With the 50th anniversary of the coming of the Beatles to America and the passing of Shirley Temple, some seniors who collected tangible memories of their youth are getting teary eyed--all the way to the bank.
Mindful that nostalgia has always exerted a strong pull on the heart strings and the purse strings, experts say financial consultants would be well advised to tell clients to be on the watch for today’s toy box gems that could be worth more in retirement for their kids than the ubiquitous gold watch.
Going down the aisles of the Wal-Mart’s toy department, notables from tchotchke think-tanks said Monster High Dolls and Ninja Turtle figurines could figure to be the priciest collectables that today’s tot owns when he is old enough to be scratching his head for hair he has not.
Ninja Turtles from the late 80s and early 90s are already providing dividends to collectors, said Randy Falk, the National Entertainment Collectibles Association's director of product development.
Some action figures that retailed for $3.50 20 or 30 years ago are flying off the shelves for upwards of $700 to kids-emeritus in their late 20s and early 30s who have the jobs and disposable income to indulge in the fantasies of their youth and to pass on the thrill to their children, who are being swamped with a new generation of the Turtles and Turtle ads, he said.
One factor that could keep prices down from what Beatle and Shirley Temple collectors in their childhoods are getting now is that there are speculators and hoarders who are quickly buying up toys, Falk said.
That means supply may be destined to outstrip demand.
Falk said the more pristine an action figure is, the higher value it has on the aftermarket; so if buying for investment, keep the toy boxed may be the wisest strategy.
Linda Edwards, president of the United Federation of Doll Clubs, said she has already seen this wisdom fall flat on its face.
Edwards recalled mothers and grandmothers who bought beautiful, high-quality Madame Alexander dolls in the 1960’s and 70s for their youngsters with the rule. “do not touch.”
“But the girls never played with them and never had a sense to develop any feeling for them so now they are basically are worthless," she said. "If these kids don’t have fond memories of particular dolls, they are not going to want to collect them as they get older.”
She names herself as a great case-in-point. Of her 3,000 dolls, her biggest delight comes from one that has been by her side forever.
“Mattel’s Baby First Step Doll was my favorite doll from my own childhood and she is still my favorite doll,” Edwards said.