Pop culture aficionados have been gathering items that embody their interests and favorite time periods for the past 100 years. From images to action figures, geeky collectibles often become cherished items that can bring joy for generations. Unsurprisingly, many of these items can become extremely valuable as time goes on. And no, we're not talking about sentimental worth here.
We've compiled a list of 30 different types of collectibles from across the world of geek culture, though not all of it is worth collecting (or selling) as far as monetary value goes. The term "value" can be subjective even in this context, so it's worth noting that the market value of each item here is based on its rarity, material quality (can it remain in good shape over time?), market size, initial release sale price, current sales and auction fees (eBay charges a sales fee of 8.75 percent, for example, as well as an additional 4 percent on sales over $1,000). Likewise, because an item is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay, the dollar amounts (USD) in this article are taken entirely from actual sales.
This is 15 Geeky Collectibles Worth A Fortune (And 15 That Are Worth Next To Nothing).
30 Fortune: Vintage Board Games ($100 - $400)
While most used board games aren't worth more than the dollar or two they can get at a yard sale, there's actually a surprising amount that can be worth up to thousands due to their rarity and "vintage" status. For example, the 1986 Fireball Island game regularly sells for between $300 and $400 on eBay, while a 1991 Tornado Rex game sells for between $100 and $200.
Now, it's true that not all vintage board games will go for that much money (especially those that no longer have any kind of following or those that have been mass produced for decades and still have plenty of current editions). But considering many old games are inherited for free and/or were initially purchased for far less, sellers can still profit.
29 Worthless: Pogs / Milk Caps ($0 - $100)
Almost everyone growing up in the 1990s had their own collection of Pogs, regardless of whether or not they actually played the game. Now, most of these collections have been thrown away or have sat tucked away gathering dust. There have been some rumors in recent years about Pogs now being worth tons of money, but so far there isn't any tangible evidence to back this up.
The truth is that while some collections have sold for about $100 or a little more, a lot of Pogs were included. In fact, all of the eBay $100+ sales we found for Pog collections in the past year had hundreds to even thousands of Pogs included, along with slammers and special cases and holders for it all. Furthermore, these sales were either marked as "Best Offer Accepted" (meaning the actual amount accepted was likely lower than the listed amount) and/or had Free Shipping (meaning the shipping costs came directly out of the final sale amount, leaving the seller with a lower profit).
28 Fortune: View-Masters ($400 - $600+)
Modern kids may be able to watch entire movies on screens in the palm of their hands, but kids of the past got to hold up things that looked like a plastic binoculars/3D glasses combination and click their way through movie stills, cartoons, and even photos from around the world! Surprisingly, older and rare-edition View-Masters in good condition can now demand a small fortune.
One Gamlestadens View-Master sold for $625 in December 2018 on eBay, and a factory-sealed special edition Batman version sold for $500 during the same month. It turns out that there's still a strong market of View-Master collectors out there, after all.
27 Worthless: PEZ Dispensers ($0.06 - $32,000)
We're not saying they're totally worthless, but we are saying that they aren't generally worth much. There actually is a community of modern PEZ dispenser collectors, but how big it is, nobody knows.
Now, people like to tout the fact that one time, a single PEZ dispenser was sold for thousands of dollars (this was the Astronaut B PEZ dispenser from the 1982 World’s Fair, allegedly sold on eBay for upwards of $32,000). But while we can't find any actual record of this sale other than blog and Pinterest posts, we do know that it was supposed to have taken place back in 2006.
26 Fortune: Certain LaserDiscs ($22 - $500+)
When it comes to selling LaserDiscs, the ones that are generally worth over $100 are those that started off rare in the first place and have been kept in exceptional condition over the years (this includes coming in the original packaging). For example, a copy of The Beatles: Let it Be sold for $270 in January 2019 on ValueYourMusic, and not only was it in excellent condition, but it also came with all of the original storage plastics and cardboard sleeve. A copy in slightly more used condition sold for $114.50 on eBay just a month later. But none of this compares to a copy of the 1999 film, End of Days starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which sold for $582 on eBay (after receiving 53 bids) in January 2019.
25 Worthless: Most LaserDiscs ($0 - $25)
LaserDisc collectors shouldn't get too excited just yet, because not all are valuable. In fact, most are not, due to a few different reasons. To start, the opportunity for selling LaserDisc copies of movies is becoming extremely marginal as fewer and fewer people will have working players. There was one manufacturer that continued to make new LaserDisc players well into the 2000s despite the format already having been declared obsolete, but even they finally ceased their production in 2009. Making matters even worse, LaserDiscs themselves have also been shown to not hold up very well over time, with the glue that binds them actually starting to break down in recent years.
24 Fortune: He-Man Toys ($50 - $3,550)
There's a huge community of He-Man toy collectors who grew up with the franchise in the 1980s and now enjoy the nostalgia. He-Man toys of all types appear to sell fairly well (provided they are in good condition), and it's not uncommon for small collections or individual figures to sell for around $50 and up. Rarer pieces can even sell for hundreds of dollars.
A mostly complete Eternia playset sold for $1,225. A fully boxed, mint condition playset can go for a lot more, like the one that sold for $3,550 in December 2018.
23 Worthless: McDonald's Happy Meal Toys ($0 - $10)
The first Happy Meal was introduced in 1979, and with it came the first McDonald’s toy. Now in 2019, it may seem like vintage McDonald’s toys might be worth something. In reality, it’s basically impossible to find a single Happy Meal toy from any decade going for more than $10, and the sales that are actually at $10 or more include multiple toys. A vintage lot of Halloween McNugget Buddies toys that sold for $8.50 (less than a dollar apiece) in November 2018 is an example of what sellers can expect in a typical best-case scenario.
Now, considering the price of a Happy Meal as a whole costs less than $5, this may at first appear to be a profit. However, the fact that they are so cheap may be part of the problem.
22 Fortune: Vintage Game Consoles ($100 - $3,000)
New game systems will always sell, but an otherwise outdated video game console that has been kept in great condition and has all of its parts can actually go for a lot on their own. We did come across various older consoles (like an Atari 5200) that sold for just between $100 and $200, but there are a surprising amount that have recently sold for much more. For example, an original Sega Genesis console that was kept in new condition sold for a winning bid of $1,540 on eBay in January 2019. The same month, a refurbished PC Engine Lt from 1991 went for $1,520. Likewise, a Nintendo 64 launch edition sold for $1,574 in December 2018.
21 Worthless: Tamagotchi ($0 - $30)
Finding consistent recorded sales of any of them on eBay or other selling networks or auctions is challenging enough (there are a lot of listings that have gone unsold), and most of those in like-new condition with their original packaging and everything are only listed between $19.99 and $30. Special edition Tamagotchis (like the Devilgotchi) are supposed to be worth more, but there’s still tons of disagreement among fans of the toy over how much they should actually go for. There is a recorded sale of an unused Devilgotchi in its original packaging going for $519, though the profit was actually less because shipping was built into the cost.
20 Fortune: Original / Rare Cabbage Patch Kids ($400 - $1,000+)
Not all old Cabbage Patch Kids are worth a lot, but the original ones that were made in the late 1970s and early 1980s by supposed creator Xavier Roberts (there's some controversy as to whether or not he stole the concept) often bring in between $400 and $1,000 on eBay. These ones have Roberts’ signature on their bottoms and should have all their original parts in order to sell for their full value. Ones with their "adoption papers" and unique outfits can go for even more. Considering the fact that original Cabbage Patch Kids sold for $40, this is quite the profit.
19 Worthless: Most Dolls ($0 - $10.00+)
Bad news for anyone holding on to their childhood collections (and we’re not even going to touch Beanie Babies here. No, those Princess Diana bears aren’t actually worth much). Obviously, these toys have some of the highest sentimental value around, but that doesn't change the fact that financially they fall short. While original and celebrity versions of Cabbage Patch Dolls may be worth a fortune, the majority of the dolls are not due to their mass production, decrease in popularity, and the cheaper production.
18 Fortune: Rare Barbies ($3,000 - $300,000+)
Rare Barbies are another doll exception. Emphasize the word, “rare”. Those that do not fit the corner of modern mass production standards are actually worth quite a lot. One of the most valuable Barbies is the original 1959 Barbie doll herself. Also known as “Barbie No. 1”, this doll is estimated to be worth around $8,000. The most valuable Barbie dolls ever are specially-designed editions for certain events like movies and fashion shows, almost always coming from a Mattel partnership with a designer. The most expensive sale ever of a Barbie doll came with the Stefano Canturi Barbie, which was produced over six months for a Breast Cancer Research Foundation benefit. The doll sold for a whopping $302,500.
17 Worthless: DVDs / CDs ($0 - $1+)
With vinyl record players having made a comeback and streaming services for both music and visual media becoming more expansive and affordable, the general population just does not have much of a use for hard copies of their movies and music. Both mediums have plummeted in value in recent years, and it's just about impossible to make a profit off of selling old collections of them. CDs are worth even less than DVDs because, let’s face it, most people just don’t have a CD player anymore (as opposed to many people still retaining BlueRay and DVD players). Newer car models don’t even come with CD playing capabilities.
16 Fortune: Rare Books ($100 - $80,000+)
Despite new technology always changing how we can receive the written word, books in their regular printed form have been shown to endure. This is great news for those with book collections, as there will be a market to sell for the foreseeable future. While most "used" books won't get more than a few dollars, rare books can indeed be worth a fortune. The first-ever edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (the U.K. version, that is) only had 500 copies printed during its initial run in 1997, one of which went on to sell for $81,250 at an auction in 2018. The first edition of the U.S. version (swap "Sorcerer" in for "Philosopher") from 1998 isn’t entirely worthless either— it’s been sold for up to $7,000 at auction.
15 Worthless: VHS Tapes ($0 - $25+)
Unlike DVDs, which still play just as well on Blu-ray players and game consoles, VHS tapes can only be played on now-defunct equipment that most people just don’t have anymore. Some people have tried listing collections and even individual tapes for hundreds to thousands of dollars on eBay (leading to the widespread false belief that certain VHS tapes are worth a fortune), but are they actually selling for these amounts? No, no they are not. Snopes even investigated the matter in 2016, at a time when various articles claiming certain VHS tapes to be extremely valuable were popping up on blogs and light news websites around the internet.
14 Fortune: Pokemon Cards ($5 - $50,000+)
We’re not talking sports here. Rare Pokemon cards can command small fortunes when sold. One of the best examples is the Pikachu Illustrator card (the rarest of them all), which is actually so in demand that numerous fakes have hit the market over the years. Still, collectors know the real thing when they see it, and one of these cards was sold for $54,970 at a California auction in 2016.
Rare individual cards can command just as much by themselves. One First Edition Venosaur card from 1999 sold for $237 on eBay in February 2019, while another example is a First Edition Shadowless Charizard that sold for $899 the same month. Those interested in learning what their cards may be worth should check out PokemonPrices.com, where listed values are updated regularly.
13 Worthless: Vintage Band Tees ($0 - $40+)
It’s fairly easy to find a decent amount of vintage band T-shirts listed for high prices online, but finding actual records of them being sold for these high asking amounts is a different story. The truth is that modern hipster culture has resulted in the reproduction of a lot of “classic” band T-shirts from shows, tours, and albums, making it very difficult to pick out the true originals from the bunch. Then there’s the fact that T-shirts, in general, are made from cheaper clothing materials and wear down easily with repeated wearing and washing.
12 Fortune: Classic Action Figures ($80 - $25,000)
Older action figures in great condition can be worth quite a lot these days. For example, a 2003 sale on eBay saw “Rocky”, the marine paratrooper action figure (who would later evolve into G.I. Joe) sell for $200,000. Likewise, anyone who can get their hands on a “Manimals” G.I. Joe collectible is not only extremely lucky (the line was discontinued in the 1990s before it even hit the mainstream store shelves) but also potentially rich— a "Vortex MOC C-7" Manimals figure sold for a little over $20,000 on eBay. Movie action figures tend to bring in more modest fortunes, but fortunes nonetheless.
11 Worthless: Hot Wheels ($0.74 - $100+)
Like VHS tapes, this is one of those collectible items that many tend to believe are selling for much more than they actually are. A huge lot of these cars from the 1990s in mint condition (all 75 of them still in their original packaging and with short cards included) sold in February 2019 on eBay for… wait for it… $55.55. We found that most Hot Wheels sales over more than a few dollars on eBay were for lots such as this, making individual cars valued at less than a dollar each. The problem is that Hot Wheels cars are very inexpensive to begin with, and most models are highly mass produced.
10 Fortune: Star Trek Memorabilia ($5 - $300,000+)
Money might not be used in the 23rd and 24th centuries, but Star Trek items can nevertheless go for quite a lot in our 21st-century currency. The selling prices here vary widely, but this is only because there are so many different kinds of items in the world of Star Trek memorabilia. After all, the popular franchise is over 50 years old, has eight TV shows (and that's not even including the animated series or TV shorts), over a dozen films and a wide range of books, comics, and artwork. There was even a theme park at one point and a 1997 documentary made about the fans themselves. Memorabilia items of all types sell quite easily on eBay and through other venues.
9 Worthless: Funko Pop! Collectibles ($0.01 - $1,550)
Those looking to sell these are most likely better off doing so sooner rather than later. While popular now, the market has already become oversaturated with these fun little bobbleheads, and many are projecting that the bubble on this fad will eventually burst. Some users on a pricing forum for the collectibles have pointed out that prices have already begun falling even for the “rare” Pop! Items (an average Pop! goes for between just a few bucks and $20). The supposed “rarest” Pop! of them all is supposed to be the Holographic Darth Maul, currently valued at $1,550. Despite only 480 of these having been made, the market is flooded with “custom” replicas, making it hard to distinguish the real thing from a fake.
8 Fortune: Star Wars Memorabilia ($5 - $600,000+)
It would be a crime to have Star Trek items on this list without including the other massive space saga franchise that is Star Wars. Like Star Trek, Star Wars memorabilia sells rather easily due to its popularity and incredibly large fan base, though the selling prices do vary greatly depending on the item. Unsurprisingly, the most valuable items tend to be from Episodes IV, V and VI. For example, a single Jawa figurine (with a rare vinyl cape) sold for $16,500) in 2013. Nevertheless, there are a surprising amount of items (many of them LEGO figures) from the early 2000s that can fetch high prices today due to the fact that relatively few of them were manufactured.
7 Worthless: Rubik's Puzzles ($1.00 - $30+)
If you own a Rubik's Cube or related puzzle, you're far from alone. These multi-color cube puzzles were all the rage in the 1980s, and so the company that made them (Rubik’s Brand Ltd) made different variations and designs to expand their market. Meanwhile, other companies built imitation puzzles in an attempt to capitalize on the craze. But like most things, interest eventually waned, and while the 2000s saw a revival, the puzzles are still nowhere near as popular as they once were. Even rare versions don’t tend to be very valuable, such as the 1981 Rubik’s Cube Barrel Whip-It Twist Puzzle that was recently sold for just $30 on eBay. And $30 is, believe it or not, on the high end.
6 Fortune: Classic Movie Posters ($50 - $600,000+)
Generally speaking, the older the movie, the more valuable its poster. While numerous classic film posters have sold for hundreds to thousands of dollars, the current record holder is the International edition of the Metropolis film poster. Produced in 1927 for the groundbreaking Sci-Fi film, this poster sold for $690,000 in 2005.
Posters from more modern eras are not going to be worth anywhere near that due to their mass reproduction (it's almost impossible now to determine an original print from a reproduction for any movie from the 1980s and upward). However, "modern classics" can still bring in a decent profit. For example, posters for the 1980 cult favorite, Flash Gordon, regularly bring in between $50 and $150 on eBay.
5 Worthless: Old Calendars ($0 - $50)
Outdated calendars sure can be fun to look at, but ultimately there’s not much purpose (or market) for them. Calendars with past film stars, pop cultural references and cool artwork that are in great condition may be able to get more than a few dollars— a Marilyn Monroe pinup calendar from 1956 sold for $49.99 on eBay in February 2019, and a still-sealed 1991 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles calendar went for $17.00. But these are very much the exception, and it's actually pretty difficult to find any calendar that has sold for more than $10 (and even this is reaching).
4 Fortune: Comic Books ($3 - $3.2 million)
Sealed copies in perfect or near-perfect condition will see the best results when listed for sale, such as a sealed "Universal Grade" copy of DC Comics Strange Adventures No. 112 from 1960 that recently went for $1,035.32 on eBay (the discontinued Strange Adventures comic series tends to sell well in general). Newer comic books may only sell for a few dollars (depending on demand), but it's rare that something doesn't sell if it's still in good condition. The most valuable comic books are generally from The Golden Age, between the late 1930s and 1950. Most impressive of all was a copy of Action Comics No. 1 (released in 1938) that sold for $3.2 Million in 2014.
3 Worthless: Vintage Stickers ($0 - $5+)
Stickers are fun to collect, but their incredibly cheap production in large quantities means they are worth next to nothing when compared to other collectibles. Even "rare" ones don't cost all that much to make, and so they aren't going to go for much come sale time. Making matters even worse is the fact that stickers usually don't hold up too well the older they get. Those with a boatload of old stickers on their hands may actually stand to make some money simply due to the fact that each one (each sheet, that is) isn’t generally worth more than a couple dollars, if that. One large lot (36 perfectly maintained sheets) of 1980s stickers that included Hello Kitty, scratch n’ sniff, Smurfs and puffy versions sold for $203.50 on eBay in January 2019.
2 Fortune: Movie Props And Film Set Memorabilia ($40 - $4.6 million)
Obviously, the value of a piece is going to depend on a number of factors here: its condition, the movie itself (was it from a popular film? Is it culturally significant? Does it still have a following?), and, of course, the type of item (prop weapon, costume, set piece, etc). Anything used by a famous actor or director and/or had an important role in the film may be of considerable value, and the most valuable props and set memorabilia of all are those that were from films that had an impact and are remembered decades after their initial release. For example, James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 from 1964’s Goldfinger sold in 2010 for $4.6 million, but that’s not even as impressive as Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white dress from 1955’s The Seven Year Itch, which actually sold for the same amount in 2011.
1 Worthless: Fan Artwork ($0)
Who doesn't love good fan art? Unfortunately, copyright holders do not. It's true that some fan artwork looks fantastic and would appear to be of high value (especially if quality materials are used), but it’s the actual process of selling fan art that is the issue. This is because most works of fan art depict characters that have ironclad copyrights on them, and so the sale of them is illegal unless written permission from the copyright holder is present (and this is extremely difficult to obtain if not impossible for most people). According to copyright law, this also includes sequels and anything that includes original material / copyrightable elements from the initial work.