The Surprising Price of Pokemon Cards and Other '90s Collectibles You've Held Onto

Photo Courtesy: Product images via eBay; Nintendo

Attention, ‘90s kids: do you have trunks and boxes filled with old Beanie Babies, Pokémon cards, and Polly Pockets? Maybe a Furby or two? Well, if you’ve held onto some of these popular toys from your childhood — or from your kid’s younger years — you may be in luck. Today, many of these once-beloved items are worth a pretty penny.

Although it might be hard to believe that toys from the 1990s are considered "vintage," there’s simply no denying the increase in value many of these collectibles have seen, especially if they’re still in mint condition. So, how does this all work? Why are these toys "trendy" again? And, most importantly, which toys are worth the most money? It’s time to go on a scavenger hunt through your basement.

Benefits of Selling Old Toys

It’s popular for people to collect old, vintage toys. They’re nostalgic and they gain more appreciation 20 years after they were first released on the market. Moreover, toys are usually "retired" — that is, manufacturers stop making them — which makes them harder to come by. Now, ‘90s toys that might’ve been inexpensive back in the day are considered rare. And, with rarity, comes monetary value.

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If kept in good condition, certain toys can help pay for large expenses. Seriously, did you ever think your Pokémon cards would help you pay your car bill? Or that a Beanie Baby could make a mortgage payment a bit easier? Well, you might get lucky. Of course, the market fluctuates, so nothing is a sure bet. But if you have something rare and in good condition — or, better yet, in a box — then you might just have a valuable item or two on your hands.

Start Selling Your Toys

To get started, research the toys you already own. Rare, "retired" toys are always worth more than toys that are still sold on the market today. Want an easy way to look up a toy’s going rate? Try eBay. In most cases, you’ll find other folks trying to sell something similar, if not the exact toy you’re looking to peddle. If you can’t find your hot commodity on eBay, try a specialist collector website, like World Collectors Net, which offers price guides for a variety of toys.

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Before listing your toys, clean them — carefully. If they’re still sealed and in the box, dust the box. If the toys have been played with, grab a toothbrush, paintbrush, Q-tip, or paper towel — and some water. Be sure to let the toys dry overnight. Once you’re ready to sell, list your rare toys on online auctions like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Sometimes you can find a local business that deals in second-hand products, but, often, these collectors won’t pay the full amount the item is worth.

Sell Your Rare Pokémon Cards

In the ‘90s, (almost) everyone collected Pokémon Trading Card Game cards. Even then, some of the cards were nearly impossible to find at stores. For example, Charizard, a fire-breathing dragon whose card featured a holographic background, was one of the most popular during the ‘90s — and that rarity has held up. Although Pokémon has been going strong for 25 years, the franchise recently gained even more popularity in light of Pokémon Go, especially since the VR game featured the original 150 monsters from the original run.

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To sell for a high price, Pokemon cards must be in good condition, free from creases or tears. On the high end, a mint-condition holographic, shadowless Charizard card is worth between $12,999 to $50,000. A first edition version of the card — released in 1999 — is worth $269,999. Other rare Pokémon cards, including Kangaskhan (I know, right?) and Blastoise) sell between $99,999 and $484,890 each. The question now is not if you caught ‘em all, but did you hold onto ‘em all? Hopefully that’s a yes.

Score Big With POGs

Before Pokémon cards took over, elementary school students traded their most colorful POGs during lunch and recess hours. Also known as milk caps, POGs are a children’s game that uses flat, circular, cardboard milk caps. Players stack these caps and take turns dropping a heavier object on them so that the POGs scatter. The player then keeps the face-up POGs, but restacks the face-down ones. This process goes on and on until none of the POGs land face-down.

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Whoever has the most POGs wins the game. But can the same be said for folks who held onto their POGs until 2021? Well, POGs are still incredibly beloved today because of the way they really capture nostalgia. How so? Often, POGs are tied to pop culture fads and feature images from franchises like Power Rangers, Star Trek, The Wizard of Oz, The Simpsons and Nintendo. However, that doesn’t mean they’re worth a lot of money. In fact, most POGs are worth a dollar, maybe $10 at most. While some rare pop culture POGs, including defective, misprinted ones, are more valuable, they’ll only rake in $40 to $250 or so in most cases.

Fun Fact: POGs became the name of the game that was commercially sold in the 1990s because folks used Pog brand juice caps to play the game previously. The brand, Pog, derived its name from its ingredients: passionfruit, orange, and guava.

Say Goodbye to Your Beanie Babies

In the ‘90s, everyone collected Beanie Babies. They were one of the most popular toys of the decade. In fact, it seemed like there was a Beanie Baby for every type of animal, personality trait, and world event. The toys were inexpensive upon their release, but, even in the ‘90s, some of the rarest skyrocketed in value. Today, quite a few are worth hundreds (or thousands) of dollars.

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While many Beanie Babies are worth just $25 or so, others, including the rare Peace bear, are worth anywhere from $200 and $4,899. Beanie Babies with noticeable errors are worth more, ranging from $1,800 and $4,000. Who knew those plush TY toys would be worth so much money? Well, your parents probably knew — which is why they encouraged you to leave the tags intact.

Pack Up Your Polly Pockets

Here’s hoping you held onto all those small pieces that went along with the Polly Pocket playhouse set. Made between 1989 and 1998, the original, pocket-sized Polly Pockets — so long as they are still sealed — are actually more valuable than the larger playsets Mattel made after buying the brand in 1998. Even if your playset was used lightly, collectors will still find value in those authentic originals, namely because they are near-impossible to find today.

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For example, compact playsets sell for between $50 and $250 on eBay. Meanwhile, a sealed Polly Pocket Fairy Light Wonderland set is worth $525. Other sets and figurines sell for nearly $900. Needless to say, if you can manage to find every part of your old Polly Pocket set, you’ll be smiling all the way to the bank.

Get Rid of Your Furby

Everyone wanted to own a Furby in the ‘90s — and, if you didn’t, you probably thought they were a bit creepy. After all, their large eyes seem to follow you wherever you go. Well, if you (or your kid) were too afraid to take the toy out of its box, you might just strike gold. In fact, original, unopened Furby toys are valued between $400 and $700. As with any toy, limited-edition Furbies might net you even more.

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While toys are meant to be played with, you might be thanking your younger self for keeping certain items in their boxes or in some fancy trading card sleeves. Although it can be hard to part with nostalgia, there’s no need to hold on to every toy these days, especially if you’re looking to downsize or do some spring cleaning. All of this to say, if you need some quick cash, check out your toy collection. You might be surprised to find just how many valuable items are tucked away in your basement!

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