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Is There a Market for Your Childhood Obsession?

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What was the latest and greatest when you were a kid? Did you collect every Star Wars figure? Or were Transformer toys the action figures sitting on your shelf? What about My Little Pony or Polly Pocket toys? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Cabbage Patch Kids? The list could go on and on...
Does just pondering these questions bring back fond memories? Nostalgia is the gateway to cashing in on your past obsessions or banking on the future. Toy dealers, collectors, and traders can make real money helping buyers reconnect with their childhoods. For example, a 1984 Optimus Prime toy sale price was $12,000.00, a Bye Focals Matchbox car sold for $500,000.00, and a Princess Diana Bear Beanie Baby with trading cards sold for $2,000,000.00! Of course, these are the exceptions, but still, many vintage toys are worth hundreds of dollars or still hold their value after 30-plus years.
With the minimalist movement and Marie Kondo’s suggestion to let go of things that no longer bring you joy, if you’re ready, why not let your past joy bring joy to someone else and a little (or maybe a lot) of extra cash in your pocket?
Now for the big question: Is there a market for your childhood obsession?
Vintage toy marketability has so much to do with capitalizing on the nostalgia surrounding the vintage items. Not all toys appreciate in value. Some toys are past their prime for receiving top dollar . Some toys haven’t quite reached their prime.
For nostalgic items, the best target markets are to individuals in their early 30s to early 40s. These age groups are starting to become nostalgic--reliving their childhoods and the things that once brought them joy. They are at a point in their lives where they have more discretionary income and can splurge on what may be considered frivolous to others. Those in their twenties and mid-forties on up are either too close to their childhoods and simply enjoying the joys of first time adulting or well into adult life, careers, and family. Neither group has as much interest or money to spend on nostalgia as the target market group; memorabilia just isn’t much of a priority. So for now, vintage toys from the 1980s are most likely to be the hottest sellers at the highest prices since the individuals who collected and played with them are now within the target age range. But don’t be discouraged if your items fall outside these age parameters. There may still be a strong market for your treasures. It’s worth checking it out.
To determine marketability, you first need to take inventory of your collection. What specific toys do you have? Make a list. Do you have a complete set of a particular series of a toy?  Some collectors are willing to pay substantially more for the complete package. Any first editions or limited editions? These are often worth the most--especially limited editions toys. What condition are your toys in--any missing parts? The better the condition, the higher the value. Anything still in its original packaging? Original packaging also brings a higher price, and instills confidence in prospective buyers that the items are in top condition.
Once you have your list, it’s time to do your research. Search the internet for toy collectors and online auction sites to see the prices similar items have sold for. Don’t necessarily look for asking prices since some individuals over inflate values even when there is no chance an item will sell at that price. Instead, search for the amount customers actually were willing to pay through searching the “sold” sections. From your research, determine your asking prices.
Next, Clean your items and, if parts are missing--perhaps accessories such as light sabers or shields--search online for specific “spare parts” for your toy’s specific edition. It’s amazing what you might find. Just remember that the more complete and presentable your item is, the greater the monetary compensation when it sells. So if you’re lucky enough to locate replacement parts, reevaluate your asking prices.
When cleaned and ready, take quality pictures from all angles, write a compelling description, and promote your auction! Your childhood toy obsession may just pay off!

Latest Activity: Aug 10, 2018 at 12:49 PM

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