Cash for crazes – a look back on the most expensive collectables of the 1990s
The 1990s were a magical time. With Britpop leading the charts and six f.r.i.e.n.d.s from New York capturing the nation's hearts on television, it's easy to see why so many of us look back on the 90s with a smile on our faces.
For kids especially, you could argue there has never been, or never will be, a decade quite like it. From the birth of modern games consoles to schoolyard crazes, toys throughout the 90s were more innovative, imaginative and technological than they had ever been before.
Collectables were bigger and better too – and for those lucky enough to still own some of the items listed below, the growing demand for 90s memorabilia makes it easier than ever to make a fast buck or two.
TY Beanie Babies
When Beanie Babies first rolled off the production line in 1993, Ty Inc. had to persuade stockists to buy its products in bulk. However, by the mid to late 90s, Beanie Babies achieved peak-craze status, meaning more and more global stockists wanted to get their hands on these adorable collectables.
Due in part to Ty's decision to limit the production of each toy, collectors up and down the country immediately fell in love with the idea of owning something unique, rare and oh-so loveable.
Limited edition Beanie Babies were often released to mark major events, and within just a few years, Ty's original line-up of nine toys had grown substantially. Today, these limited edition Beanie Babies can fetch a small fortune, with 'Princess the Bear' – a toy produced to honour Diana, Princess of Wales following her death in 1997 – recently selling for thousands on eBay.
Partly due to the show's loveable characters and the fact that the show itself offered a fresh alternative to the American cartoons of the day, when Pokémon first made its way onto children's television in 1999, it wasn't long before kids across the UK became hooked on the anime series.
As soon as the craze hit, shops decided to fill their shelves with Pokémon merchandise. Before long, it became impossible to walk through a busy town centre without being bombarded with all things Pokémon – and yet despite the hefty demand for Pikachu cushions and Charmander rucksacks, one particular item consistently outsold everything else.
Pokémon cards were a massive hit – not only because they were small enough to hide in school trouser pockets, but because unlike other crazes, they created a culture of trading among youngsters. Today, an original set of base cards comes with a hefty price tag – so if you've got some kicking about and need some extra cash, why not sell them to a collector and make a few quid?
Although some of the rarer Micro Machines can be traced back to the 1980s, it wasn't until the mid to late 90s when these collectable toy cars really took off. In fact, by 1997, Codemasters worked together with Micro Machines to release a video game, Micro Machines V3 – a true classic in the eyes of any 90s gamer.
Unlike other manufacturers, Micro Machines sold its toys in sets – with each set falling into a particular theme, such as boats, planes or cars. Obviously, as children played with their respective sets, the toys soon became damaged and today, it's only those sold within their original packets that make the most money.
Interested in selling your Micro Machines? For a sealed Star Wars or Star Trek gift set, you could bag yourself over £100 – while smaller, individual sets are capable of making anything from £10 to £50 online.
Cast your mind back to your home in the 1990s, what do you see? Lego sprawled across the living room floor? Perhaps. A collection of Barbie dolls stuffed behind the sofa? Maybe. A Polly Pocket toy in your sister's bedroom? Almost certainly.
Originally designed in the early 80s by a loving father looking to provide his daughter with the perfect present, Bluebird Toys soon caught wind of Chris Wiggs' million-dollar idea and started producing Polly Pockets in the early 1990s.
Of course, it didn't take long before Polly Pocket made her way into the lives of thousands of little girls up and down the country. Accessories, houses and other add-ons all played their part – and today, a complete set of figures can be worth a small fortune.
Last but by no means least, the Furby. An instant hit when it arrived in the UK in the late 90s, these intelligent robotic animals sold in their droves and became the bestselling Christmas present – pipping the yoyo to the post – in 1998.
With a much smaller price tag compared to the likes of the Sony Playstation, Dreamcast or Nintendo Game Boy, the Furby's appeal was widespread, with children of all ages falling in love with its cute design and original, Furbish language.
Today, an original, sealed Furby could fetch as much as £300 on eBay, so if you've got one kicking about in your house, you know what to do the next time the purse strings tighten.
If you're interested in seeing how much you could make online, be sure you know all there is to know about eBay by reading our guide to avoiding eBay scams here. Remember, our blog is jam-packed with useful hints and money saving tips, so check it out if you're keen to avoid running into any money trouble.