Yesterday I was discussing several toys from my childhood about which I wished I had more information. Shortly after posting the article I was able to find out what two of the four items were called. Elated to know what these critters were actually called, I quickly hopped on eBay where I found out that those little pieces of plastic and rubber were worth quite a little bit. My little ghost, a Kooky Spooky called Baby Spook Em, was part of a group of four figures that were currently selling for over $120. A new Grandma McCreak still in the box was sitting at $500.
Let me try and make this as clear as I can. All this toy consists of is a little glow in the dark plastic finger puppet of a ghost with a painted on face. They each initially came with a little sign or other accessory, but the set of four, like my own Baby Spook Em, were all missing their signs or whatever. This means that a little finger puppet that vaguely resembles a floating sheet with eyes and a mouth painted on it is selling by itself for about $30. I might pay that for one of these ghosts still in their haunted house display box, but loose and without the sign, I would be hard pressed to go above $5.
The little rubber dungeon men were equally surprising. By the way, quick side note, do not put rubber dungeon men in your Google image search and hope to find these toys. I learned very quickly to use the term prisoners instead. Once I found the little rubber toys, I learned that they were called jigglers and that they also sold for a premium on eBay.
This morning I told my wife about what I had found out and her response was, “Great. Let’s sell yours.” Here’s the problem. I’ve had these toys packed away in the attic untouched for several years. They haven’t been played with or displayed since I was in grade school back in the early seventies. For all intents and purposes if they turned up missing, I wouldn’t even realize it unless I decided to do a search through the boxes of toys to try and locate them. Never the less, the thought of selling them is completely anathema to me. I may not want to spend $127 trying to give Baby Spook Em a family to hang around with, but I’d still rather have my old finger puppet ghost than the $30+ it might bring me on eBay.
So what is your childhood worth? How much would you take for the old treasures of your youth? How much would you pay to get them back? I have replaced several toys that I used to have with ones I found on eBay, and I have replaced some with modern reproductions where the original is extremely pricey and usually missing key accessories. I would love to have some better Major Matt Mason toys, but I know I would never pay the prices that they fetch on eBay. At the same time I would never think about selling my beat up old Major and his buddies even if I was offered $100 each for them as is.
To my mind there is an intangible part of my childhood still trapped inside of these little pieces of plastic. As long as I have them in my possession, my childhood will never completely slip away. The replacements and add-ons that I might pick up are just that. They have none of the magic of my childhood trapped inside of them. They are just pieces of plastic representing something I played with. The exception seems to be when I find a deal at a flea market or yard sale. About 20 years ago I stumbled across a couple of boxes of old model kits at a church yard sale. Some one had cleaned out their son’s old room and donated all of these old built up kits to the church. I bought every one of them, even the duplicates. There was Batman, Frankenstein, some sports kits, a space ship. They had all been assembled. Some had been painted. Many were missing pieces. The thing is you could still feel the love that the previous owner had for these toys. It was infused in the very plastic of these kits. They sold me the whole lot for about $5. I would have paid much much more for them. The kits are all collectible and I could easily make my money back just by selling any one of them, but I won’t. They aren’t just models. They are childhood memories, even if they aren’t mine, and childhood memories are priceless.