Are boxes of old toys collecting dust in your house? Well, think twice before giving any well-preserved items away–there may be pricey collectibles tucked away.
Hot sellers, according to antiques expert Sally Solis-Cohen, include:
Barbie. Mint-condition blond Barbie dolls from 1959, Mattel’s first year of production, can fetch up to $1,500; Barbie’s friends are generally worth less. An original 1961 Ken is worth about $125.
Board games. If you have a pile of very old board games in pristine condition, you’re in luck. Most collectors buy vintage board games for the vivid graphics on the box, generally paying a few hundred dollars per game. Last year, a couple auctioned more than 1,200 games they’d amassed over 30 years for $369,000. Fifty-two of the games sold for more than $1,000 each, including the couple’s 1899 “The Fire Alarm Game” by Parker Brothers ($2,750). A 1935 first-edition Parker Brothers “Monopoly” is worth $35 to $150.
Disneyana. Mickey Mouse toys are sought by general toy collectors as well as cartoon-character enthusiasts and Disneyana specialists. Prices tend to remain under $50 for many Mickey toys made between the 1930s and 1970s, though a rare 1930s German lithographed tin windup of Mickey and Minnie on a motorcycle is listed at $25,000 in “The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Disneyana” (Collector Books, $24.95).
Teddy bears. Although American-made bears are rarer than their German-made Steiff cousins, they’re not worth as much. A 12-inch American bear dating from 1905 to 1910 can sell for $400 to $600, while a similar Steiff bear could bring $1,500 to $2,000, depending on its condition. The costliest vintage bear ever sold is a 24 3/4-inch frosted Steiff “Petsy” bear, which fetched $88,000 at a 1989 Sotheby’s London auction.