10. Nerf Turbo Football
Released in 1989, this football was a hit thanks to its distinctive grooves that helped the ball spiral effortlessly through the air. Even the least graceful kid could throw great distances, and the squish factor meant it was easy to catch, too.
Later that year, Nerf added a small plastic contraption to the side that made a high-pitched whooshing sound when thrown. The Turbo Screamer was born.
The Nerf brand continued to iterate throughout the ’90s, releasing tons of new sports products, before pivoting to focus more on toy guns. It seems fans miss the simplicity of the Turbo Football, as it fetches a high price.
Sold on eBay: $175
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9. My Buddy Doll
Made by Hasbro in 1985, this simple doll was intended to teach young boys about friendship. Its legacy has taken a few unexpected twists, though.
My Buddy was a major inspiration for the design of the evil toy Chucky from the 1988 horror flick Child’s Play. The movie became such a classic that it’s hard to look at My Buddy the same way.
Then in 2003, the hip hop group G-Unit — featuring 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Young Buck — released a song by the name “My Buddy.” It echoes the catchy jingle from the Hasbro commercial: “My Buddy, My Buddy; Wherever I go, he goes.” However, in this case the buddy is a firearm.
Sold on eBay: $350
8. Polly Pocket sets
The teeny tiny Polly Pocket can fetch you a mountain of moolah today.
The original line of toys, first sold by Bluebird Toys in 1989, looked like makeup powder compacts. Opening them up revealed a miniscule dollhouse or other playset. The actual Polly Pocket figurines were tiny, usually less than an inch tall.
Bluebird created a ton of different sets, including cottages, castles and other adventures. But after Mattel took over in 1998, Polly Pocket was redesigned as a doll on a larger scale. The brand has remained popular with kids, spawning books, movies and a TV show, but the old fans still appreciate the classic clamshell style.
Hopefully you didn’t lose any pieces.
Sold on eBay: $500
7. Thundercats Lion-O action figure
The animated TV series Thundercats debuted in 1985, following a group of catlike aliens as they try to find safe refuge from their enemies and protect the legendary Sword of Omens.
A line of action figures was released by LJN Toys in the mid ’80s, featuring all the main characters. The protagonist Lion-O is perhaps the most beloved. When his “suspension capsule” malfunctions, the 12-year-old’s body ages all the way to adulthood, though his mind remains as immature as ever.
Though the show was popular enough to spark two reboots, both faced harsh criticism. There’s nothing like the classics.
Sold on eBay: $800
6. Rare Pez dispensers
The value of Pez as a foodstuff is debatable, but the dispensers are undeniably popular among collectors. The company has made so many since 1949 that it’s essentially impossible to get every kind.
The craze really kicked off when Pez started adding 3-D heads to the top in 1957. The dispensers reached their final form in the 1980s when the company attached little feet to the bottom to help them stand upright.
While vintage Pez can fetch a high price, those made in small quantities for special events are even more prized.
Sold on eBay: $1,900
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5. My Little Pony generation one
This major toy and media franchise arose from a single figure, called My Pretty Pony, released by Hasbro in 1981. After the 10-inch toy failed to win over many fans, Hasbro tried a new line of smaller ponies in 1982.
My Little Pony was a hit, partially because the toys were so collectable. They came in a range of bright colors. Some were unicorns, pegasi or sea ponies. They had sugary sweet names like Cotton Candy or Butterscotch. And each had a special symbol on its flank called a “cutie mark.”
Though the brand was definitely targeted toward girls, the broad appeal of the 2010s cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic created a cult-like following among adults, including men.
Sold on eBay: $2,500
4. Original run of Transformers' Optimus Prime
Though Transformers didn’t introduce the concept of shapeshifting robot toys — it evolved from earlier Japanese lines Microman and Diaclone — its memorable characters have helped the franchise endure for decades.
The mid-’80s cartoon etched the civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons into the minds of kids across America. The villainous Megatron and backstabbing Starscream were fun, but the heroic leadership of Optimus Prime genuinely inspired people.
Countless toys, films, shows, comics and spinoffs later, the blue and red 18-wheeler remains totally iconic.
Sold on eBay: $3,000
3. Rare Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures
Who could imagine, when the first comic released in 1984, that so many people would fall in love with four pizza-gobbling turtles, named after Italian Renaissance artists, that live in N.Y.C. sewers and are trained in the art of ninjutsu by their rodent sensei?
After four cartoon series, six feature films, dozens of games and even a touring concert series, it’s clear fans are attracted to a lot more than the weird premise.
There’s a ton of TMNT toys out there, but as usual scarcity is just as important as a character’s popularity. That’s why the virtually unknown Scratch the cat will fetch a much higher price than Michaelangelo.
Sold on eBay: $6,375
2. Hot Wheels ‘redlines’
Take a look at your bucket of random Hot Wheels cars. Do they have a red line on the tires? You might have a ritzy ride on your hands.
These “redlines” come from the first 10 years of production, from 1968 to 1977, and are treasured by collectors. The line itself isn’t proof of the toy’s age — it was revived for some vintage-style reproductions — but it’s a good reason to investigate further.
Kids are typically very rough on their Hot Wheels, smashing them together and rolling them through the dirt, so old ones are hard to find in good condition.
Sold on eBay: $7,000
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1. Original Star Wars action figures
For more than 40 years, Star Wars has remained one of the most popular media franchises around. The movies have spawned an endless stream of comics, cartoons, collectables and cosplays, but people still want the original toys.
All that merch made George Lucas a fortune. Before the first movie came out, Lucas famously passed up directing fees in favor of merchandising and licensing rights to the property. The studio expected Star Wars would be just another Sci-Fi flop.
Time has proved quite the opposite. Characters like Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett are no doubt popular, but any toy from the ’70s and ’80s, even random droids and background characters, can fetch thousands.
So hold on to your Baby Yoda toys. In another 40 years, people might be just as nostalgic for The Mandalorian.
Sold on eBay: $10,400
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