15 Happy Meal Toys Worth Big Bucks on eBay

ebay user hideho
ebay user hideho

It's time to go through the attic, the garage, and the boxes at your parents' house. If you saved your old Happy Meal toys, you could be sitting on a goldmine.

1. HAPPY MEAL CHANGEABLES // UP TO $140

A photo of transformed McDonalds Changeables Happy Meal toys.
ebay user kp11912003

These toys may have looked like mini versions of McDonald's fare, including a container of fries, a carton of chicken nuggets, and a milk shake, but with the right touch, they transformed into mini robots. The 1987 series was popular enough that McDonald's revisited the idea in 1989 and 1990. An assortment of the little guys are being sold for anywhere from $20 to $70, with one complete and sealed lot recently selling for $140.

2. MONSTERS, INC. // UP TO $100

A set of Monsters, Inc. toys in their packages.
eBay user 4bloomers

Five years before Disney put the brakes on its relationship with McDonald's (reportedly due to the health implications of fast food, although both sides denied this), they teamed up to promote the newly released feature Monsters, Inc., releasing a set of 10 toys with glow-in-the-dark pieces alongside doors or similar props. Individual pieces can easily sell for $5 a piece, but a complete, unopened set of the limited release toys can be yours for $100.

3. 101 DALMATIANS // UP TO $70

A box of 101 Dalmations Happy Meal Toys.
eBay user kingdaddy50

There’s a reason this complete set from 1996 is worth up to $70—there were literally 101 of them to collect. McDonald’s even released a special case to contain the pack of puppies.

4. 102 DALMATIANS // UP TO $70

A 102 Dalmations box for sale on eBay.
eBay user danddscifi

If you missed the first promotion, you got another shot at success in 2000: The 1996 tie-in was so successful, Disney and McDonald’s teamed up again for 102 Dalmatians—and a complete set of the pups will net you $70.

5. MADAME ALEXANDER DOLLS // MORE THAN $80

A set of 7 small Madame Alexander dolls dressed like Wizard of Oz characters.

eBay user piranhabt

Full-size Madame Alexander dolls are hot items among collectors—vintage dolls in good condition can sell for well over $1000. The Happy Meal-sized versions aren’t worth quite as much, but they’re still a decent return on the price of a Happy Meal. McDonald’s and Madame Alexander have teamed up several times over the years, but the Wizard of Oz collection from 2007/8 seems to be worth the most—they've sold for more than $80. (Someone put an autographed set up for sale for $599, but it didn't sell.)

6. DIENER KESHI // UP TO $80

Produced in the late '70s and early '80s, Diener Keshi figures are some of the earliest examples of Happy Meal toys. There were several series of the little rubber creatures, including sea creatures, dinosaurs, circus characters, and cars. Some sets are being sold for up to $80.

7. MCFURBYS // UP TO $899

126 mini Furby toys laid out in rows on a wooden table.

eBay user beyondtetra

McDonald's wholeheartedly embraced the Furby craze of the late '90s. From March 22 to April 22, 1999, collectors could get 80 different mini-Furbys with their Happy Meals. A whole set was put up for sale for $899. That one didn't sell, but a lot of 126 toys—not in mint condition—went for $75. While the 2016 release of Furby Connect brought a matching Happy Meal promotion along with it, it didn't quite have the same impact as the 1999 release.

8. POTATO HEAD KIDS // UP TO $80

Four Potato Head Kids Happy Meal toys.
eBay user avintageguy

Long before Toy Story brought Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head back into vogue, McDonald's made Potato Head Kids—little plastic spuds with removable pieces and a lot of personality—for its Happy Meals. Partial sets frequently go for $20 to $30, and a full set of 12, even with a few pieces missing, is on sale for $80.

9. SNOOPY WORLD TOUR // UP TO $200

A box of Snoopy Happy Meal toys in their bags.
eBay user esquiredeals

This promotion hit Asian markets in the late '90s, and, like the 101 and 102 Dalmatians series, this one came with a special display case to house the whole collection. A full box, complete with 28 international-themed Snoopy figurines, can set you back nearly $200 on eBay. (If you're curious, the themes are Fiji, Ireland, Mexico, Jamaica, China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela, USA, New Zealand, Indonesia, Poland, Romania, Trinidad, Macao, Thailand, Yugoslavia, Japan, Australia, Panama, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Hawaii, Holland, Finland, Korea, and Taiwan.)

10. SNOOPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY // UP TO $60


eBay user kanna01anna

Apparently there's always a market for Snoopy. The year 2000 marked Snoopy's 50th anniversary, and to celebrate, McDonald's released a series of toy parade cars, including Cyber Snoopy, Jammin' Snoopy, and Journey Into Space Snoopy. If you've got the complete set still in the bags, you just might have close to $60 on your hands. Unwrapped and slightly used may still be worth $43.99.

11. TEENIE BEANIE BABIES // UP TO $100

A grid of McDonald's Happy Meal beanie baby toys, including several themed like McDonald's characters.

eBay user vnwithers

Even McDonald's got caught up in the Beanie Babies craze that swept the world in the 1990s. The fast food giant's partnership with Ty in 1997 was so hot that employees stole boxes of Beanies and phone lines were flooded by customers asking about the latest shipment. McDonald’s ran other Teenie Beanie promotions after the '90s ended, but none was as crazed as the first. In 2004, McDonald's employees were able to order a collector's set commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Happy Meal, featuring Beanies named Golden Arches, Big Red Shoe, McNuggets, Fries, Burger, Happy Meal, and Shake. The set also included a few themed after Ronald McDonald himself, and his McDonaldland pals Grimace, Hamburglar, and Birdie. (What, no Mayor McCheese?) The limited edition box with beanies still in their packages was listed at $100.

12. POWER RANGERS // UP TO $40

A set of 1994 Power Rangers Happy Meal toys in bags.
eBay user kateunc2

Like Teenie Beanie Babies, Power Rangers has teamed up with McDonald's several times over the years to promote various projects and movies. Having any of those sets can earn you some extra cash—a set of 11 toys sold for for $35, while nine toys from 1994 were listed for $32.50.

13. MCNUGGET BUDDIES // UP TO $35

A set of McNugget buddies in Halloween costumes.
eBay user mcjantone

McNugget Buddies—anthropomorphic chicken nuggets dressed to impress—were intermittently featured in Happy Meals from 1988 to the mid-’90s. The nostalgia factor probably drives the price up on these bite-sized toys: Six of the Halloween-themed Buddies sell for $35, and certain figures might be worth more, like this McNugget dressed as a dragon for $18.99.

14. MR. MEN // UP TO $89.99

A purple Mr. Men Happy Meal toy.
eBay user ryehill_retail

If you have a complete set of these Roger Hargreaves Happy Meal characters, your friends might start calling you Mr. Rich. (Or at least "Mr. Lunch-Is-On-Me.") The Mr. Men have been featured in several McDonald's promotions across the world, including plush and plastic versions. This lot of 40 plushies is going for $89.99.

15. A FULL SET OF MINIONS // UP TO $399 FOR MULTIPLE SETS

Rows of McDonald's Minion happy meal toys on a wooden background.

eBay user bob_the_spy

McDonald’s has released Minions toys to coincide with a few of the Despicable Me movies and the Minions spinoff, with the most recent set showing up in Happy Meals just a few months ago. If you have a complete set of any of them or a combination of all of them (or a rare foreign example), you’ll definitely make a few bucks.

The Bird or Bunny Optical Illusion Could Have You Second-Guessing Your Eyesight

jamesvancouver/iStock via Getty Images
jamesvancouver/iStock via Getty Images

The internet can't resist a mind-bending illusion. Some of the most popular ones to go viral feature content that can be interpreted two ways: The infamous dress ignited a web-wide controversy over whether it was black and blue or white and gold, and the "yanny or laurel" audio clip messed with people's ears instead of their eyes. The latest illusion the internet can't agree on is a video of someone petting a raven—or is it a rabbit? Watch the clip below and decide for yourself.

Paige Davis, the curator of bird training at the World Bird Sanctuary, shared this video of a white-necked raven more than two years ago. A biological psychiatry researcher named Dan Quintana recently found the clip on Imgur's Twitter account and tweeted it with the caption: "Rabbits love getting stroked on their nose."

"By first directing the viewer's attention to the nose, I was trying to distract viewers from the ears/beak, one of the clear giveaways that this was a video of a raven," Quintana wrote in a blog post.

With its head tilted back, it's easy to mistake the raven's beak for bunny ears and the top of its head for a nose. But a few details—like its translucent nictitating membrane that closes across the eye horizontally—indicate that it's really a bird.

This video is a real-life version of one of the most famous illustrated illusions of all time. Like the raven vs. rabbit clip, this drawing, sketched by American psychologist Joseph Jastrow in 1899, depicts either a duck facing left or a bunny facing right. There is no "right" way to view this illusion: Jastrow drew it to see how fast viewers could switch from one perception to the other.

Even though we know which animal the subject of this latest illusion really is, it still works with Jastrow's test: Watch the clip again and see if you can force your mind to go back and forth between seeing a bird and a rabbit. After that exercise, here are some more optical illusions to break your brain.

Hard Sell: A History of the Pet Rock

Amazon
Amazon

You may have heard the story of the Pet Rock, the Mexican beach stone that could be purchased in bulk for less than a penny, retailed for $3.95, and made inventor Gary Dahl a millionaire during a kind of novelty gift hysteria in late 1975. But Dahl didn’t really get rich off of the rock.

He got rich off of a cardboard box.

Dahl was working as a freelance advertising copywriter in California that year when, while having drinks at a bar with friends, the conversation turned to the destructive nature of pets. Dogs and cats ruined furniture. Worse, they required constant attention, from being walked to being fed to cleaning up after them. Dahl said that he didn’t have to worry about any of that because he had a “pet rock.”

It was, of course, a joke. And it got a laugh. But Dahl decided there could be more to it than that. He went home and began writing an owner’s manual for this hypothetical pet rock, which detailed how best to handle it, the tricks it could perform (“play dead” being the most popular), and how it could remain a faithful companion due to its “long life span.” The gag was not so much the rock itself but the way it was presented. In addition to the manual, Dahl conceived of a cardboard box with air holes that resembled the kind used by pet shops. It also bore a passing resemblance to a McDonald's Happy Meal container.

 

Dahl's motivation in making a serious effort to monetize his pet rock idea was due in large part to his precarious financial situation at the time—he was struggling to keep up with his bills. He recruited George Coakley and John Heagerty, two colleagues, to come on as investors. They both signed on, with Coakley investing $10,000—a not-inconsiderable sum in 1975, especially when the intention was to sell virtually worthless rocks.

The Pet Rock packaging is pictured
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Dahl, however, knew what he was marketing. Like chattering teeth, the Hula Hoop, and other fads, the Pet Rock was the beneficiary of good timing. Vietnam had ended but Watergate was still fresh; the country’s mood was slightly downcast, and Dahl believed people would see the inane nature of the Pet Rock and recognize the humor of it. He boxed the rocks with the manual and packed them in excelsior, which may be best known as comic book legend Stan Lee’s catchphrase but also means a softwood shaving pile meant for protecting fragile items. The rocks were purchased from a local sand and gravel company, which sourced them from Mexico’s Rosarita Beach. Dahl debuted the rock at a gift show in San Francisco in August of 1975, then waited for a reaction.

He got one. People understood the appeal right away and he began taking orders. Neiman Marcus wanted 1000 rocks. Bloomingdale’s later signed on. Newsweek did a story with a picture, which spread the word. Dahl had retail and media credibility for what was superficially a nonsense product. His bar joke was turning into a national phenomenon.

When the holiday season arrived, Dahl estimated he was selling up to 100,000 Pet Rocks a day. Ultimately, he would sell between 1.3 and 1.5 million of them within a period of just a few months. Coakley made $200,000 back on his initial $10,000 investment. Dahl gifted both Coakley and Heagerty with Mercedes. Making 95 cents in profit on each Pet Rock sold, Dahl earned over $1 million. He launched his own firm, Rock Bottom Productions, which was itself another joke. “You’ve reached Rock Bottom” is how the receptionist answered their phone.

 

The fad did not last—by definition, they’re not designed to—but Dahl was satisfied. His two investors were not; they "claimed they had received too small a share of the profits" and later sued Dahl for more revenue. After a judgment in the investors' favor, Dahl wrote them a six-figure check.

The Pet Rock is pictured
Amazon

There were attempts to prolong the life of the rock by offering a Bicentennial version in 1976—it had the American flag painted on it—and mail-order college degrees for them. Dahl sold Pet Rock T-shirts and Pet Rock shampoo. There were also copycat gifts, since Dahl could not really patent a rock. (He might have been able to obtain a utility patent because of the rock’s particular purpose as a companion, but he did not.) The humor was transient, however, and people had moved on.

Dahl had other ideas. There was the Official Sand Breeding Kit, which claimed to provide guidance on growing sand, and Canned Earthquake, which consisted of a coffee can that had a wind-up mechanism that caused it to jump around on a table. Neither was particularly successful. Dahl’s real passion, though, was buying and renovating a bar in Los Gatos, which he named Carrie Nation’s Saloon.

This was not without its problems, as people who believed they had the next Pet Rock would often stop by the bar to try and secure an audience with Dahl for his insight. Many times, their idea consisted of packaging bull or elephant excrement. There were also proposals to market a pet stick. Dahl had no patience for these inventors, believing the Pet Rock could not be duplicated. Later, he went back to advertising after taking what he described as an “eight-year vacation” following the success of his project.

The Pet Rock can still be found online, though it’s no longer Dahl’s business. He died in 2015. Of the unsold rocks he had left over at the end of the fad, he was indifferent. If they didn’t sell, he said, he would just use them to repave his driveway.

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