I drive a 2000 Hyundai Elantra with its factory original tape deck. It's in "fair" shape -- low miles but a lotta dents. MSRP for this thing was about $12,000, and Blue Book value is now around $3,500. Let's take a look at some literal children's toys that cost more than my car would sell for today. (For "Hyundai Values" listed below, I'm assuming that $3,500 figure -- though lots of these toys would have beaten my car even when it was new!)
1. A Marble with Teddy Roosevelt's Likeness - $4,500
Value: 1.3 Hyundais
Yes, a single marble is worth more than my car. This sulphide marble, made in 1900, has a porcelain head of Roosevelt inside it. According to Yahoo!, this tiny sphere sold in 2011 for $4,500 -- it's one of three in the world.
2. Canturi Barbie - $302,500
Value: 86 Hyundais
Jewelry designer Stefano Canturi created this Barbie doll featuring a pink diamond necklace. It sold for $302,500 at Christie's in New York. But this item wasn't just about the bling -- the proceeds were donated to breast cancer research. Here's a video showing how the doll's jewelry and outfit were put together:
3. Star Wars Ewok Combat Playpack - $5,998.98
Value: 1.7 Hyundais
This toy set sold for about $17 in 1984, and it included everything you needed to stage a climactic battle between Storm Troopers and Ewoks. They weren't especially rare -- but kids actually played with most of them, making unopened sets surprisingly scarce. According to a collector, an unopened set sold for nearly six thousand bucks on eBay. This kinda makes me think twice about those guys with collections of unopened action figures -- maybe that's a sound investment after all.
4. Original G.I. Joe
Doll Action Figure - $200,000
Value: 57 Hyundais
This prototype G.I. Joe "Toy Soldier" made in 1963 sold on eBay for $200,000 in 2003. It's the original article upon which later G.I. Joe models were based, and it has 21 movable parts -- so you can pose him very carefully in lots of positions, while your brain screams: "This doll is too expensive to play with!"
5. De Beers Barbie - $85,000
Value: 24 Hyundais
In 1999, a commemorative De Beers Barbie was created to celebrate Barbie's 40th anniversary. It featured 160 diamonds on her gown. The price? $85,000. For a scantily-clad Barbie.
6. Steiff Limited Edition "Diamond Eyes Bear" - $193,000
Value: 55 Hyundais
Steiff makes teddy bears, and there are many Steiff bears that don't cost too much. But the company made a 125th anniversary bear featuring eyes made of sapphires and diamonds (with gold rims), gold-thread "fur," and a 24 karat gold medallion. I wonder if that medallion is a choking hazard.
Note: sources disagree on the final price for this bear; some say it's as low as $80k. I went ahead and picked a nice high one.
7. Urban Material Ch?gokin Statue - $20,000
Value: 5.7 Hyundais
Spotted by io9 at ComicCon in 2009, this statue is made of titanium and carbon fiber. It stands about two feet high, and represents a character from the Mazinger Z manga series. (In the series, "Ch?gokin" is a fictional super-metal used to build a gigantic robot. Titanium is close enough for me.)
8. "El Retorno Del Jedi™" Spanish Luke Skywalker Figure - $5,100 (Including Shipping)
Value: 1.5 Hyundais
An eBay auction finished on June 14 for what is apparently "the rarest Star Wars figure in existence." It's sealed in its container, and includes his Jedi Knight™ Outfit (sorry, Vestimenta Caballero Jedi™) -- which looks to me a lot like a burlap sack.
9. "Astronaut B" PEZ Dispenser - $32,205
Value: 9 Hyundais
If you're a PEZ Dispenser collector, the "Astronaut B" model is your holy grail -- created for the 1982 World's Fair, this prototype with a green stem and white astronaut helmet was never produced as a mass-market toy. Only two prototypes are known to exist. One of them sold at auction for more than thirty thousand smackaroos. No word on whether a package of PEZ candy was included.
10. G.I. Joe "Manimals Vortex MOC C-7" - $20,100
Value: 5.7 Hyundais
Hasbro canceled its line of "Manimals" G.I. Joe figures before they made it to store shelves in the 1990s. The figures had Transformer-like abilities, and a variety of models were produced -- they just never made it to market. Collectors estimate that this "Vortex MOC C-7" that sold on eBay for more than $20,000 is one of only two unopened figures in the world.
11. NES Legend of Zelda Prototype Cartridge - $55,000
Value: 16 Hyundais
Rare video games have been setting price records for years. Earlier this month, all previous records were shattered when a prototype Zelda cartridge sold for $55,000. The seller had been shooting for $150k (the "Buy it Now" price), but settled for this record-breaking bargain price instead. The cartridge still works, and can still save games.
You can watch the video below for a bit more on the prototype, or read obsessive details about an earlier prototype.