Happy Meal Toys and 4 Other Unexpected Collectibles Worth Big Money

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Do you have a box of junk sitting around in the basement or in a storage container? We all do, and most of us probably have some far-fetched plan to either donate the contents to a thrifting organization or toss it in the trash.

Before you do anything, you might want to check exactly what it is that you have on your hands — it could turn out to be a collectible worth lots of money and you didn’t even realize it.

There are many items — like toys, stamps and coins — that have gone up in value over the years. Here’s a list of Happy Meal toys and other collectibles you wouldn’t expect to be worth as much as they are.

Happy Meal Toys

The food was never the draw for a Happy Meal — it was always the toy that was packed inside the box that made us excited. Now, those toys you got for free from a McDonald’s classic kids’ meal can earn you some cash.

“The Lego Bionicle set from McDonald’s sells for $209. This is an item from a kids’ show in the early 2000s that became popular,” says Tim Connon, founder of ParamountQuote, an insurance advisement company. 

“Another collectible would be the 1990 Furby keychain toys from McDonald’s. Furby was popular with kids in the ’90s and now they sell for $127.”

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Video Games

They might seem like a relic from the past now that most gaming is done online, but old-school video games can rack up some big bucks these days.

“Classic NBA video games, such as NBA Jam and NBA Live ’95, have become highly collectible in recent years, especially if they are still in their original packaging and have not been opened,” says Ernesto Cova, a seasoned sports journalist with NBA Blast

“For example, a copy of NBA Jam for the Super Nintendo sold for $1,500 in 2020. Similarly, NBA Live ’95 for the Sega Genesis sold for over $1,200 in 2021.”

Sports Programs

Original footage of classic or iconic matches are now seen as rare treasures, with tapes and film of the competitions going for top dollar.

“Game programs from iconic NBA games, such as Michael Jordan’s famous “Flu Game” in the 1997 NBA Finals, can also be highly valuable to collectors,” Cova says. 

“For example, a program from that game sold for over $4,000 in 2020. Other programs from historic NBA games, such as Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962 or Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game in 2006, can also fetch significant amounts at auction.”

Vinyl Records

Not that long ago it became cool again to have your music played on wax — also known as spinning vinyl records — which caused lots of older albums to jump in price for the original or early pressings.

“When I started collecting vinyl in the mid-’90s, it was considered a dead media,” says Margaret Purdy, a noncommercial radio DJ and vinyl junkie who spins under the name DJ Caddy. “I bought original Beatles, Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Beastie Boys … most in good shape for $2-$5 apiece at thrift stores.”

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Since that time, all those records have gone up in value, making them desired by music lovers around the world. Purdy states that her collection “is worth a lot more now that vinyl is hot again.”

She points out that Disney vinyl is particularly rare and therefore more valuable, citing one record called “Date Night at Disneyland,” which has sold for up to $300 on Discogs and is currently listed for $150.

Vintage Coins

Pocket change might be worth more money now than it was when it was originally being used. A penny may seem like just a penny, but the truth is, lots of coins have gone up in value — especially the rare ones.

“Low-grade ancient Roman coins that are nearly 2,000 years old can be purchased for less than $20,” says Donn Pearlman, PNG spokesman and affiliate member. “Like all collectibles, value is usually determined by the laws of supply and demand. Currently, there is tremendous demand for the finest known examples of rare United States coins.”

Pearlman and other coin experts have some advice for what you should do if you find a rare coin and how to cash in with today’s worth

“There are at least four or five billionaires who have spent nine figures on their collections in recent years. In the last year, nearly two dozen coins have sold for over $1 million at auction and privately.”

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