When you have kids, stuff just seems to accumulate. There are toys in every cubby, closet and corner of the floor. As the kids grow up, their old toys are tossed aside for new things.
You may be tempted to gather everything up in a trash bag and get it out of the house before you step on a Lego block for the 1,000th time. But before you purge the mess, take stock of what you have. Some toys could have value in the future on the collectibles market.
How can you tell which of those toys strewn around your kids’ room have a shot at making it big? We asked Jordan Hembrough, toy expert and host of the show “Toy Hunter,” what to look for.
His top tip? Look for toys associated with a major license, like a comic book or TV show. “When you open your toy box in your kid’s room, look for a Batman toy or a ‘Star Trek’ toy,” Hembrough said, naming examples of franchises that have remarkable staying power.
As those series release new movies and spinoffs for the next generation, today’s toys may be valuable relics. When your grandkids are watching the 29th installment of “Star Wars,” a Rey action figure from 2015 might conjure just enough nostalgia to have resale value.
“For a toy to be collectible and have value on the secondary market, there has to be an emotional attachment to it. It conjures up a memory,” Hembrough said.
Anything you have in its original packaging is an added bonus; that will always sell for more as a collectible down the line. Hembrough said one of his customers recently scored $10,000 for a box of about 50 unopened “Masters of the Universe” action figures he had sitting around in his house. They were all still in their packaging in pristine condition.
Generally, things that are mass produced are also less likely to be valuable in the future. And just because a toy was scarce when you bought it, it doesn’t mean it will be a hot commodity forever.
“It might be hot for a season, like those singing Elsa dolls, they were the hottest thing for Christmas because no one could find them, but eventually they’re all over the stores,” Hembrough said.
Disney, Hasbro and Mattel pump out toys for mass consumption, Hembrough said, so looking for things from other makers could lead you to better investments.
Of course, limited run toys (where only a few hundred were produced) are the most likely to sell for a pretty penny later. But if you lined up or shelled out for one of those limited edition toys, let’s hope it’s not sitting on the floor of your kid’s closet.