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 Spice Girls posters? Could your old Sega Genesis console still be up in the attic?
If so, now is the time to sell that 90s memorabilia. Members of Gen Z, who were born in the 1990s and early 2000s are fans of the music that was hot in that era and want their kids to play with the same toys they did. These items are on their holiday wish lists and they are paying more than you’d think for them online.
That Furby is worth $16 to $65, the right Spice Girls poster could fetch more than $150 and pre-owned video game consoles are selling for $50 to $150. These values are based on recent “sold items” on eBay.
The Britney Factor
If you have any Britney Spears T-shirts, posters, backpacks or even CDs, you are sitting on cash. The beloved singer rose to fame in the 1990s, hitting the charts with “Baby One More Time” in 1998.
The saga of her conservatorship followed on Instagram by millions of people and her recent $15 million book deal make anything Britney-related valuable.
A Britney “Jive” photo postcard signed by the singer recently sold for $350. A Britney Spears Monopoly game went for $50 while a 2007 Bratz doll honoring Britney sold for $100. Even if you don’t have big ticket items like those, anything Britney brings cash. CDs, posters, magazine covers and T-shirts sell for between $10 and $30 on average.
Sarah Wasserman, a recent graduate of the University of Vermont in Burlington, proudly wears a Britney T-shirt her friends gave her for her birthday. They pooled their money to buy it because it was on the top of her wish list.
“With her being freed from her conservatorship there’s reason to celebrate and enjoy her music even more,” she said. “I grew up in the early 2000s. I remember getting a Barbie keyboard that played a snippet of ‘Oops I Did It Again’ and feeling so cool listening to it.”
For a broader list of hot ‘90s stuff, Self Financial, a company that helps people build good credit, created this searchable research showing some of the top selling items.
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, Florida. “They are usually younger kids (high school and college age). Everybody is looking for a side hustle these days.”
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 (at a yard sale or find them at home) 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.
The market for ‘90s collectibles grew during the pandemic because of pent-up demand from collectors and young parents nostalgic for a simpler time, according to Jason Williams, who owns Big Fun vintage toy store in Columbus, Ohio.
“I think the pandemic has brought out a lot of recreational collectors,” he said. “A lot of these toy lines that may not have sold as well before like Polly Pockets now sell pretty well.”
Cashing in on Nostalgia
Along with trying your hand at selling on eBay or Etsy, remember the brick and mortar vintage toy and collectibles stores in your region along with auction houses. Many local outlets sell to local audiences as well as national and international buyers online.
Here’s a list of some of ‘90s collectibles and what they sold for recently on eBay.
- An unopened, mint condition Polly Pocket’s Disney Cinderella Castle that cost around $20 in 1995, recently sold for $375. A used version with all the pieces sold for $100 and a castle without any pieces went for $40.
- Some of the top selling console games are the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with two controllers, which sold for $159, a Nintendo 64 console sold for $75 and a Sega Nomad Genesis Handheld System Console with three game cartridges went for $250.
- Games sold on their own fetch a wide range of prices. A Super Mario Bros. 3 Nintendo game just sold on eBay for $60, while a Donkey Kong Nintendo 64 games went for just $22 And a Looney Tunes Space Race for a Sega game console cost $64.
- As for those expensive American Girl dolls that were the final fabulous gift on Christmas mornings in the ‘90s, they haven’t gone up in price like other 90s icons. But, if one is just sitting in the attic it is definitely worth the time to sell it online. An Addie doll just sold for $150, Kirsten went for $95 and one Kit sold for $40 while another for $70. All were pre-owned, pre-played-with and not in their original boxes.
Music posters from the ‘90s are selling well these days. A London Calling poster recently brought $30 while a rare Kurt Cobain Nirvana poster went for $180. A David Bowie poster based on his Diamond Dogs album scored $149. It’s hard to tell what makes a Spice Girls poster what someone wants or what someone really, really wants. They sell for an average of around $20, but a few rare images of the British singers go for $100 to $150. If you have one, load it online and see what happens.
Many T-shirts from the ‘90s are selling for more than they cost back then. A 1993 Lollapalozza shirts just sold for $170 while a shirt from a Pretenders concert in 1994 fetched $55. Several Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon recently sold for $20 to $30. And some happy bidder paid $30 Seinfeld T-shirt from NBC studios.
Contributor Katherine Snow Smith covers ways to make money, save money and other topics. Her work has appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, Charlotte Business Journal and Greenville (S.C.) News. She is the author of” Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker: Missteps & Lessons Learned.”