Toys become collectors' items usually decades after they stop being produced, but no line has been so popular for so long as McDonald's Happy Meal toys. Since 1979, the McDonald's chain of restaurants has placed small plastic toys -- often relating to a current TV show, popular toy, or movie trend -- in their kids' meals; this is very often the only part of the meal that the youngster even bothers to use. Some Happy Meal toys are worth quite a bit of money now, so it pays to do your research before you sell them at your yard sale or go garage saling on a hunt for them.
Teeny Beanie Babies, which were released in the spring of 1997, had a fanatical following when they first appeared in Happy Meals. In fact, McDonald's locations had to put a limit on the toys: a maximum of 10 per customer. The food was simply discarded as patrons tried to gather up as many of the Teeny Beanie Babies as they could. Now these toys are worth as much as $10-20, and can be bought, sold, and traded with collectors around the country and even the world.
If you have Happy Meal toys from several years ago -- or from a time when that type was particularly popular -- you'll probably only get a good deal on reselling them if they are unopened. This is true of most toys, but it's especially true of Happy Meal toys because they are already not worth very much (and they can only be a maximum of about 30 years old). Unless you know that a toy has an extremely high value on the collectors' market, don't buy any up unless they're unopened.
A quick Google search will get you most of the information you need to successfully buy and sell Happy Meal toys, but some more specific resources are here:
- The McDonald's Collectors Club (http://www.mcdclub.com/) was founded in Cleveland by Ken and Jenny Brady, and helps organize swap meets for collectors of McDonald's toys all across the country. They have an FAQ page with lots of great info on the value of the toys, and you can write to the current president for the most up-to-date information.
- eBay is always a reliable source of current prices. Track a few products similar to yours to see what the going price seems to be averaging. After you've done that, you can put yours out there for a similar price and hope a buyer bites.
- Pricing books are available specifically for McDonald's toys. You do have to pay for the information they provide (or you can check them out at the library!), but they are very accurate.
If you're on the market for Happy Meal toys, check out garage sales -- they're a great place to look! We've got all the free resources you need for garage sales at GarageSaleCow.com. Come check it out!