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 Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and the doomed ship? Could your old Sega Genesis console still be in the attic?
You might want to start looking, because that Furby is worth $16 to $65, an original “Titanic” T-shirt (even without tags) could fetch $100, and Sega Genesis consoles are selling for $50 to $200. 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 Spears “Performing For You” doll about the size of a Barbie recently sold on eBay for $510. A Britney backpack went for $95 and a Britney CD coupled with a cassette netted $25.
Based on 27 Britney T-shirts that have sold so far in 2022, they go for an average of $48 on eBay. A few sold for under $20, but most went for more and two sold for nearly $200.
Sarah Wasserman, a senior at 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.
- Polly Pocket’s Disney Cinderella Castle that cost $20 in 1995, recently sold for $90.
- Some of the top selling console games are the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with two controllers, which sold for $107, a Nintendo 64 console sold for $100 and a Sega Nomad Genesis Handheld System Console went for $282 ,
- Games to go with the systems fetch a wide range of prices. Recently sold Super Mario and Donkey Kong Nintendo games averaged $25 to $35 while a Looney Tunes game went for $100. And a Hard Drivin’ Sega Genesis game just sold for $125.
- As for the American Girl dolls, Addy Walker is the most expensive these days. An Addy doll that cost $100 in 1993 just sold on eBay for $100.
Music posters from the ‘90s are selling well these days. Nirvana posters bring $50 to $75. A David Bowie concert poster scored $229. “The Matrix,” which debuted the last year of the ‘90s, is popular with memorabilia buyers. While most “Matrix” T-shirts sell for around $15, at least five have sold for more than $100 in recent weeks on eBay.
Be sure to check dresser drawers and scrapbooks as well as the attic and basement because ticket stubs from the ‘90s can bring a few dollars or more than $100. A ticket from a Chicago Bulls 1992 NBA finals game recently sold on eBay for $430 while a 1994 Stanley Cup finals game went for $128. And a 1993 Janet Jackson concert from Madison Square Garden is worth remembering for someone who paid $199 for a ticket stub from the show.
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.”