Any chance you know when you last saw your wide-eyed Furby in your parents’ basement? Does your teenage dresser now double as a time capsule storing a Titanic T-shirt picturing Leo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and the doomed ship? Could your old Sega Genesis console still be up in the attic?
You might want to start looking because that Furby is worth $15 to $40, an original Titanic T-shirt (even without tags) could fetch $167.50, and Sega Genesis consoles are selling for around $190. These values are based on an analysis selling prices of 1990s collectibles on eBay for research sponsored by Self Financial, a company that helps individuals build good credit.
The searchable research can help you sell ‘90s collectibles you find at home when cleaning out a closet, as well as be a guide if you’re in search of vintage pieces to resell on a regular basis.
Why ‘90s Collectibles Are a Hot Market
“We have people who come to our sales buying that stuff up,” said Brett Kennedy, of Kennedy Brothers Auctions in St. Petersburg, Fla. “They are usually younger kids (high school and college age). Everybody is looking for a side hustle these days.”
The company’s auctions and estates sales have gone online since the pandemic, but it still holds previews for sales in person. Smart customers are buying popular items and reselling them on eBay or other outlets.
“We have buyers who come to our sales (online and in person) looking especially for T-shirts. The kookier the better. They may have been a limited production. You can pick these things up for $2 or $3 then sell them for $20, $30 or even $100 depending on the subject matter,” Kennedy said.
Concert and movie posters sell well, too. Kennedy Brothers recently sold a batch of movie posters that actually hung at theaters, including a few from Star Wars films, for $850.
“The Gameboys, kids played with them over and over and they got destroyed. So, if you find one that’s actually operable, it’s worth something,” he said. But why would someone want to spend that much money to play a game with ‘90s technology when so many advanced options are available now?
“People buy what they remember. It brings back fond memories of their past,” Kennedy said.
Cashing in on Nostalgia
The upheaval of the past year has also put an extra premium on nostalgia.
“Experts are telling us in times of chaos, nostalgia can be the perfect remedy to help people feel calm,” said Gadi Schwartz, host of “The Overview,” a new news show on the Peacock streaming service.
Self Financial pinpointed the price of that nostalgia. Here’s a list of some of ‘90s collectibles it tracked.
- Polly Pocket’s Disney Cinderella Castle that cost $20 in 1995 could go for around $90 today.
- Since Kobe Bryant’s death, the value of Kobe-related Topps cards have risen in value to an average of as much as $65,600, a price increase of 1,311,900%.
- Magic the Gathering Alpha Black Lotus cards are the most expensive ‘90s collector’s item this year, with mint conditions selling for an average of $142,500.
- The highest-earning popular console games were for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System ($286), followed by Nintendo 64 ($217), and the Sega Genesis ($190).
- An American Girl Addy Walker doll costing $100 in 1993 now sells for around $170, the highest priced doll in the research.
- Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is one of the most popular games sold last year on eBay, averaging $575 without the box, and $3,615 in mint condition.
- If you have a Patti the Platypus Beanie Baby, a non-mint version can sell for an average of $4,100.
- The average music poster from popular artists like Nirvana and David Bowie sells for $368.40, with mint condition Nirvana ones going for much more.
- A Matrix T-shirt from 1999 sells for an average of $175 used and $300 in mint condition.
- A Terminator ticket stub sells for an average of $15, while a Beauty and the Beast stub averages $13.
“We wanted to find out what treasures people may find when they’re clearing out childhood storage or their parents’ attics,” said Lauren Bringle, an accredited financial counselor at Self Financial. “This research shows you actual nostalgic items that have sold since the pandemic started.”
She was surprised by the price concert and movie T-shirts could bring and the fact that some ticket stubs from ‘90s movies are selling for an average of $18.
“We hope this encourages people to go through their unwanted toys and collectibles to see if they have anything that’s worth some money,” Bringle said. “Right now, we could all do with a little extra cash and it could be worth your time to clear out your old boxes. We’re sure many moms and dads across the country will appreciate this, too.”
Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance editor and reporter in St. Petersburg, Fla., and author of Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker: Missteps & Lessons Learned.