15 Vintage Toys You Don’t Have To Feel Guilty About Trashing

Most old toys aren’t the goldmines you think they are.

collection of old wooden toys
Updated July 18, 2024
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The value of toys can be completely detached from the materials used to make them. This is especially true of toys from bygone eras, some of which can fetch thousands of dollars.

However, if you’re tempted to hold on to your old toys to make extra money, think again. While some vintage playthings are valuable, this is the exception rather than the rule. Most old toys aren’t worth much money (if any).

So if you have any of the following items in your attic, here’s your permission to donate them to a good cause without worrying about their worth.

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Ceramic or porcelain dolls

Ganka/Adobe porcelain doll with blond hair

Everyone has a grandma or great-aunt holding onto a collection of these. While your relative may have held onto their collection in the hopes that they may be worth something, most dolls will sell for around $10, so they’re probably not worth the space they’re taking up.

Pogs

Rick Beauregard/Adobe pogs & slammers

A huge fad in the 1990s, pogs are cardboard coins that stack and are hit with a metal “slammer” coin. They were tradable in their day, but these days most of them aren’t worth much — maybe $1 each on eBay if you’re lucky.

Most Barbie dolls

monticellllo/Adobe barbie dolls of the ocean

Unless your Barbie is still in the box, very old, and very rare, it’s probably not worth much. Most Barbie listings come and go unbought on eBay, and many of the ones that do sell go for $20 or less.

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Model train sets

Олександр Луценко/Adobe train model on the railway

The value of a vintage model train set depends on what gauge it is (i.e., what size track it runs on). O, S, and Standard gauges may be worth something, but others have little resale value.

Cabbage Patch Kids

Fotoluminate LLC/Adobe babyland general hospital signboard

These iconic toys from the 1980s began when an art student, Xavier Roberts, rediscovered “needle molding,” a German sculpting technique, and used it to create soft sculpted dolls. By 1983, over 3 million dolls were “adopted.” While Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage then, demand has dried up in recent years.

Late-model action figures

zayacsk/Adobe action figure of gi joe

Granted, some action figures can be extremely valuable, such as original 1970s Star Wars figures in mint condition. But your box full of old G.I. Joes and My Little Ponies likely won’t fetch more than $20 online.

Beanie Babies

smakhalov/Adobe soft toys of husky dogs

This toy is the poster child for a collectible that once had rabidly enthusiastic fans and is now worthless. Some of these bean bag animals were worth thousands, but most are now worth less than in the 1990s — even if they still have the tags on.

Comic books

how to invest in comic books

If your comic books are newer than 1980, the only worth they have is the joy you get from reading them. The irony is that the comics that hold the most value are the ones that were printed before people started collecting them. Hence, it’s difficult to find comic books that are old enough and still intact enough to hold any value.

Strawberry Shortcake dolls

Helissa/Adobe strawberry shortcake moranguinho dolls

The 1980s nostalgia trend burst on the scene with remakes of classic kid’s shows and toys like Strawberry Shortcake. However, even vintage versions of these dolls and figurines aren’t worth much — less than $20 each.

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Fisher Price toys

homank76/Adobe package of toy

Every preschool, church nursery, and grandma’s house once had at least a few of the classic Little People figures or a corn-popper vacuum toy. But unless you have a complete set of these vintage playthings in immaculate condition, it’s more worthwhile to donate them to another preschool, church, or grandma than to sell them.

Stuffed animals

Alexander Sabilin/Adobe assorted stuffed toys

We all had a favorite teddy bear as children, but most stuffed animals hardly look collectible after children grow out of them. Vintage stuffed animals don’t hold much resale value, even for sought-after characters like Carebears and Mickey Mouse.

Hot Wheels

matpit73/Adobe hot wheels series

If you think your vintage Hot Wheels cars are worth holding onto, think again. Even 1960s and 1970s cars in the original packaging go for a paltry $10-$30 if you’re lucky.

Funko Pops

Acento Creativo/Adobe harry potter funko pop

Yes, there are a few Funko Pops old enough to be considered vintage, but they’re probably not worth much more than you bought them for. Most of them go for around $15 — hardly enough to retire on.

Pokemon cards

selugallego/Adobe collectible pokemon cards

Like many 1990s trends, Pokemon has also made a recent comeback. So while there is a healthy market of Pokemon trading card buyers, you’re unlikely to make a killing on your vintage cards unless you have specific rare ones that are in fabulous condition.

Precious Moments figurines

Courtesy of Precious Moments a precious Moments figurine

These once-collectible figurines are now the fodder of every garage sale. You won’t get much for Precious Moments sculptures on eBay, but you may get a kick out of joining the Altered Moments Facebook group that repurposes the figurines by painting and altering them.

Bottom line

makistock/Adobe male volunteer holding donation box

Just because a toy is old doesn’t make it valuable. The desirability depends on the age, condition, and how many people want the particular edition, brand, or character your toy represents.

If online research reveals that you have a unique toy with several potential buyers, it could be worth holding onto until you find the right buyer. However, this is only true of a small number of toys. 

Most of the playthings in your attic, garage, or basement aren’t smart ways to build wealth; they’re best saved for grandchildren or passed onto another child to play with.

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Author Details

Jenni Sisson

Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. She has been published in Business Insider and The Ways to Wealth. In addition to writing, Jenni hosts the Mama's Money Map podcast to help fellow stay-at-home moms on their journey to financial freedom.