — More video games, ugh. This was the second-most sold console in history behind the Game Boy; it retailed for $149. Games cost around $40, for a total of $190.
2009: Zhu Zhu Pets — These robotic British hamster toys retailed for only $9, according to the infographic, but somehow became so popular that their price shot up to $60. For a hamster.
2010: iPad — Started at $499 and went up to $699. More than 300,000 units sold the day it was released.
2011: LeapPad Explorer — This froggy tablet for kids sold for $100.
2012: Wii U — The console retailed for $349.99, with games priced at $60. Total price? $410.
2013: Big Hugs Elmo — Just what the world needed: an Elmo that could “hug you back” for a mere $59.99.
2014: Elsa Doll — A few years ago, you probably let it go and bought a “Frozen” doll for $19.99.
2015: BB-8 Star Wars toy — This miniature remote-controlled droid retailed for $149; the initial supply sold out in a day.
2016: NES Classic Mini — This nostalgia-inducing gaming console retails for $59.99, and you’ll probably want to purchase a second controller for $9.99. That is, if you can find one — the limited initial stock sold out in minutes.
So, if you were able to find all the items at their original retail prices — which, as noted above, was often difficult — your total cost would’ve been…
Although it’s unlikely you purchased all of these toys, the number’s still significant.
Yes, there’s immense value in making your kids happy, but it’s important to remember that “hot” toys usually end up cold and lonely in a closet within a few weeks.
Want to see details about all the toys (and relive your glory days)? Check out the fun infographic below.
Your Turn: Which of these toys was your favorite?
Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain. Editorial intern Jacquelyn Pica scoured the web for all these prices and fun facts — and even found some insanely overpriced Beanie Babies along the way.