In the world of vintage toys, hidden treasures await discovery by enthusiasts and savvy collectors alike. From the timeless charm of antique dolls to the enduring allure of classic action figures, the world of vintage toys is a fascinating playground where history and pop culture converge. In this article, we embark on a journey to unveil the 15 vintage toys that have not only stood the test of time but have also become prized possessions worth a substantial sum of money. Join us as we rank the 15 Vintage Toys Worth Money, from the most valuable to the still remarkably lucrative. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or simply curious about the hidden gems lurking in your attic, prepare to be amazed by these nostalgic treasures. It’s important to clarify that vintage books or comic books won’t be included in this list, as we don’t categorize them as “toys.”
15. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial “life-size” NECA Toy ($900)
Who could ever forget the iconic extraterrestrial character from the 1982 Steven Spielberg film? I grew up watching this movie, and I vividly recall shedding tears in the movie theater alongside other children. Measuring 3 feet in height and hand-painted, this foam rubber and latex replica of E.T.’s Stunt Puppet is astonishingly lifelike. It stands as the essential collectible for devoted fans of the movie. If you were fortunate enough to acquire the “life-size” E.T. toy back in the day, you might be sitting on a treasure trove. In the realm of vintage toys worth money, this particular E.T. collectible could now hold a value of approximately $900.
14. 1985 Super Mario Bros for Nintendo Entertainment System ($2,480)
One of the best vintage toys ever is the “Super Mario Bros”! Released in 1985, Super Mario Bros is a platform game created by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). In this game, players assume the role of Mario or, in multiplayer mode, his brother Luigi, as they embark on a journey through the Mushroom Kingdom to rescue Princess Toadstool from the clutches of King Koopa, later known as Bowser. While modern versions of Super Mario Bros are accessible on various gaming devices, collectors highly prize the original 1985 NES edition of the game. Presently, it is available for purchase on eBay for $2,480.
13. Masters of the Universe The Towers of Eternia Playset ($3,100)
The Towers of Eternia, a highlight in the realm of vintage toys worth money, stands as the largest playset ever manufactured within the Masters of the Universe collection. It is often likened to the G.I. Joe U.S.S. Flagg, a playset that surpassed it both in size and cost. The final production version of Eternia was truly massive in scale, with the Central Tower towering over 30 inches in height. This impressive set comprises three distinctive towers, along with a Laser Blaster, a weapons rack, a track, and three vehicles. Despite its desirability, the product’s initial price point made it a somewhat expensive purchase, which deterred rapid sales during its original release. However, due to its rarity today, its market value has surged. If you happen to come across a well-preserved copy in its original packaging, it will probably cost you approximately $3,100.
12. Space Command Center Lego set 926 ($10,400)
One of the most valuable toys from the 70s is the Space Command Center and one of the best Lego sets! Debuted in 1979 with an initial retail price of $25, this 173-piece set was masterminded by Jens Nygaard Knudsen. Identified by its set number 926, this package encompasses four astronauts clad in striking red and white spacesuits, two buggies, an intricately designed modular space station, and a pair of satellite dishes. What elevates the price of this set to such heights? Well, beyond its exceptionally cool retro design, its scarcity in the market contributes substantially to its soaring value. It’s a coveted item that many aspire to acquire! With an impressive appraisal of $10,000, it might very well surpass the worth of your typical secondhand family car.
11. 1977 Luke Skywalker Kenner Action Figure ($25,000)
A notorious vintage, most rare Star Wars action figure, is the 1977 Jedi Knights action figure, notably recognized for its telescoping lightsaber feature. Essentially, these rack toys were equipped with a lightsaber accessory that had an upper section that extended from the lower part, akin to a Push Pop mechanism. They make sporadic appearances in auctions throughout the year and consistently command impressive prices. Notably, the Luke Skywalker action figures with telescoping lightsabers hold the highest value among collectors. When Nigo, the Japanese designer and founder of A Bathing Ape, decided to part ways with his Star Wars collection, he entrusted Sotheby’s with the task. The 2015 auction resulted in a total sale exceeding half a million dollars, which included a pristine, boxed Luke Skywalker figurine – one of only 20 known to exist.
10. 1985 G1 Transformers Autobot Air Guardian Jetfire ($26,000)
This vintage toy is worth money, lots of money! It has a really interesting history: it originally started as the VF-1S Super Valkyrie in the Macross series by Takatoku. Later, Hasbro got the robot design and changed its name to Jetfire for their Transformers line. In 1984, Takatoku went out of business, and Bandai acquired their toy designs. In Japan, Takara, a competitor of Bandai, released Transformers toys. Bandai didn’t want this toy to be sold as a Transformers toy in Japan. Eventually, Bandai agreed to Hasbro’s request and allowed them to sell this toy in the US. In the Transformers cartoon, they had to change Jetfire’s design and call him Skyfire because Harmony Gold owned the Macross license. This action figure was so popular that Hasbro re-released it in 2007 through a mail-in offer in the US and Canada. In 2021 it was sold for ($25,000).
9. Original 1959 Barbie ($27,450)
In 1959, Barbie made her grand entrance into the world as “Teenage Fashion Barbie,” donning an exquisite one-piece outfit. This particular Barbie boasts radiant golden hair, a striking black-and-white swimsuit, and captivating blue eyeshadow. In its original packaging, this rare Barbie is assessed to have a value in the range of tens of thousands of dollars. Notably, a perfectly preserved doll from this era was successfully auctioned for an impressive $27,450 in 2006, and presently, there is one available for purchase on eBay at the price of $25,000. To determine if you have a first edition model, you can check for holes in the soles of her feet, as the second edition features solid feet instead.
8. 1999 1st Edition Charizard Holo Card ($67,525)
Pokemon trading cards enjoy a massive fan base, and certain rare cards can command incredibly high prices. Among these coveted collectibles, the 1999 1st Edition Holographic Charizard card stands out as the ultimate prize, often referred to as the “holy grail” of the entire Pokémon trading card game. It’s considered one of the most iconic non-sports cards in the world. Today, the Charizard card from the inaugural 1999 Pokémon generation can fetch a substantial sum! To be precise, a staggering $67,525. Its exceptional value is attributed to the fact that there are reportedly only 120 of these cards in existence. This makes them exceptionally rare and highly sought-after by collectors.
7. 1930 Tipp & Co. Mickey Mouse Motorcycle ($110,000)
An icon in the toy world. Mickey Mouse, created by Walt Disney in 1928, underwent various visual transformations over the subsequent two decades. One particular Mickey Mouse toy of note is a clockwork motorcycle measuring 9.25 inches in length, carrying both Mickey and Minnie Mouse. This toy was manufactured in the late 1920s by the German toy company Tipp & Co. specifically for the U.S. market. It went on to become the most expensive item ever sold within the franchise. There are a total of eighteen of these tin wind-up motorcycles featuring Mickey and Minnie known to exist. This exceptional piece was featured at a Randy Inman auction in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA, held on 6–8 October 2000. Ultimately, it sold for an impressive $110,000 to an American buyer. The toy was in nearly mint condition, constructed from lithographed tinplate, and included its original packaging, all while functioning flawlessly.
6. The Original Monopoly Game ($146,500)
In 1933, Charles Darrow commenced the production of Monopoly games. Initially, he crafted sets manually for friends who gathered at his home to engage in gameplay and were eager to possess their own sets. In 2011, a hand-drawn oil cloth rendition of Monopoly, created by Charles Darrow, was auctioned at Sotheby’s for an astounding $146,500! This surpassed its expected price by nearly double. However, even if you don’t possess such an exceptionally rare edition of this beloved game, vintage versions from the 1930s have fetched prices as high as $3,125, and limited editions routinely command hundreds of dollars when sold on eBay.
5. 1969 Hot Wheels Pink VW Beach Bomb ($150,000)
Hold onto your seats, toy enthusiasts, because we’re gearing up to unveil the top 5 vintage toys that are worth a fortune today! And speaking of gearing up, let’s kick things off with Hot Wheels toy cars. The brand made its debut on the market in 1968. In just their second year, 1969, the company’s designers aimed to introduce a California-style model of the iconic Volkswagen bus. The initial iteration of the ‘Beach Bomb’ featured meticulously scaled-down realistic proportions, complete with a miniature surfboard protruding from the rear window, capturing the essence of coastal living in a toy. What sets Pascal’s Pink ‘Beach Bomb’ apart is the fact that the pink variant, intended to appeal to girls, failed to gain popularity. This rarity factor adds to its uniqueness, as fewer of these pink versions exist. In 2018, this particular ‘Beach Bomb’ was astonishingly sold for $150,000.
4. 1963 Original Prototype G.I. Joe ($200,000)
The Hasbro toy company’s GI Joe is one of the rarest action figures. It has achieved remarkable success, ranking among the best-selling and most sought-after toys in history. It has given rise to comics, TV series, movies, books, and an extensive range of related merchandise. The priciest GI Joe item to date is the 1964 Original Hasbro prototype G. I. Joe. This 12-inch G.I. Joe figure is meticulously hand-painted and comes with a hand-sewn uniform. In 2003, this prototype fetched a staggering $200,000 at auction. It was later donated to the Library of Congress in 2018. The prototype even secured a place in the Guinness Book of Records as “The most valuable toy soldier in the world.
3. 1979 Kenner Rocket Firing Boba Fett Prototype ($204,435)
One of the most valuable toys from the 70s is this exceptionally rare Boba Fett prototype. The prototype is associated with a unique mail-in promotion that was ultimately discontinued due to concerns related to child safety stemming from its rocket-firing functionality. This prototype is a 3 ¾” figurine meticulously painted by hand, boasting articulation in its arms, hips, and head. Notably, it features an exclusive rocket-firing backpack mechanism equipped with two rockets propelled by springs. In the year 2022, this remarkable piece fetched an astonishing price of $204,435 at auction.
2. Barbie by Stefano Canturi ($302,500)
The most costly Barbie ever sold is a unique and elegant blonde doll. It was adorned with a necklace designed by Stefano Canturi, showcasing emerald-cut Australian pink diamonds, each weighing a carat, encircled by three carats of sparkling white diamonds. In a 2010 auction, this extraordinary Barbie fetched an astonishing $302,500. What adds a heartwarming dimension to this tale is that the doll was specifically crafted to generate funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
1. Steiff Louis Vuitton Teddy Bear ($2.1 million)
And now, drum roll please, for our number one spot on this list of vintage toys worth money! Back in the year 2000, Steiff, the renowned German plush toy company with a history dating back to the late 1800s, joined forces with the globally acclaimed fashion brand Louis Vuitton. This wasn’t just any teddy bear — it was meticulously crafted with the finest mohair and silk, adorned with real gold and gemstone embellishments, capturing the essence of luxury. Its eyes were made of sapphire and diamonds, giving it an inimitable glint. Furthermore, the bear wore a Louis Vuitton travel suit, showcasing the brand’s signature monogram design, and was equipped with its own mini Louis Vuitton suitcase. This collaboration resulted in the priciest teddy bear ever to be purchased! This bear, with its unique blend of plush craftsmanship and high-end fashion elegance, found a new owner in Jesse Kim from Korea, who acquired it for the jaw-dropping amount of $2.1 million. Truly, a testament to how vintage toys can appreciate in value and become iconic collector’s items!