Whether you’re buying for a child this Christmas or for yourself, toys can be a surprisingly good long-term investment. Those lovable geeks at MBNA have done the maths and come up with the toys that turn a profit!
1. Comic Books
Rare and vintage is the perfect combination for comics; one 1938 copy of Action Comics No. 1 sold for almost $972,000 at an auction in August this year.
The comic that launched Superman cost just $0.49 at the time of publication, which means its value increased by 157,000,000 percent.
2. Dolls and Figurines
What’s important for dolls and figurines is rarity. Recalled items are particularly rare, so despite being considered faulty at the time, they can earn thousands at auction.
A mint condition multipack of seven valuable Star Wars figures from The Empire Strikes Back fetched $26,800 at Sotheby’s. In 2006, a pristine, original Barbie was sold for $18,800 at auction. Its price tag in 1959 was just $1. That’s about a 1,500,000 percent profit!
Lego doesn’t play by the same rules as most investment toys. Older does not mean more valuable; Lego sets from before the year 2000 aren’t worth all that much. However, between 2000 and 2015 pristine condition Lego sets increased in value each year by 12%. Lego sets, particularly those tied to film promotions, are retired on a regular basis too, making them rarer and thus more valuable.
3. Board Games
Pass GO, collect hundreds of pounds! Pull your board game collection out of the attic to bring the family together at Christmas and you might be on to a nice little earner.
Forgotten games that never made it into the mainstream are better money-makers than popular vintage games like Monopoly which was more widely distributed.
Invented back in 1938, versions of the rolled-up scroll/board game Buccaneer last year sold for $250.
A vintage white box set of Dungeons and Dragons role-playing storybooks is listed on eBay with a price of $705 for a fifth printing. First printings could be worth a lot more.
4. Trading Cards
The Garbage Pail Kids—a parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids—were a series of extremely popular trading cards released in the mid-eighties. Rarer cards can be worth $1,000s. Listings on eBay include a Nasty Nick #1 card from 1985 at a price of $3,000 and an unreleased Adam Bomb II card with an asking price of $2,500.
Rare Pokémon cards can also catch the cash. Holofoil, secret, promotional and first edition cards are among the most valuable Pokémon cards, along with those with misprints on. A graded PSA 9 Pikachu Illustrator promo card sold on eBay in 2014 for $68,000.
5. Toy Cars
Highly collectable toy cars can sometimes command prices that wouldn’t look out of place at a life-sized car showroom. One collection, made up of 2,281 cars, was auctioned off for $126,000. One tiny Morris Minor from Matchbox with a rare paintjob was recently listed on eBay for $1,200.
Rare colour schemes and designs can bump up the price of popular Hot Wheels models from the sixties and seventies. A 1969 hot pink, rear-loading Volkswagen Beach Bomb, complete with surfboard accessory was bought for around $59,000 in 2000. Estimates now suggest the car is now worth between $101,000 and $153,000.
Worst Investment Toys
1. Beanie Babies
Consumers were fooled into thinking the toys would be a valuable commodity, but most Beanie Babies sold second hand barely make back the $4 they originally paid for them.
However, the first edition Princess Diana memorial bears, produced following her death in 1997, are some of the most valuable Beanie Babies around and are listed on eBay with an asking price of hundreds and occasionally thousands of pounds.
2. Hummel Figurines
These depictions of children in countryside scenes first appeared in 1935, based on drawings by German nun, Maria Innocentia Hummel. After soldiers returned home from World War II bearing them as gifts for their families, production shot up. By the sixties and seventies, Hummel’s figurines had entered airport gift shops, and continued intensive production, causing their value to plummet.
3. Cabbage Patch Kids
Mass production caused the devaluation of these ‘one of a kind’ dolls. Rarer models, such as the African American doll or dolls with freckles, can fetch greater sums, but most barely make more than $32.
You can see the full research from MBNA on their website.
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