From Playroom To Payday: The Surprising Value of 20 Vintage Children's Toys

By Jack Ripley | March 22, 2024

Big Bucks for Original Barbie Dolls

Delve into the fascinating world of vintage toy collecting, where cherished playthings of yesteryear become prized possessions. Discover the factors that elevate certain toys to collector's items, from rarity to historical significance. While some toys appreciate in value over time, others may surprise with their depreciation. Explore the gallery ahead to uncover the nostalgic treasures that hold more worth now than ever before. For parents reminiscing about their own childhood toys, this journey may spark a newfound appreciation for the toys of generations past.

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Original Barbie dolls in excellent condition tend to be highly collectible and valuable. U.S. toy manufacturer Mattel introduced the first Barbie doll in 1959 and still sells them today. Those Barbies that came out during the first decade of production are likely to be the most valuable.

Pictured are two examples of the first Barbies ever made. One that came out in 1959 wore a black-and-white swimsuit. Its accessories included sunglasses and spike-heeled pumps. This original Barbie has since appreciated more than 1,000 percent.

Other collectible vintage Barbies include the blonde/brunette bubble-cut dolls, Barbie Registered Nurse, and the Barbie and Ken Gift Set. Mattel marketed these models in the early 1960s. All have appreciated significantly as vintage collectibles.

Palm-sized Polly Pocket Can Be a Treasure

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Chris Wiggs designed the first Polly Pocket in 1983. The original Polly Pocket included tiny dolls that fit inside compact cases resembling everyday objects like makeup compacts or jewelry boxes. Opening the lid revealed a miniature scene like a forest scene or beach setting. This scale-model playset had tiny accessories and teeny toys that provided hours of entertainment for children. Closing the lid made the Polly Pocket portable so that kids could take it everywhere. These toys became extremely popular in the 1990s.

If you're interested in collecting original Polly Pocket items, you may want to look for vintage pieces from the late 1980s and the 1990s. These collectibles are popular with vintage toy collectors. A rare, vintage Polly Pocket set that originally sold for under $12, such as the Bluebird Children's Hospital set, now has a value of several hundred dollars.