The first mince pies are on the shelves already, and Christmas lists are being furtively built in the minds of your little ones. With the countdown to Christmas well and truly on, Principal Homebuyers thought we’d have a look back at all of the must-have toys from the 1980s to the present day…
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Must-Have Toys from the 1980s
The Rubik’s Cube (1980)
Ah, the Rubik’s Cube. If you haven’t experienced the frustration of trying to solve this 3d puzzle, where have you been?
In 1980 this was the toy to be seen with and over the years it’s amassed an almost cult-like following, with the World Cube Association organising Rubik’s Cube-solving competitions across the globe!
Back in the day, a Rubik’s Cube would have cost you around £1.99 but today, you’ll be looking around the £15 mark. Got a mint-condition in-box cube from your childhood days? You could fetch between £20 and £40 for it if you decided to sell.
The original strongman, He-Man made his first appearance in DC Comics where he could trade punches with the one and only Superman and was once even able to lift and throw Castle Grey Skull! In addition to this, he’s also got the ability to transform himself in to a human tornado and run at high speed. It’s no wonder that in 1981 it was the must-have kid’s toy!
Back in 1981, He-Man would have set you back a whopping £2.99. Got yourself an original, mint, in-box ‘Man on your hands? You could be looking at a sale price of anything between £250-£1500 depending on rarity and condition! Merry Christmas, indeed!
Glo Worm (1982)
Introduced in 1982, Glo Worm is a cuddly stuffed glow worm in a set of rather fetching green pyjamas who, when cuddled, would light up! A favourite with many a young child, especially those who were less than fond of the dark, this friendly face would have set you back around £5.99 in the year of its creation.
Got a mint-condition one that you’ve managed to keep sticky fingers away from? You could fetch around £70-£80 for one today.
Cabbage Patch Kids (1983)
These loveable dolls each boast their own personality and were the must-have toy for little girls and boys in 1983. In fact, the hysteria over these new toys culminated in the “Cabbage Patch riots” in the United States when they were released.
An original Cabbage Patch Kid would have cost you £12.99 back then. Today, your original Cabbage Patch Kid would fetch around £40-£80 if you could bear to part with them.
Optimus Prime (1984)
The leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime, was the must-have toy for the year 1984. Every little boy worth his salt had to have one of these in his hands come Christmas day. In 1984 the RRP for Prime was £16.99. If you managed to keep him mint condition in his box, then you could have £200-£400’s worth of Transformer on your hand.
Teddy Ruxpin (1985)
If you’re not familiar with Teddy Ruxpin, let’s clue you in on the details; he’s a talking bear! Well, not exactly, but this animatronic must-have toy made all the right noises and actions. His eyes and mouth moved in sync whilst he read a story that was played on his built-in tape cassette deck built in to its back.
In 1985, Teddy would have cost you £90 and if you’ve looked after him all these years then your original will fetch you between £75 and £100.
Nintendo Entertainment System (1986)
Remember your first Goomba stomp? The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, is the games console that started it all. With an RRP of £69.99 in 1986, a well-kept NES could line your pockets to the tune of between £100 and £150 today.
Sylvanian Families (1987)
Sylvanian Families are a range of velvety-cute characters that come in all shapes and sizes with mums, dads, children, and even pets. They all had different outfits, occupations, and abodes to match. In 1987, these toys would set you back anything between £6 and £30 but if you have one of the original families, you could fetch anything between £15 - £100 for them now. Some were fetching upwards of £500!
Ghostbusters Proton Pack (1988)
The Ghostbuster’s Proton Pack was the must-have Christmas gift for children of all ages in 1988. The Proton Pack came with everything that a junior ghostbuster would need to bust ghosts; including the pack itself, the Nutrona Blaster, a PKE meter, and, of course, your ID card and arm band.
In 1988 this would have set you back the princely sum of £19.99. If you kept your kit clean and pristine, then your pack could fetch around £60-£70 today.
The Batmobile (1989)
It’s every little boy’s dream to own the Batmobile so it’s no surprise that the Batmobile was the must-have toy in 1989. Built to a 1:24 scale with a moving canopy to allow you to check out all the gadgets and goodies within, it’s a coveted item in the Bat-fan community. With an RRP of £9.99 in the 80s, if your Batman was less “fighting crime” and more “staying in-box”, your ‘mobile could be worth £50-£60.
Must-Have Toys from the 1990s
Ninja Turtles Figures (1990)
As we crest in to the 90s, the must-have toy of the new decade was the Ninja Turtles. No matter whether your favourite was martial-arts loving Leonardo, pizza-munching Michelangelo, brain-box Donatello, or tough-guy Rafael, each figure would have set you back around £3.99. If you kept your Ninja Turtles out of trouble and in their boxes, they could fetch you between £50 and £100 a figure.
Nintendo Game Boy (1991)
The Nintendo Game-Boy turned Tetris in to a phenomenon and re-invented the concept of handheld gaming. It may look hopelessly chunky now, but it was the sweetheart of the gaming world in 1991.
Thunderbirds Tracy Island (1992)
Thunderbirds are go! The Matchbox Tracy Island was one of the greatest Christmas toys of all time. Capturing the important details of the Tracy Island; the cliff door swung open and the palm trees leant back for Thunderbird 2 to roll out, it provided hours of entertainment for its £32.99 RRP.
Barbie has always been one of the most popular Christmas gifts, but in 1993, she beat the competition to sit at the top of the pack. In 1993, Barbie’s dream motorhome was released; offering her and her friends a chance to escape to the countryside for the weekend.
Power Rangers (1994)
For kids in 1994, there was no greater gift to find under the tree than a Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger. Based on the characters from the television show, these action figures would have set you back around £4.99. If your Power Rangers spent less time fighting Rita Repulsa, and more time chilling in their original box, then you could fetch around £10-£20 if you sold them today.
If you were to sum in the 90s in one word, it may well be “pogs”. When combined with “slammers” they made quite the lunch-time entertainment. It started out life as a game played using cardboard milk bottle caps but was quickly commercialised. In 1995 you could pick up a packet of pogs for around 49p per pack. If you kept any in their packages and in pristine condition, then you could fetch up to £15 per pack from a collector or enthusiast.
Feed me! Play with me! Clean up my poop! Ahh… the familiar beeping of the must-have toy of Christmas 1997. Ultimately, Tamagotchi’s were a gateway to heartbreak as you inevitably left it in your locker at school and forgot to feed or water it, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t love them all the same. In 1997, a Tamagotchi would set you back around £9.99.
Feeling nostalgic? Tamagotchi are back in honour of their 20th anniversary!
Twenty years is a pretty long time, but it’s often not quite long enough for your toys to start appreciating in value. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s fairly likely that the current value of any toy released are 1999 is going to be less than their original RRP.
However, shortages around the Christmas period often compel desperate parents to pay over the odds on auction sites, such as eBay, to ensure their children have the latest must-have toy under the tree on Christmas day…