Home Personal Finance 5 Items From the 1990s That Are Worth a Lot of Money

5 Items From the 1990s That Are Worth a Lot of Money

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Young Gen Xers and older millennials who came of age in the 1990s — and their parents who forked over most of the money — accumulated mountains of toys, dolls, games, cards, devices and media, believing they would one day be worth a fortune.

Most of them turned out to be useless hunks of plastic worth much less than the original purchase price — but a few lived up to the promise.

The rarest and most pristine examples of following 1990s mainstays could be worth big bucks, and if you have any of them collecting dust in the basement, attic or closet, you might want to call an appraiser.

Pre-Mattel Polly Pocket Dolls

Mattel acquired Bluebird Toys in 1998 — and with it, the Polly Pocket lineup. Mattel quickly made drastic changes to the beloved line of ’90s micro-dolls, and those changes made some of the OG Bluebirds produced between 1989 and 1998 valuable collector’s items today.

In 2018, Today reported that Bluebird Polly Pocket dolls and sets were selling for triple digits on eBay — $299 for a birthday set, $305 for a compact playset, $455 for Fairy Light Wonderland, etc.

As with all collectibles, rarity, condition and original packaging are the keys to the kingdom, but owners of the originals are still cashing in. On eBay and Etsy, pre-Mattel Polly Pocket sets are currently selling in the high three figures and even over $1,000.

Pre-Mattel American Girl Dolls

Mattel had a busy year in 1998. The same year of the Bluebird acquisition, the toy giant bought the American Girl line of dolls from textbook-author-turned-entrepreneur Pleasant Rowland, who started with a doll for her niece in 1989 and built her idea into a company that did $300 million in sales before selling to Mattel for $700 million.

Today, brand-new American Girl dolls are among the most expensive playthings on the market — but some pre-Mattel versions have become even more valuable rarities.

In 2018, USA Today reported that a set of pre-’98 Pleasant Rowland originals, including dolls Samantha, Molly and Addy, was selling on eBay for $11,500. A signed collection of three pre-Mattel AG dolls went for $5,400. An original Samantha still in the box sold for $1,450. [7]

Currently on eBay, original Pleasant Company American Girl dolls from the ’90s are selling for $4,000, $6,000 and even $10,000 — with some in used condition and not even in the original packaging.

Pre-Hasbro Super Soakers

Rocket scientist Lonnie Johnson — who helped develop the B2 stealth bomber and worked on the Cassini and Galileo satellite programs at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory — invented the Super Soaker by accident in 1982 while trying to fix a leaking heat pump. He licensed his creation to the Larami Corporation, which debuted it as the Power Drencher in 1990, bringing water guns out of the Stone Age.

In 1995, Hasbro bought out Larami but continued to produce Super Soakers under the Larami brand name until 2002, when Hasbro began making them in-house.

If you have a ’95-’02 Larami — or even better, a pre-Hasbro original — you could be sitting on a soaking wet fortune.

An unopened vintage 1990 Larami Super Soaker is currently selling on eBay for $10,000. A ’96 Larami is selling for $600. Another is going for $1,000, with dozens more boasting price tags in the mid-hundreds.

Beanie Babies

Few things are more ’90s than Beanie Babies, and the craze surrounding the Ty Inc. plush toys stands as one of history’s greatest fads. People collected them by the hundreds, planning to retire on the fortunes they’d earn from selling their stashes a few years down the line.

Then the Beanie Baby bubble burst, and today, most aren’t worth more than the value of their constituent materials. But a precious few turned into true collectors’ items.

According to estimated values from the luxury lifestyle publication Luxe, the rarest and best-preserved examples of the following Beanie Babies could make their owners the fortunes they were promised:

  • Peace the Bear: $50,000
  • Lefty The Donkey & Righty The Elephant (pair): $50,000
  • Valentino & Valentina The Bears (pair): $60,000
  • Wise the Owl: $122,000
  • Princess the Bear: $500,000

Video Games

The 1990s was one of the great heydays of video games, and the decade witnessed the last titles and consoles to emerge before gaming went online. Most ’90s-era cartridges wound up in the trash, in a box somewhere or damaged and worthless.

But some that were rare, unopened or otherwise special went on to become some of the most valuable collectibles in the world.

  • In January 2022, a copy of “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 console, sold for $168,000 at auction.
  • In September 2021, a sealed copy of “Sonic the Hedgehog,” released in 1991 for the Sega Genesis console, sold for $420,000.
  • In January 2022, a copy of EA’s 1990 hit “John Madden Football” — recovered from the office of the famed coach and broadcaster whose name graces the cover — sold for $480,000 at auction.
  • In July 2021, a pristine copy of “Super Mario 64” fetched $1.56 million at auction. Released in 1996 for the Nintendo 64 console, CNN reported that it was the first video game ever to command seven figures.

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