(NEXSTAR) – Some of those old dust-collecting toys in your garage could be worth a big coin.
We are once again seeing old characters gain popularity as comic book classics like “Spiderman” are made into new movies and the “Star Wars” saga continues to release new content.
“When you see a resurgence of license or intellectual property (intellectual property) like we see on television right now, retro toys follow suit,” said Jordan Hembrough, toy expert and host of the program “Toy Hunter”. “A lot of people go back to their attics or basements and find these toys worth a lot of money.”
The “Star Wars” figures from the 1970s and the “Masters of the Universe” toys from the 1980s are especially valuable right now, Hembrough said. Next year Marvel will be celebrating 80 years of Spiderman, so classic Spiderman toys could have renewed value as well.
After the recent premiere of the new “Masters of the Universe” series on Netflix, Hembrough said a man walked into his store with a box of toys he kept when his sons were growing up. Since he had two sons, he got two of everything back then. But it turned out that about half of them were not opened.
“We ended up giving him close to $ 10,000 for this collection of pristine, unopened toys,” Hembrough said of the 50 or so action figures.
He admitted that this was quite a unique situation. However, these items would not have been worth as much a few years ago, before the return of the “Masters of the Universe” franchise.
“It’s a waiting game,” Hembrough said. But don’t wait too long, he warned.
“A lot of old toys from the ’60s or’ 70s are starting to get old,” Hembrough said. “Basically there is no audience because no one is around to remember these toys anymore.”
A customer recently came to see him with Roy Rogers memorabilia that just aren’t worth much because no one buying collectible toys right now really remembers the Roy Rogers era. The same goes for a medical toy kit from the early ’70s series “Marcus Welby, MD”, or a “Sgt. Bilko ”megaphone from the“ Phil Silvers Show ”from the 1950s.
Only the older and more enduring brands, like Batman and “Star Trek”, are still valuable.
“It’s cyclical,” Hembrough explained. “In 2000, toys from the 60s or 70s were all the rage. Right now, 90s stuff is extremely hot. This is because this generation is growing up, starting to earn enough money (to buy collectibles) and start to feel nostalgic.
He pointed to video game characters like Donkey Kong and Mario who are back in popularity right now. Beanie Babies and Cabbage Patch dolls, on the other hand, are out.
Items that were explicitly created as collectibles, like limited-release figures, are also still valuable, but you probably would know if you had one. Certain Pokemon or Magic: The Gathering cards have also always been of value to a finite group of collectors.
But in order for general release toys to become valuable, there has to be an audience for it. If the nostalgia factor isn’t there, these toys lose value.
“Strawberry Shortcake was huge in the 1980s, and it had this incredible resurgence as a collector’s item in the late 1990s and early 2000s,” Hembrough said. “Now no one is buying it.”
He suspected it was because the makers of the doll had reimagined the character over and over, trying to keep him relevant. “But what we see is that the parents don’t resonate with the character, so they don’t really introduce him to their kids. Because the new one doesn’t look like the one they grew up with.
During this time, the “Star Wars” figures retain their value. Because while each movie introduces new characters, it retains old favorites.
“For a toy to be collectable and to have secondary market value, there has to be an emotional attachment to it. It evokes a memory, ”Hembrough said. “With toys like Chewbacca and R2-D2, you are presenting this to your family because you want to share that love.”