How to sell vintage toys and turn your childhood gems into cash

If you want to sell old toys, please understand this: vintage toy stores may pay as much as $700 for Hasbro’s rare 1967 GI Joe female nurse. They would love to buy a set of retired Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer Lego toys for $600 or more. Fisher’s blue A-frame house may sell for $50.

But they are not interested in your stuffed animal bag.

“People always come in with stuffed toys. I don’t want to risk getting bed bugs. I always ignore it unless it is a caring bear from someone I know,” said Jason Williams, who owns the Big Fun Vintage toy store in Columbus, Ohio .

Due to the pent-up demand of collectors and young parents who miss the simpler era, the old toy market has grown during the pandemic. Many old-fashioned toy stores reopened their doors for business, rushing to sell them.

Williams said: “I think the pandemic has spawned a lot of casual collectors.” “A lot of these toy series may not sell well before, such as Polly Pockets or Mighty Max, which sell well now.”

Whether you are in a toy store or an online auction, you need to know the following in order to get high prices for your vintage toys.

How to determine the value of collectible toys

Williams understands the value of vintage toys as easily as Wall Street traders quote stock prices. But depending on the supply, demand, quantity originally manufactured, and the condition of the toy, the value varies greatly.

EBay Research

If you are considering selling antique toys, please research the latest selling prices online and pay close attention to the items sold, not the asking prices of unsold antique items.

Williams said: “I look at the items that have been sold on eBay and try to find a median price.” “If something sells for $100 at a time, it sells for $50 a dozen times, and it also sells for $10. It will be priced at $40 or $50.”

Then, based on the rarity of the toy, Williams pays the seller 50% to 70% of the price of the toy.

Professional assessment and grading

If you have a toy, especially an action figure, that comes in the original packaging and seems to sell for $200 or more on eBay, then the professional rating may be worth it. If it has an external evaluation, you may get more and you will know if anyone is trying to make a low price offer.

Many companies classify collectibles, and the price depends on the size and how long you are willing to wait. For example, the Action Puppet Authority charges $32 for scoring standard-size dolls within 60 to 80 days, or $55 within a week. Normally, you have to mail the item to the grader, and then they return it.

If you can find a grader or appraiser at a toy conference or local auction house, it will be a faster and cheaper way.

Toys from the 1960s and earlier are highly rated even if they are not in the original box, and are worthy of professional grading.

Supply matters

The dealer’s supply at any given time (purely depending on the situation) will also affect the offer to the seller.

“If I had a number of 30, I would lower its price, and I would pay less,” Williams said.

Mass count

Of course, the toys in the original box are more valuable. If the original packaging is still wrapped in transparent plastic, it will bring high prices.

It is usually the professional collector who keeps the toy intact. However, if you want to sell old-fashioned toys that children have played with for many years, there are still many potential buyers.

Consider the old Fisher Little Figure suits made in the 1960s and 1970s.

The blue A-frame is one of the more difficult suits to find. Williams will sell it for approximately $100 and pay the seller $50. If it is missing a few pieces, he will pay close to one-third of his asking price. If more than a few pieces are lost, he will pay approximately $25.

Just like Old record store might buy A scratched album, because the cover is in good condition, they know that the same album will be intact. The old toy store buys incomplete or even broken toys to complete the previously purchased set.

Williams said: “We have been shopping to take apart these pieces to match other suits.”

So how much can old toys sell for?

This is a sample of some old favorites for sale.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Snow Smith

My little pony

Big Fun has a glass cabinet full of My Little Ponies, and each color of plastic costs $10 to $75. Expect to sell yours at about half the price. Male ponies are the most valuable.

“They made men with shoes and hats. There was a construction worker pony,” Williams said. Male ponies do not sell as well as female ponies and therefore produce less, making them more rare.

The first generation of used Mountain Boy Pony was sold on eBay for $549. The first-generation female Stardazzle was recently sold on eBay for $27, the bracelet was sold for $20, and Flutterbye was goodbye for $12.50.

GI Joe Character

Williams recently bought a 1993 GI Joe for $20. “He doesn’t have any weapons,” Williams said. “If he had those (owners), I would make an extra $10 or $15.”

On eBay, a second-hand 2008 GI Joe was recently sold for $15, while the 1964 GI Joe uniform and boots sold for $165.

Marvel Legend

Hasbro began manufacturing Marvel legends based on Marvel comics in the early 2000s.

“The demand for these is healthy. People always bring them in,” Williams said. “If no one cares about it anymore, a number may sell for $8, or they can sell for a few hundred dollars.”

The new She Hulk action doll from the Fin Fang Foom series was recently sold on eBay for $170. A second-hand 6-inch Epic Heroes Iron Man sells for $18.


Williams said that retired Lego sets are the most valuable, and anything related to Star Wars or Harry Potter is very popular.

A Diagon Alley set opened in a dilapidated box was sold on eBay for $70, but the same set was sold for $510 in a sealed box.

As for the Star Wars Lego bricks, the second-hand Rogue Shadow retired Force Unleashed set is priced at $149, while the second-hand resistance bomber is priced at $110.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Snow Smith

Polly Pocket

Williams said: “Polly Pocket has become more and more popular in the past year and a half,” he again agreed to his parents becoming more nostalgic during the pandemic.

A second-hand 1993 Polly Pocket Fairy Light Wonderland on eBay sold for only 58 dollars, while the 1992 Sky Princess Ring Doll sold for 24 dollars, and a glittering wedding locket with all parts sold for 85 dollars. .


Hasbro and Bao’s Transformers were manufactured between 1984 and 1990 and are called the first generation. These are of the most interest to toy buyers. Williams said that Black Zarak, Fortress Maximus and some Diaclones works are the most popular.

A second-hand Cybertron Dark Scorponok from the Black Zarak series was recently sold on eBay for $60, while the Fortress Maximus Headmaster from 1987 was sold for $288.

Peas Babies

Rumors have been circulating for many years that the rarest Doudou babies sell for tens of thousands of dollars. But sellers should pay attention: more than 1,000 purple Princess Diana bears are sold on eBay for US$3.95 to more than US$10,000. Some are definitely counterfeit products, while other prices are based more on wishful thinking than comparable sales.

The Internet is full of lists of the most valuable Doudou babies, and they vary widely. Some unanimous comments say that the bear with the logo embroidered on it or the wrong wording on the white label will get the best price. If there are no heart-shaped Ty tags, their value should be half of the original value.

If you want to find something of value, perhaps a potential buyer, it is a good idea to join one of the many Beanie Baby groups on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Snow Smith

Fisher Little People Set

In the window of Big Fun, there is a Fisher Price school building from 1971, which is a hook to attract potential buyers into the store.

“Fisher price is one of the iconic things that attract people’s attention,” Williams said. It’s not as popular as action figures or retired Lego sets, but many people are associated with those fixtures in playrooms that have been passed down through generations.

They are also gender neutral, so they attract a wider audience.

A Fisher Price A-frame toy set recently sold for $114 on eBay. Twelve wooden figures and five plastic chairs in the early 1970s sold for $16.50, while the pink dragon in the castle sold for $50.

The Sesame Street set attracts a specific but broad audience: those who miss Fisher’s price and are fans of Kermit, Oscars, and Big Bird. Fisher’s Sesame Street town with characters and furniture was recently sold on eBay for $250, while a single lamppost with the Sesame Street logo was sold for $12.50.

Sell ​​vintage toys to toy stores

The antique toy store is a great place for professional and casual collectors.

The toy store owner pays on the spot, which is more advantageous than waiting for the item to be sold in an online auction. In addition, if you can drive to the store, no shipping costs are involved in the sale.

Williams’ calendar is full of “cleanup,” which means he is going to a house, attic or basement that contains a lot of old toys. Some homeowners will invite real estate sales managers or auction houses, but Williams will first evaluate and buy old toys.

Have Vintage toy stores in every state. If you check their website, most people will say that they are ready to buy and sell at any time. Of course, call ahead to confirm that they are buying what you must sell. Some old-fashioned toy shops mainly buy comics, and some comic shops also buy toys.

Sell ​​through auction houses

If you only have one or two items, eBay or a toy store is a good choice, suggested Blake Kennedy, auctioneer, appraiser, and co-owner of the Kennedy Brothers Auction House in St. Petersburg, Florida. But if you have collectibles, online or live auctions held by auction companies may bring in more revenue, he said.

Nationwide, auction companies usually charge a commission of 10% to 35%, but they may charge a fixed fee or negotiate a smaller commission for very expensive items.

6 tips for selling vintage toys online

Many people will automatically go to eBay to unload their childhood toys. Here is how to create a valid list.

1. Transparency.

Describe any defects or missing parts. This can save a lot of time and trouble if the purchase is disputed in the future.

2. Post a good photo.

At least five well-lit photos View the product from all angles and include any label or manufacturer’s mark to get the best price.

3. Detailed.

Include as many details as possible in your product description. These details are also keywords, such as manufacturer and year of release.

4. Be clear.

Check online product descriptions of other sold products in similar categories to get their keywords.

5. Responsive.

Pay attention to direct emails or messages on the online platform so that you can quickly answer any questions from potential buyers.

6. Timely.

When the goods are sold, please mail them promptly and carefully so that you will get a good online review.

Katherine Snow Smith is the senior writer of The Penny Hoarder.

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About the Author: Agnes Zang