22 Things You Owned in the ‘90s That Are Worth a Fortune Today

Getty Images
Getty Images

The Beanie Baby boom may have been overblown, but that doesn’t mean that hanging onto vintage ‘90s toys was a terrible idea. Depending on what you kept from that era and what condition it's in, you could be sitting on a minor fortune in rare video games and toys. Here are 22 things you might have owned in the ‘90s that have majorly appreciated in value over the last decade or two.

1. POLLY POCKET

The tiny dolls and their compact playhouses have gotten larger since Mattel bought the brand in 1998, which might be why the original, actually pocket-sized Pollys have increased in value. A sealed Polly Pocket Jewel Case is worth $600 online, and some sellers offer sets like a Polly Pocket dream home for upwards of $500.

2. POKÉMON CARDS

Even in the ‘90s, a Charizard was a rare find. Now, those who really want to “catch ‘em all” will have to pay a high price to add a Charizard to their collections. A mint condition Charizard Holo card, from the first edition of Pokémon released in 1999, can fetch more than $5000. Complete first-edition card sets can cost $4600 to $8700.

3. POKÉMON FOR NINTENDO GAMEBOY

It’s not just Pokémon cards that have grown in value. Pokémon games for Nintendo Gameboy can also net owners a pretty penny. Red, Blue, and Yellow versions can cost several hundred dollars each. A sealed copy of Pokémon: Red sold for $405 earlier this year.

4. FURBY

If your Furby was too creepy for you to even take it out of the box as a child, you’re in luck. An original 1998 Furby recently sold for $700. Another limited edition toy from 1998 went for $405. Even used they can fetch high prices, like a working Kid Cuisine Furby that recently sold for $130.

5. CASTLEVANIA

The Dracula-based video game Castlevania is particularly valuable these days. Sealed versions of the game sell for upwards of $900, depending on the condition. A 1994 SEGA Genesis version of Castlevania: Bloodlines has sold for as much as $750; Nintendo NES editions of Castlevania and Castlevania 2 have sold for more than $950. A used copy of the 1990 PC game went for $585 in March.

6. M.U.S.H.A. FOR SEGA GENESIS

The 1990 shooting game M.U.S.H.A. is much-coveted on eBay, where it can sell for up to $500.

7. SUPER MARIO BROS FOR NES

You can play Super Mario Bros on a Wii these days, but some people are still on the lookout for the game’s original versions for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Super Mario Bros 3, released in 1990, has sold for as much as $960.

8. SUPER SOAKERS

A vintage Super Soaker Monster XL, which has the distinction of being one of the largest water guns ever sold, went for $500 this year. A used Super Soaker CPS, known for being the most powerful water gun ever, went for $300.

9. G.I. JOE ACTION FIGURES

Even used, Starduster, an action figure that you could get through the mail from Hasbro, can net you $300. Other G.I. Joe sets go for more, like an incomplete space shuttle complex that sold for $600. A used G.I. Joe Mobile Command Center can sell for $3000. Real American heroes don’t come cheap.

10. POWER RANGER ACTION FIGURES

The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers are now mighty valuable. A 1993 action figure the Carrier Zord (fighting machine) Titanus is worth $270. Other used Power Rangers toys have gone for around $200.

11. TRANSFORMERS ACTION FIGURES

If you’ve got a sealed Transformers figure stashed somewhere, sell it off, stat. A 1995 Megatron action figure sold for $750 earlier this year, and a pack with Optimus Prime and Megatron sold for $1000.

12. MAGIC: THE GATHERING CARDS

Magic: The Gathering debuted in 1993, and some of the earliest cards produced can fetch several thousand dollars from collectors. A sealed Alpha starter deck has sold for more than $8700, while a single Black Lotus alpha-deck card—one of only 1100 ever printed, considered the “holy grail” of Magic cards—is worth more than $27,000.

13. YU-GI-OH CARDS

A first-edition box of Yu-Gi-Oh cards can be worth more than a thousand bucks. First-edition Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon booster boxes have sold for up to $1450.

14. HOT WHEELS

Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt cars, first released in 1995, are still quite popular with collectors. A toy version of a 1967 Camaro recently sold for $509, and a set of 12 cars in the original box sells in the $1100 to $1550 range.

15. RC CARS

Vintage RC cars are worth several hundred dollars, even used. An unopened Kyosho 4Runner sold for $700 in March, while an incomplete, used Tamiya RC Ferrari from the early ‘90s sold for $140 in May 2016.

16. LEGO SETS

Sealed vintage LEGO sets might get you around $500 (for a King's Mountain Fortress set), while used sets are worth significantly less, especially if they don’t have instructions or a box. Still, a used castle set with no box can be worth between $125 and $190 if it’s complete.

17. WRESTLING SPECIALS

Some wrestling specials from the ‘90s are worth several hundred dollars today on VHS. A used 1996 tape from a match between Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage can sell for $200. A 1997 tape of World Champion Wrestling’s Great American Bash goes for around the same price.

18. STAMPS

A select number of rare stamps from the ‘90s get traded for (relatively) high prices among collectors. This 1997 sheet of Bugs Bunny stamps, for instance, sold for $90 in May. A set of 1992 Junior Duck Stamps (which can’t actually be used to mail anything, but benefit environmental conservation efforts) recently sold for a whopping $995.

19. BEANIE BABIES

No, your plush Ty toy collection isn’t worth the fortune you thought it would be during the Great Beanie Baby Craze of the late ‘90s, but if you’ve got an especially rare toy, you might still get a few hundred bucks—that is, if you kept the tag on. A Canadian blue elephant (Royal Blue Peanut) sold for $650 in April 2016. An authenticated Korean Raspberry Patti sold for the same. A wingless Quacker—one of about 780 ever shipped—sold for $1800 in March, although another wingless Quacker sold in April fetched just $430.

20. HAPPY MEAL TOYS

That giant bin full of old Happy Meal toys in the attic will not make you a millionaire, sadly (sorry, mom!) but certain ‘90s McDonalds toys can earn you back the cost of that Happy Meal and more. If you happen to have gotten a hold of an entire display—like this one for Super Mario 3 Happy Meals with four toys—you could get up to $400. (We already know Super Mario fans are intense about their collectibles.) But even the entire toy display for Tiny Toon Adventures meals only earned its seller $46, and a set of 46 unopened Furby toys sold for just $56, so the chances of you making it rich on Happy Meals toys are not great.

21. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ON VHS

In the modern era, VHS tapes can be surprisingly valuable, even if most people no longer own a VCR. The Disney classic Beauty and the Beast is a particular gold mine. Listings on eBay for a Black Diamond edition of the 1991 film run from $50 to $9000. And people do buy them: One sold for $1000 in April.

22. HARRY POTTER BOOKS

Some early Harry Potter novels are now worth big money. Only 500 copies of the first 1998 edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone—with Joanne Rowling listed as the author—were printed, making them extremely valuable now. One bookseller estimates that one could be worth up to $56,000.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Robert De Niro

RALPH GATTI, AFP/Getty Images
RALPH GATTI, AFP/Getty Images

Robert De Niro is part of the pantheon of independent-minded filmmakers who cut through Hollywood noise in the 1970s with edgier fare to create what became known as “The New Hollywood.” Following stints with Brian De Palma and Roger Corman, De Niro teamed up with Martin Scorsese for the first time with 1973's Mean Streets, which launched a fruitful artistic collaboration that has produced some of the best movies of the past half-century.

Even after his shift into commercial comedies like Meet the Parents, “dedication” has remained De Niro’s watchword. The two-time Oscar winner has earned Hollywood legend status with panache and bone-deep portrayals. Here are 10 facts about the filmmaker on his 75th birthday. (Yes, we’re talkin’ to you.)

1. HIS FIRST ROLE WAS IN A STAGING OF THE WIZARD OF OZ—AT AGE 10.

Robert De Niro got bit by the acting bug early. He threatened to thrash a hippopotamus from top to bottom-us as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz at the tender age of 10. (This is the remake and casting the world needs right now.)

2. HE DROPPED OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL TO PURSUE ACTING.

Robert De Niro arrives at the UK premiere of epic war drama film 'The Deer Hunter', UK, 28th February 1979
John Minihan, Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

De Niro’s mother, Virginia Admiral, was a painter whose work was part of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and his father, Robert De Niro, Sr., was a celebrated abstract expressionist painter. So the apple falling into drama school instead of the art studio still isn’t that far from the tree. Having already gotten a youthful dose of stage life, De Niro quit his private high school to try to become an actor. He first went to the nonprofit HB Studio before studying under Stella Adler and, later, The Actors Studio.

3. HE’S A DUAL CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITALY.

De Niro is American, Italian-American, and, as of 2004, Italian. The country bestowed honorary citizenship upon De Niro as an honor in recognition of his career, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing to the passport office. A group called the Order of the Sons of Italy in America strongly protested the Italian government’s plan due to De Niro’s frequent portrayal of negative Italian-American stereotypes.

4. HE GAINED 60 POUNDS FOR RAGING BULL.

Preparing to play the misfortune-laden boxing champ Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull required two major things from De Niro: training and gaining. For the latter, De Niro ate his way through Europe during a four-month binge of ice cream and pasta. His 60-pound-gain was dramatic enough that it concerned Martin Scorsese. It was one way to show dedication to a role, but the training element was even more impressive. De Niro got so good at boxing that when LaMotta set up several professional-level sparring bouts for the actor, De Niro won two of them.

5. HE AND MARLON BRANDO ARE THE ONLY ACTORS TO WIN OSCARS FOR PLAYING THE SAME CHARACTER.

De Niro won his first Oscar in 1975 for The Godfather: Part II, for portraying the younger version of Vito Corleone—the wizened capo played by Marlon Brando, who also won an Oscar for the role (Brando’s came in 1973, for The Godfather). No other pair of actors has managed the feat, although Jeff Bridges came close in 2010 when he was nominated for playing Rooster Cogburn in Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit (a role originated by John Wayne in Henry Hathaway’s 1969 movie of the same name). Oddly enough, Bridges was in contention for the role of Travis Bickle, the role that earned De Niro his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

6. HE DROVE A CAB TO PREPARE FOR TAXI DRIVER.

If you’re looking for commitment to a role, ask Hack #265216. De Niro got a taxicab driver’s license to study up to play Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver and spent several weekends cruising around New York City picking up fares. It’s possible that having his teeth filed down for Cape Fear is the most intense transformation he’s undergone for a role, but picking up a part-time job to live the lonely life of Bickle is more humane.

7. ONE OF HIS FILMS POSTPONED ONE OF HIS OSCAR WINS.

The 53rd Academy Awards—where De Niro won for playing Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull—were originally scheduled for March 30, 1981 but were postponed until the following day because of an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. The would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr., claimed the attack was intended to impress Jodie Foster, who, Hinckley, Jr. grew obsessed with after watching Taxi Driver.

8. HE LAUNCHED THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL IN THE WAKE OF 9/11.

Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal speak onstage at the 'Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives' Premiere during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City
Theo Wargo, Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Producer Jane Rosenthal, philanthropist Craig M. Hatkoff, and De Niro founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2001 as a showcase for independent films that would hopefully “spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan” after the devastation of the 9/11 terror attacks. With its empire state of mind, the inaugural festival in 2002 featured a “Best of New York Series” handpicked by Martin Scorsese and drew an astonishing 150,000 attendees.

9. HE WAS ONCE INTERROGATED BY FRENCH POLICE CONCERNING A PROSTITUTION RING.

One of the most bizarre chapters in De Niro’s life came when he was publicly named in the investigation of a prostitution ring in Paris. The 1998 incident included a lengthy interrogation session (De Niro filed an official complaint) and a pile of paparazzi waiting for him when he left the prosecutor’s office. De Niro railed against the entire country, vowing to return his Legion of Honour and telling Le Monde newspaper that, "I will never return to France. I will advise my friends against going to France.” (He had cooled off enough by 2011 to act as the Cannes Film Festival’s jury president.)

10. HE LOVED THE CAT(S) IN MEET THE PARENTS.

Meet the Parents’s Mr. Jinx (Jinxy!) was played by two Himalayans named Bailey and Misha, and De Niro fell in love with them. He played with them between scenes, kept kibble in his pocket for them, and asked director Jay Roach to have Mr. Jinx in as many scenes as possible.

10 Fascinating Facts About Davy Crockett

By William Henry Huddle, American, 1847 - 1892 - State of Texas/Larry D. Moore, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
By William Henry Huddle, American, 1847 - 1892 - State of Texas/Larry D. Moore, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Born on August 17, 1786, backwoods statesman Davy Crockett's life has often been obscured by myth. Even during his lifetime, fanciful stories about his adventures were transforming him into a buck-skinned superhero. And after his death, the tales kept growing taller. So let’s separate fact from fiction.

1. HE RAN AWAY FROM HOME AT AGE 13.

When Davy was 13, his father paid for him to go to a school. But just four days in, Davy was bullied by a bigger and older boy. Never one to back down from a fight, one day Crockett waited in a bush along the road home until evening. When the boy and his gang walked up the road, Crockett leaped from the bush and, as he later wrote in his autobiography, set on him like a wild cat.” Terrified that the schoolmaster would whip him for beating one of the boys so severely, he decided to start playing hooky.

His father, John, was furious when a letter inquiring about his son's poor attendance showed up. Grabbing a stick, he chased after Davy, who fled. The teen spent the next few years traveling from his native Tennessee to Maryland, performing odd jobs. When he returned, Crockett’s parents didn’t recognize him at first. Following an emotional reunion, it was agreed that Davy would stick around long enough to help work off some family debts. About a year later, all these were satisfied, and Crockett left for good not long after.

2. HE NEARLY DIED IN A BOATING ACCIDENT.

After serving under General Andrew Jackson in the Tennessee militia, Crockett got into politics. Elected as a state legislator, he served two terms between 1821 and 1823. After losing his seat in 1825, Crockett chose an unlikely new profession for himself: barrel manufacturing. The entrepreneur hired a team to cut staves (the boards with which barrels are constructed) that he planned on selling in New Orleans. Once 30,000 were prepared, Crockett and his team loaded the shipment onto a pair of flatboats and traveled down the Mississippi River. There was just one problem: The shoddy vessels proved impossible to steer.

With no means of redirecting them, the one carrying Crockett ran into a mass of driftwood and began to capsize, with Crockett trapped below deck. Springing to action, his mates on the other boat pulled him out through a small opening. The next day, a traveling merchant rescued them all.

3. HE CLAIMED TO HAVE KILLED 105 BEARS IN ONE YEAR.

If his autobiography can be believed, the expert marksman and his dogs managed to kill 105 bears during a seven-month stretch from 1825 to 1826. Back then, bear flesh and pelts were highly profitable items, as were the oils yielded by their fat—and Crockett’s family often relied on ursid meat to last through the winter.

4. A SUCCESSFUL PLAY HELPED MAKE HIM A CELEBRITY.


By Painted by A.L. De Rose; engraved by Asher B Durand - Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Crockett ran for Congress in 1827, winning the right to represent western Tennessee. Four years later, a new show titled The Lion of the West wowed New York theatergoers. The hit production revolved around a fictitious Kentucky congressman named Colonel Nimrod Wildfire, whose folksy persona was clearly based on Crockett. Before long, the public grew curious about the flesh-and-blood man behind this character. So, in 1833, an unauthorized Crockett biography was published.

Sketches and Eccentricities of Colonel David Crockett of West Tennessee became a bestseller—much to its subject’s chagrin. Feeling that Sketches distorted his life’s story (although, to be fair, it began, “No one, at this early age, could have foretold that he was ever to ride upon a streak of lightning, receive a commission to quiet the fears of the world, by wringing off the tail of a comet,” so it's unlikely anyone thought it was a straight biography), the politician retaliated with an even more successful autobiography the very next year.

When The Lion of the West came to Washington, Crockett finally watched the play that started it all. That night, actor David Hackett was playing Col. Wildfire. As the curtain rose, he locked eyes with Crockett. They ceremoniously bowed to each other and the crowd went wild.

5. HE RECEIVED A FEW RIFLES AS POLITICAL THANK YOU GIFTS.

Over the course of his life, Crockett wielded plenty of firearms; two of the most significant were named “Betsy.” Midway through his state assembly career, he received “Old Betsy,” a .40-caliber flintlock presented to him by his Lawrence county constituents in 1822 (today, it can be found at the Alamo Museum in San Antonio). At some point during the 1830s, Crockett’s congressional tenure was rewarded with a gorgeous gold-and-silver-coated gun by the Whig Society of Philadelphia. Her name? “Fancy Betsy.”

If you’re curious, the mysterious woman after whom these weapons were christened was either his oldest sister or his second wife, Elizabeth Patton.

6. HE PUT A LOT OF EFFORT INTO MAINTAINING HIS WILD IMAGE.


By John Gadsby Chapman - Art Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

For somebody who once called fashion “a thing I care mighty little about,” Crockett gave really detailed instructions to portraitists. Most likenesses, the politician complained, made him look like “a sort of cross between a clean-shirted Member of Congress and a Methodist preacher.” For the portrait above—arguably the world’s most dynamic painting of Crockett, as rendered by the esteemed John Gadsby Chapman—Crockett asked the artist to portray him rallying dogs during a bear hunt. Crockett purchased all manner of outdoorsy props and insisted that he be shown holding up his cap, ready to give “a shout that raised the whole neighborhood.”

7. HE COMMITTED POLITICAL SUICIDE BY SPEAKING OUT AGAINST ANDREW JACKSON'S NATIVE AMERICAN POLICY.

Andrew Jackson was a beloved figure in Tennessee, and Crockett’s vocal condemnation of the President’s 1830 Indian Removal Act didn’t win him many friends back home. “I believed it was a wicked, unjust measure,” the congressman later asserted, “and that I should go against it, let the cost against me be what it might.” He then narrowly lost his 1831 reelection bid to William Fitzgerald, who was supported by Jackson. In 1833, Crockett secured a one-term congressional stint as an anti-Jacksonian, after which he bid Tennessee farewell, famously saying, “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.”

8. HE REALLY DID WEAR A COONSKIN HAT (SOMETIMES).


Harry Kerr/BIPs/Getty Images

Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett TV serial triggered a national coonskin hat craze in the 1950s. Suiting up for the title role was square-jawed Fess Parker, who was seldom seen on-camera without his trusty coonskin cap. Children adored Davy’s rustic hat and, at the peak of the show's popularity, an average of 5000 replicas were sold every day.

But did the historical Crockett own one? Yes, although we don’t know how often he actually wore it. Some historians argue that, later in life, he started donning the accessory more often so as to capitalize on The Lion of the West (Col. Wildfire rocked this kind of headgear). One autumn morning in 1835, the frontiersman embarked upon his journey to Texas, confident that the whole Crockett clan would reunite there soon. As his daughter Matilda later recalled, he rode off while “wearing a coonskin cap.” She’d never see him again.

9. THERE'S SOME DEBATE ABOUT HIS FALL AT THE ALAMO.

It's clear that Crockett was killed during or just after the Battle of the Alamo in 1836—but the details surrounding his death are both murky and hotly-contested. A slave named Joe claimed to have spotted Crockett’s body lying among a pile of deceased Mexican soldiers. Mrs. Suzannah Dickinson (whose husband had also been slain in the melee) told a similar story, as did San Antonio mayor Francisco Ruiz.

On the flip side, The New Orleans True American and a few other newspapers reported that Crockett was actually captured and—once the fighting stopped—executed by General Santa Anna’s men. In 1955, more evidence apparently surfaced when a long-lost diary written by Lieutenant Colonel José Enrique de la Peña saw publication. The author writes of witnessing “the naturalist David Crockett” and six other Americans being presented to Santa Anna, who promptly had them killed.

Some historians dismiss the document as a forgery, but others claim that it’s authentic. Since 2000, two separate forensics teams have taken the latter position. However, even if de la Peña really did write this account, the famous Tennessean still might have died in combat beforehand—perhaps the Mexican officer mistook a random prisoner for Crockett on the day in question.

10. DURING SPORTING EVENTS, A STUDENT DRESSED LIKE CROCKETT RALLIES UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE FANS.


Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Smokey the hound dog might get all the attention, but the school has another mascot up its sleeve. On game days, a student known simply as “the Volunteer” charges out in Crockett-esque regalia, complete with buck leather clothes, a coonskin cap, and—occasionally—a prop musket.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER