Got ‘80s and ‘90s Toys? Make Hundreds of Dollars by Selling Them on Ebay

Need extra cash fast? Turn to your closet — or, for many of us, our parents’ closets. If you’re a child of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and you’ve got a stash of childhood toys in good condition, you have the opportunity to make decent money on nearly anything you’re willing to sell.

Why are ‘80s and ‘90s toys so popular on resale sites like eBay? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Nostalgia sells, plain and simple.
  2. The internet has made it possible to remember — and hunt down — nearly every toy from an ‘80s and ‘90s childhood, from Smooshees to Popples to Lady LovelyLocks.
  3. Adults who played with these toys as children buy them as adults, often to complete a collection.
  4. Adults who played with these toys as children buy them for their own children, especially if they are now discontinued items like the original American Girl Dolls. (Believe it or not, all four original dolls — Kirsten, Samantha, Molly, and Felicity — are currently “retired.”)

How much are your ‘80s and ‘90s toys worth?

The short answer to the question “how much are your old toys worth” is simply “as much as people are willing to pay.”

So let’s take a look at Ebay, and at one of the ’80s’ most iconic toys: Teddy Ruxpin.

You’d be forgiven if you thought your Teddy Ruxpin was going to sell for around $500; after all, a recent Buzzfeed article showed a Teddy Ruxpin listed on Ebay for $525.

However, a quick click-through to Ebay shows nobody’s actually buying Teddy at that price. Guess putting a tape recorder inside a teddy bear doesn’t make him that valuable.

So rather than guessing what buyers want, look to see which toys are receiving bids, and what price point seems to attract buyers. Right now, for example, people seem quite happy to bid on Teddy Ruxpin products selling in the $50 range, although people are also bidding at Teddies at $30 and at $80, depending on condition and accessories included.

Here are a few more price ranges I culled from Ebay, based on customer bids:

  • Micro Machines, sold as lots: $30-40
  • Original American Girl doll: $50-60
  • The 1980s Spaceman figurine that was popularized in The Lego Movie: $5

How can you figure out which of your toys are the most valuable?

Take a cue from this post on selling stuffed animals for extra cash: put in a general search like “80s Toys,” sort the results by “Price: Highest First,” and begin looking at the items on which people are bidding. (Skip items that have high prices but no bids.) You can also click the “auctions” box in the left-hand column and then sort the results by “most bids” to see what people are most interested in buying.

You’ll learn pretty quickly that complete collections are the most valuable. As of this writing, 22 people are bidding on a collection of 80+ unopened Kenner Star Wars Action Figures, and the bids have passed $3,000. (Update: the collection sold for $6,175. Whoa!)

“Boy toys” appear to do better in price than “girl toys,” especially when sold as lots. Barbie prices seem to vary wildly: I found a 1988 Happy Holidays Barbie bidding around $60, as well as a similarly-priced 1985 Dream Glow Barbie (which I owned as a child!) but a 1985 Peaches and Cream Barbie was only bidding for around $20.

It’s worth noting that every auction is different, and that luck and timing play a part as well; just because you see someone else’s toy sell for $60 doesn’t mean yours will sell for that price. It might sell for only $15, or you might end up getting the auction where it gets bid up to $80.

Of course, the highest-valued items are “like new” toys still in their original packaging. If your ‘80s and ‘90s toys look more “gently loved,” they’ll get less on the auction block.

So, should you sell your toys?

If you’ve got toys you’re willing to sell, especially if they’re in lots, collections or original packaging, absolutely. $50 seems to be the rough going price for an ‘80s or ‘90s toy in good condition, so if you have four or five toys that fit that category, you can probably make a couple hundred bucks. (Like this idea? Click to tweet it!)

Not bad for stuff you haven’t played or thought about in years.

Your Turn: Have you sold your old toys on eBay? How’d they do?