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

Amanda, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Amanda, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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 and early 2000s that have majorly appreciated in value over the last few decades.

1. Polly Pocket

Open Polly Pocket sets on a table
Herry Lawford, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Tiny Polly Pocket 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. Sealed sets can net you hundreds of dollars on eBay, particularly those made between 1989 and 1998. A sealed Polly Pocket Jewel Case sold for$600 in 2016, and while a Polly Pocket Carry 'N Play Dream Home sold $550 that year. In 2017, an eBay lot featuring 69 different Polly Pocket compacts and more than 100 figures sold for almost $900, while in late 2018, a single Polly's Crystal Ball set went for $600.

2. Pokémon Cards

Hands shuffle Pokémon cards at a tournament
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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—or more. A February 2019 eBay auction started the bidding for a first-edition holographic Charizard set in mint condition at almost $12,000.

3. Pokémon for Nintendo Game Boy

A red Pokémon game cartridge
mrbalcom, Pixabay

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 Version sold for $405 in 2016, while the same game sold for $500 in January 2019. Nor is that the biggest auction of one of the games—a February 2019 seller started bidding on eBay at more than $800 for a sealed copy of Pokémon Crystal Version.

4. Furby

A yellow Furby
Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

If your Furby was too creepy for you to even take it out of the box as a child, you're in luck. A few years ago, original 1998 Furby recently sold for $700. Another limited edition toy from 1998 went for $405. Even used they can fetch high prices. A working Kid Cuisine Furby sold for $130 back in 2016, while in early 2019, a set of 12 used Furbys sold for $500.

5. Castlevania

The Dracula-inspired video game Castlevania is particularly valuable these days. Sealed versions of the game sell for upwards of $800, depending on the game and the condition. A 1994 Sega Genesis version of Castlevania: Bloodlines has sold for as much as $750 in the past, while Nintendo SNES editions of Castlevania: Dracula X regularly sell for more than $1000. A used copy of the 1990 PC game went for $585 in March 2016.

6. M.U.S.H.A. for Sega Genesis

A copy of M.U.S.H.A. for Sega Genesis in its box
Seismic, Amazon

The 1990 shooting game M.U.S.H.A. is much-coveted on eBay, where it can sell for up to $500. Even items that aren't in totally pristine condition are worth good money. A copy of the game that comes with a damaged manual was listed for $425 in early 2019, while one currently listed on Amazon (seen above) is available for $372.

7. SUPER MARIO BROS FOR NES

A Super Mario Bros. 3 game next to an NES console
Martin Bergesen, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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
Savager, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

A vintage Super Soaker Monster XL, which has the distinction of being one of the largest water guns ever sold, went for $500 back in 2016. That same year, a used Super Soaker CPS, known for being the most powerful water gun ever, went for $300. UK-based Wikipedia user Savager reports that he or she sold their 1996 CPS Super Soaker (above) for £140 in 2006. Based on inflation and today's exchange rate, that’s about $266 now.

9. G.I. Joe Action Figures

A vintage G.I. Joe prototype on display
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Even used, Starduster, an action figure that you could get through the mail from Hasbro back in 1988, can net you $300 on eBay. Other G.I. Joe sets go for more, like an incomplete space shuttle complex that sold for $600 in May 2016. A used G.I. Joe Mobile Command Center, on the other hand, can sell for $3000, while a U.S.S. Flagg aircraft carrier can sell for more than $1100. Real American heroes don’t come cheap.

10. Power Rangers Action Figures

Power Rangers action figures
Richard Lewis, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers are now mighty valuable. A 1993 action figure the Carrier Zord (fighting machine) Titanus is worth $300. Other used Power Rangers toys have gone for more than $200 in recent years.

11. Transformers Action Figures

A Transformers action figure and cassette
Joe Haupt, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

If you’ve got a sealed Transformers figure stashed somewhere, sell it off, stat. A 1995 Megatron action figure sold for $750 in 2016, and a pack with Optimus Prime and Megatron sold for $1000. An Abominus combiner set recently sold for $480.

12. Magic: The Gathering Cards

Players at a table playing Magic: The Gathering

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. Even an empty Alpha deck box is worth at least $85.

13. Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards

Yu-Gi-Oh! cards on a table
Timothy Tsui, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

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. Just a single card from one of those booster boxes is worth $550, even if it's been played and has moderate wear.

14. Hot Wheels

A Hot Wheels 67 Pontiac GTO toy car
Hot Wheels 67 Pontiac GTO
iStock.com/CTRPhotos

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. Even an incomplete set can go for upwards of $800.

15. RC Cars

A Ferrari RC toy
ZANTAFIO56, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Vintage RC Cars are worth several hundred dollars each, even used. An unopened Kyosho 4Runner sold for $700 in March 2016, while an incomplete, used Tamiya RC Ferrari from the early '90s sold for $140 a few months later. (One of the Ferrari 312B models above fetches between $100 and $200 on eBay.) A used Nitro RC Car sold for $2000 in January 2019.

16. LEGO Sets

A Star Wars Snowspeeder LEGO set
A Star Wars Snowspeeder LEGO set released in 1999

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. And it's not just decades-old LEGOs that are valuable. A 2007 Star Wars Millennium Falcon set recently sold for $1800.

17. Wrestling Specials

Hulk Hogan's Hulkmania tour in 2009
Paul Kane/Getty Images

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, while a used Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament VHS from 1986 is worth up to $400.

18. Stamps

Postage stamps in a collector's book
iStock.com/ideabug

A select number of rare stamps from the '90s get traded for (relatively) high prices among collectors. A 1997 sheet of Bugs Bunny stamps, for instance, sold for $90 in May 2016. 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

Los Angeles Lakers player A.C. Green stands with a green Beanie Baby bear on his head during a game in 2000.
MIKE FIALA/AFP/Getty Images

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, or one with some kind of manufacturing defect, you might still get a few hundred bucks—that is, if you kept the tag on. A Peace bear that features several errors sold for $4000 recently, while a Britannia bear sold for $2000. A wingless Quacker—one of about 780 ever shipped—sold for $1800 in March 2016, although another wingless Quacker sold in April of that year fetched just $430.

20. Happy Meal Toys

A Happy Meal from McDonald's
DocChewbacca, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

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.) Another lot featuring hundreds of Happy Meal and other fast food toys recently sold for $145. But even the entire toy display for Tiny Toon Adventures meals only earned its seller $46 a few years ago, and a set of 46 unopened Furby toys sold for as little as $56, so the chances of you making it rich on Happy Meals toys are not great.

21. Beauty and the Beast on VHS

Stacks of Disney VHS tapes

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 $17 to $12,000. And people do buy them: One sold for $10,000 in January 2019.

22. Harry Potter Books

A signed early edition of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' on display
NEIL HANNA/AFP/Getty Images

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. Some other books in the series are a bit less valuable, but can still sell for far beyond list price. A pair of early-edition books signed by J.K. Rowling were recently appraised on Antiques Roadshow as being worth up to $4000.

A version of this story first ran in 2016.

15 Forgotten Summertime Activities We Need To Bring Back

iStock/wundervisuals
iStock/wundervisuals

Summer is here and it’s time to enjoy the sunshine. It’s also the perfect time to take a break from technology. Ditch your TV, shut down social media, and go outside. To do what, you might ask? Here are 15 summer activities from yesteryear that we should totally revive in popular culture.

1. Skipping rocks

Here’s a recipe for a classic summer: put down the video game, go outside, and throw rocks at water. Once you’ve mastered the flick of the wrist required to get the right amount of spin on your stone, it’s hard to stop counting how many skips you get on each throw.

2. Playing loggits

This game played in Tudor England was sort of like a cheap version of horseshoes. Players stuck a stick in the ground and took turns throwing other sticks at it. Whoever got their stick closest to the target won the game. Consider this activity more proof that all you need to have fun is some yard debris and a sunny day. 

3. Rolling a hoop

Two young girls rolling hoops in a London park in the 1930s
Fox Photos/Getty Images

You’ve probably seen this one in old-timey paintings, but chances are you’ve never rolled a hoop. The activity, also known as trundling a hoop, requires nothing more than a wooden hoop and a small wooden rod like a dowel. For centuries, kids amused themselves by running along and tapping the hoop with the rod to keep it rolling on a straight course. Easy to learn but tough to master, this one kept generations of kids out of mischief. 

4. Having an outdoor dance

“Schottische” is a traditional folk dance, much like a slower polka. It has long been a popular dance at Swedish midsummer festivals, which celebrate the season’s warmth and long daylight hours.

5. Growing giant vegetables

Giant pumpkins in a field in China
China Photos/Getty Images

Giant crop competitions appear in several state fairs. The tradition is particularly notable in Alaska, where longer sunlight hours during the summer make growing enormous produce easier. One Alaskan has grown seven world-record-sized vegetables, including a 76-pound cabbage! Most people no longer grow their own food, but taking pride in creating something uniquely huge is a vital American tradition.

6. Using bathing machines

Before string bikinis were considered appropriate beach attire, Victorian ladies frolicked in the surf within the confines of a bathing machine. These private carts gave women a sheltered space to change their clothes right on the water. Sure, most women are no longer afraid of being seen in a bathing suit, but wouldn’t it be nice to have your own private hut in the surf?

7. Heading to the summer farm

In agrarian Scandinavia, farmers traditionally lived on one farm during the winter and on another in the summer. When the weather warmed, farmers would take their livestock up into the mountains to feed in the meadows while they made repairs and grew hay on their home farm. Milkmaids would stay in the mountains for the summer months with the goats, sheep, and cows, milking them to make butter and cheese. A scenic rural getaway surrounded by dairy products? Yes, please. 

8. Sculpting things out of butter

Carving sculptures out of chilled butter is an American art that dates back to the 1870s, when a woman from Arkansas sculpted the main character of a 19th century Danish play in bas relief using brooms and sticks for Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exhibition. The activity later became a staple of state fairs, and while it still goes on today, the practice could really use a revival in general culture. The best art is edible.

9. Playing a sidewalk game

Young girls play hopscotch on a sidewalk in the 1970s
Ian Tyas/Getty Images

In early 20th century New York City, kids played a popular street game called Skully. They would draw a large square on the asphalt or cement with several numbered boxes drawn inside the board, then flick bottle caps onto those targets in numerical order.

10. Having a garden party

Victorian England was known for its garden parties, when fancy socialites would gather on carefully manicured lawns to enjoy the nice weather. Guests enjoyed lawn tennis, live music, dancing, and races. While country estates are harder to come by these days, a little backyard lawn tennis followed by tea sandwiches is the perfect way to spend a summer’s day.

11. Taking a road trip

As America’s interstate highway system connected more places and more people bought cars, road trips became a popular vacation after World War II. However, higher gas prices and fewer vacation days eventually made the quintessential family getaway a little less popular. The freedom of the open road may be back within reach—at least for this summer.

12. Legally opening up a fire hydrant

Red fire hydrant gushing water
iStock/tfoxfoto

Flooding the street completely on a hot summer day is a no-no, but city slickers trapped in the heat can still create an urban oasis on a hot day. New York City, for one, offers fitted caps that funnel a gentle spray of water out of an opened hydrant—legally. Your block could be home to the tiniest of water parks.

13. Celebrating the summer solstice

Since ancient times, people have celebrated the longest day of the year with dancing, food, bonfires, and more. Try celebrating it the way they do in Sweden: Traditionally, Scandinavians clean out their houses and decorate them with flowers before the holiday.

14. Tuning into the radio

Vintage radio sitting on a mid-century dresser
iStock/Spiderstock

An integral part of the warm weather season is the so-called “song of summer,” that one tune that seemingly plays in the background wherever you go. Online radio isn’t the only way to find your summer jam. Listening to a favorite rock DJ is no longer how most people get their music, but there’s a bonus that comes with hauling out your old portable radio: You can take it to the beach.

15. Spreading a hoax about a sea monster

During the summer of 1937, newspapers in Nantucket began publishing accounts of a mysterious sea serpent that had come ashore, based on photographs of giant footprints on the beach. As it turned out, the New England seaside’s huge monster was an inflatable balloon, staged by a local puppeteer to draw attention to his shop.

Hotels.com Wants to Pay You $10,000 to Test Out Some of America’s Fanciest Hotel Pools

iStock/FTiare
iStock/FTiare

Getting paid to hang out by the pool all summer may sound like a job that's too good to be true. But popular hotel booking site Hotels.com is looking to hire one lucky "Poolhop" to do just that—and pay them $10,000 for their efforts.

According to the official job application, "The Poolhop’s responsibilities are simple; travel to some of the most incredible hotel pools across the country, sip on fruity drinks, snap some photos, sport a hotel robe, and report back to reward-loving Hotels.com fans."

Along with the $10,000 stipend, the Poolhop's perks will include paid airfare and accommodations at six hotels across the country, one year of Hotels.com Gold Rewards member status, and “eternal bragging rights.” The only serious requirements are that applicants be at least 21 years of age and a U.S. resident. They must also, of course, know how to swim.

Thrillist reports that the chosen hotels aren’t your average accommodations, either. The Poolhop will get to dive into luxury at Hawaii's Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, the Mondrian Los Angeles, the SLS Las Vegas, Colorado's Garden of the Gods Club and Resort, The William Vale Hotel in New York City, and Miami Beach's National Hotel.

“No one wants to be sitting at a desk all summer,” Katie Junod, general manager of the Hotels.com brand in North America, said. "There are so many incredible hotel pools to explore across the country, and we want to give travelers a first-hand look at the crème de la crème. And who better to live the hotel life than our very own Hotels.com Poolhop?”

The trip will take place during two weeks in August. All applications must be filled out and submitted by Tuesday, June 25th. And don't forget your sunscreen!

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