From Watergate to the global oil crisis, adults in the 70s couldn't catch a break. Thankfully, kids were free to roam around on their bicycles, skateboards, and roller skates and bounce from the movie theater to the arcade without a care in the world. While 70s kids didn't have an abundance of toys like kids today, their favorites made such an impression that even the most traditional collectors can't pass up on getting back a piece of their childhood. Some of your parents' treasured 70s toys might even be worth thousands of dollars.
Double Telescoping Star Wars Figurines
Ask any person who was a kid in the 1970s about their Star Wars experience, and you'll hear a different fantastical story each time. If you're a sci-fi geek, then getting to grow up in the 70s was an experience like no other. Star Wars: A New Hope truly changed the world, and the American toy company, Kenner, wasn't prepared for the Beatlemania-style demand that kids threw their way.
Of the Kenner-made Star Wars merch, the double telescoping lightsaber action figures are the most infamous. They were made as a promo for the first film's release and included main characters like Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The coolest bit of these blister-packed toys was the two-piece collapsible lightsaber that came with them. Quickly, single-body lightsaber action figures surpassed the complex two-piece versions, making these double telescoping action figures worth a ton of money.
Generally, the most valuable are completely unopened and can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. For instance, Sotheby's estimated a boxed Luke Skywalker was worth about $12,000-$18,000.
Evel Knievel Toys
Evel Knievel is the original daredevil. Decked out in jumpsuits that Elvis would've been jealous of, he jumped his way into the hearts of kids across America with his death-defying stunts. A man who understood the importance of branding, Knievel created a bunch of toys to let kids safely reenact his stunts at home. One of the most popular was the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. Although it's not particularly difficult to find, pristine versions can sell for about a $100. A stunt cycle without the box recently sold for $60 online.
You might not make a crazy profit from Knievel's toys, but given how many kids had them, there's a high chance you can find one somewhere in your parents' house. Expensive collectibles are all well and good, but it doesn't matter how much they're worth if you can't ever find one to sell. That's where you can thank Evel Knievel's massive merchandising campaign.
Redline Hot Wheels Cars
You don't have to be born 60 years ago to enjoy tossing a little Hot Wheels car up a ramp like you're slinging rocks into a lake, but if you had the pleasure of being there for the birth of it all, then you got to experience Hot Wheels in their prime. Called the Redline era because the cars' wheels had red stripes on the outside, these late-60s and 70s cars embody the tear-up-the-pavement recklessness of iconic films and shows like Easy Rider, Smoky and the Bandit, and The Dukes of Hazzard.
While all of these Redline cars are collectible in their own right, you won't get massive payoffs on every toy car with a red stripe. Collectors like cars with their original box packaging or blister packs more than those that've been opened, and they prefer models with the lowest production numbers. Valuable Hot Wheels like the pink Beach Bomb with its failed rear-loading design and the blue painted Rodger Dodger will have collectors tripping over each other to put their bid in. Typically, these cars in mint condition will sell for around $2,000-$8,000 each, with the very rarest cars going for much more.
Lord of the Rings Knickerbocker Playsets
It's safe to say that most Millennials and Gen Zers know Lord of the Rings thanks to Peter Jackson's massively popular early 2000s trilogy, and not for the infamous 1970s animated adaptation. Rest assured, 1978's The Lord of the Rings is nightmare fuel, but Tolkien fans are as devoted to Middle Earth as Star Trek fans are to the Enterprise. As a tie-in companion piece to the movie, the toy company Knickerbocker created a playset featuring an assorted cast of characters from the story: Frodo, Samwise, Frodo's horse, a ringwraith and his horse, Gandalf, Gollum, and Aragorn,
Because the movie did so poorly, these toys weren't in high-demand and didn't spend a long time on the market. Nowadays, they're more desirable than they ever were, and collectors will pay a good amount for these quaint toys. In mint condition, a completed set can sell for about $5,000-$10,000, depending on the collector. For instance, one complete set sold for $7,999.99 through a vintage toy trader.
Stretch Armstrong was a gimmick toy that shouldn't have been as popular as it was. Literally a human-shaped bag of corn syrup and latex, this toy could be manipulated in every direction - something no other action figure at the time could do. From 1976 'til the end of the decade, every kid had to have one. For how many were made, it's surprisingly difficult to find them unstretched and still in the box.
That's where the real value comes from. Vintage stretched versions aren't even worth trying to sell, but unstretched Armstrongs? To the right buyer, they can get you about $500-$2,000. For example, one Stretch still in the box is listed for $829 on eBay.
Tips for Selling Vintage 70s Toys
We're sure that the rows and rows of dusty, unsold vintage toys you see in thrift stores don't give you any confidence in being able to make money off of your parents' favorite childhood playthings. There's an art to parting with any collectible, vintage toy or not. So, before you donate any of the vintage toys that are in good condition, take a look at how easy it can be to make a little profit from your efforts.
Pick Sealed and Boxed Toys for Maximum Profit
Although you're not as likely to find boxed toys from the70s lying around, they are some of the easiest toys to sell. No matter what niche collectible a toy collector has, they're much more likely to buy something if it's in mint condition. This means if you can find something sealed and in its factory state, you'll be able to make the biggest profit for the quickest turn around.
Choose the Right Places to List
You're going to make a bigger profit by selling your toys online, and while eBay is the easiest way for a novice, there's also no guarantee that you'll make money anytime soon. So, you should also look for vintage toy stores or companies that frequently buy or sell the products you have. For instance, Toywiz buys many different collectibles, including vintage toys like Star Wars action figures.
These 70s Toys Are Your Golden Ticket
When it comes to vintage 1970s toys, there are a whole lot to choose from, but only a rare few are worth more than $50. Vintage collecting can be incredibly fickle, with interest waxing and waning quicker than any moon cycle. Certain toys are always a big hit, though. If you discover one of these in a box somewhere and you find the right collector to buy it, you could be in for a nice 'treat yourself' kind of weekend.