Back in the day, when opening a new box of cereal gave you the same joy as ripping open presents on Christmas morning, Ronald McDonald's Happy Meal toys were the height of weekday luxury. The closest kids in the 1980s ever got to winning the lottery was getting the exact Happy Meal toy they'd pleaded with the fast food gods to give them. From pop culture glassware you can still use today to the whackiest toys imaginable, these are the most valuable Happy Meal toys that you wish you would've kept in the great Marie Kondo purge of 2019.
Vintage Happy Meal Toys Worth a Fortune
We're lovin' these vintage happy meal toys that are worth far more than McDonald's ever paid to manufacture them. Never doubt the power of novelty and a Millennial's need to get a serotonin boost by spending money.
McDonald's Halloween Boo Buckets
Your Halloween costume in 1986 wasn't complete if you didn't have one of McDonald's three boo buckets - McBoo, McPunk'n, and McGoblin. In white, orange, and green respectively, these seasonal Happy Meal toys were super popular - so popular, in fact, that McDonald's brought them back for the 2022 spooky season.
With new pails in circulation, it's expected that the value of vintage ones will steadily go down. Currently, you can get a pair of the 1990s buckets for about $20-$25, like this duo from 1999. But the original buckets from 1986 are where the real value's at. From anywhere between $25-$100, you can sell these vintage boo buckets, like one seller did with a trio of them on eBay for $125.
Not to be confused with Transformers like Optimus Prime, McDonald's own transformers were plastic toys that came in the shape of some of their best-selling products. Iconic shapes included things like a french fry box, an Egg McMuffin, a chicken nugget box, a carton of milk, an ice cream cone, and more. Brightly colored and plastic in that way that Fisher Price seems to do so well, these toys are worth a lot more than they ever were in the 1980s and 1990s.
You can find a lot of them listed online, with most people selling collections of them rather than just individual transformers. These toys really run the gamut in pricing, though a small collection of 4-5 typically sells for about $25, like this 7-piece lot that sold on eBay for exactly $25. McDonald's transformers that are still in their packaging are worth a bit more, like this 5-piece set that sold for $50 on eBay.
McDonald's Furby Keychains
The toy that launched a thousand nightmares, Furby is still going strong. These multicolored fuzzy Gremlin-like toys have an uncanny spirit to them that, if paired with AI, would absolutely take over the world. Thankfully, these furry plushies are as unanimated as a chair leg, and the grip they had on the 1990s has finally waned.
McDonald's wasn't one to pass up on an opportunity for a marketing tie-in, though, and pairing every '90s kids' obsession with Furby with their Happy Meal toys was a no-brainer. Nowadays, these small Furby keychains are back in the limelight thanks to the return of '90s and Y2K fashion. Individually, these toys are worth about $10, but selling them in larger sets is really where you'll make your money. Take this lot of 29 Furby keychains that sold on eBay for $127.50, for example.
McDonald's Beanie Babies
Nothing screams the 1990s more than Ty's Beanie Babies, and the company partnered with McDonald's in 1997 to create a special line of Teeny Beanies that fit perfectly inside the cardboard golden arches box. Of all the 1990s toys out there, Beanie Babies are the one that people still won't stop collecting in earnest. This makes the novelty Teeny Beanies one of the best selling and most valuable Happy Meal toys out there.
Hilariously, there's very little rhyme or reason as to which Teeny beanies sell and for how much online. Boxed/bagged ones can sell for as little as $1, which seems against the rules for vintage collectibles. But, one thing that's always consistent is that any of them with printing errors are worth a lot. For example, one lot on eBay comprised of 4 boxed Beanies with errors sold for $500. But, these are rare for a reason, and most McDonald's Beanies will sell for $1-$30 depending on how many you have in your collection.
Valuable Vintage McDonald's Glasses Worth a Polish
Back in the 1980s, going to a fast-food restaurant was an event, and these limited restaurants created all sorts of gimmicky goods, games, and giveaways that would draw people into their locations. While Happy Meals toys were for kids, McDonald's made their specialty glasses for adults. Adults could purchase these limited edition, usually pop culture tie-in, glasses for a nominal fee and get to take them home at the end of the day.
Nowadays, you can find these errant glasses in thrift stores around the country for pretty cheap prices. However, certain ones of these cheaply made novelty glasses are worth a second glance and maybe a nice polish because of how much some people are paying for them.
The Great Muppet Caper Glasses
In 1981, McDonald's made a couple of glasses to promote the new muppet move, The Great Muppet Caper. Decked out in bright and silly illustrations, there was a glass dedicated to every major character: Kermit, Miss. Piggy, Fozzie, and Gonzo, and the group of muppets in the Happiness Hotel bus. A complete set of these tall glasses go for about $20-$40 online, like this one that sold for $42.
Camp Snoopy Glasses
Made in 1983, McDonald's 'Camp Snoopy' glasses took the beloved characters from the Peanuts comic strips and printed them onto their signature cylindrical cups. There were five designs in total featuring the characters in various camp-themed scenes. Generally, they sell for about as much as most other vintage McDonald's glasses do - about $10-$40. Complete sets will get you the most money online, like this one that recently sold for $35.
Prototype Character Glasses
Before McDonald's turned to celebrity voiceovers and intense close-ups of their food, they were pumping out commercials with their unhinged characters getting into hijinks with one another. From the iconic Ronald McDonald to the indescribably strange Grimace, these characters weaseled their way into people's hearts in the 1960s and 1970s. They were so popular, in fact, that McDonald's made early prototypes of their future-successful glasses venture with some of their characters. These glasses are really valuable today because there's not a lot known about how many might be out there. In fact, individual glasses, like this Ronald McDonald, are selling for a little over $300 apiece on eBay.
1977 Collector's Action Series Set
Following their white-background character prototype glasses, McDonald's eventually settled on a clear background glass featuring six different characters: Ronald McDonald, Officer Big Mac, Mayor McCheese, Grimace, the Hamburgler, and Captain Crook. These were marketed as a bit of a collector's item, and people like having a complete set, leading them to being worth about $50-$75 in total. For example, this complete glass set sold for $79.99 on eBay.
Selling McDonald's Memorabilia Is as Easy as Buying It
When it comes to vintage kitschy collectibles like products made by a fast food company, you're not looking to sell to a highbrow collector. In fact, it's a toss up for just exactly who's interested in old McDonald's toys and glasses. But, the demand is there and people love reliving their childhood through things they can hold in their hands--particularly if they can do so for cheap. While these collectibles' profits aren't going to push you into a new tax bracket, they are worth enough to sell if you happen to have them on-hand. Before you do, make sure to consider a few things to get the most bang for your buck.
- List at places that your buyer frequents - When you're selling antique and vintage goods, you want to get as many eyes on your collectible as possible to find the person who's really interested in paying the most for what you've got. For McDonald's toys? That's going to be places like eBay and Etsy and not traditional auction websites that focus less on pop culture goods.
- Don't overprice your items - Though you're probably tempted to set a high bar for your items just to see if someone's willing to buy them for it, in the end it'll just make your listing sit there unanswered for weeks. So, try to match similar listings to yours if you're looking to make a sale pretty quickly.
- Sell in a set if possible - If you've got multiple pieces of a series, then you should list them all together rather than individually, because these vintage lots sell for a lot more than individual pieces do.
McFrickin' Lose It Over These McDonald's Collectibles
If there's one truth universally acknowledged in the United States, it's that kids love to get gifts, no matter how big or how small, and McDonald's figured out the perfect way to get kids to order their Happy Meals over and over again by taking advantage of this habit. By now, many decades after they first started, McDonald's toys have become something of legend among Gen X and Millennials. The quality and concept might not be quite as cool as it once was, but we can still relive those sick-day-toy-unboxing moments with these valuable vintage McDonald's collectibles.