Incredibly Expensive McDonald's Toys That May Be Hiding in Your Attic or Garage
For most, it’s only too easy to toss out old toys, especially ones that come inside Happy Meal boxes. But as time passes, some of these tiny toys are appreciating in value — and quickly. Many Happy Meal toy sets are worth anywhere between $50 and $5,000. Those who keep their old knick-knacks inside of storage boxes may want to take the weekend to sort through them. There could be Happy Meal gold in those dusty containers!
TY Teenie Beanie Babies
In the 1990s, Beanie Babies were one of the hottest commodities. They flew off toy store shelves in massive quantities as collectors and parents fought for a chance to own limited edition stuffed animals. McDonald's saw dollar bill signs in those tiny animals and wisely decided to release an extensive collection of Teenie Beanie Babies.
While a complete collection could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars to the right collector, an incomplete set still sells for at least $100. Decades later, people are still crazy about these bean-filled bears.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Since their American debut in 1993, the Power Rangers have dominated children's programming. Throughout the last two decades, McDonald's has released a myriad of Power Rangers toys. Still, the toys they released in celebration of the 1995 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie are the most popular — and the most valuable.
A complete sealed set of Power Rangers toys can fetch anywhere between $70 and over $400. If you've got a dusty box of old Happy Meal toys sitting around somewhere, now might be a good time to check it for valuable treasures.
Despicable Me 2 Minions
The Despicable Me series is one of the most beloved contemporary series for children. It grew in popularity quickly and garnered a few well-earned sequels. In 2013, Despicable Me 2 hit theaters hard, and McDonald's promptly hopped aboard the Minion train. The lumpy yellow henchmen began to appear in Happy Meals nationwide.
Overall, the fast-food giant released a set of eight Minion toys in 2013, and though they've had little time to appreciate in value, a full set is worth between $80 and $120. Jerry the Minion is particularly popular.
If you were a child in 1998, chances are you owned a Furby. These strange, furry robots could speak, blink and, most importantly, learn from previous experiences. While the NSA did declare Furbies to be a significant security risk due to their ability to remember things, it didn't make this claim until 1999.
In 1998, Furbies were taking over the world. Naturally, McDonald's got involved, producing a varied set of many colorful Furbies. Though the Happy Meal Furbies couldn't speak, they were still fun to collect. Today, a full set sells for around $100.
In 1988, one of the biggest kids’ shows on TV was Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock. Featuring a zany cast of colorful puppets, it had a catchy theme song that was fun and easy to sing along with. Realizing that it could use this earworm to promote Happy Meals, McDonald's promptly deployed a set of Fraggle Rock toys.
A complete set of six toys can fetch about $20 opened and about $300 if left unopened. However, their sentimental value may outweigh their monetary value, especially for fans of the ‘80s show.
McDonald's has a long-term relationship with Hot Wheels miniature toy cars. The fast-food chain has been gifting these mobile playthings to children since 1979. While the newer 2019 models may not be worth very much, the Hot Wheels toys from the 1979 and 1983 releases can fetch a pretty penny.
A full set of the 1983 Hot Wheels toys, which consists of 14 cars, quickly sells for hundreds of dollars. An avid collector might gladly pay up to $500 for these vintage McDonald's toys. That's a decent profit!
Transforming Food (Changeables)
The popularity of a particular group of animated, transforming robots seems to have inspired the 1987 release of Changeables, also known as McRobots. These toys initially appeared to be plasticized versions of famous McDonald's food items. Still, by moving the parts of the toys, the food items transformed into delicious-looking robots.
McDonald's released three series of these toys. The last batch transformed into dinosaurs rather than robots. Today, a full set of any of the Changeables series of toys might garner between $50 and $100 from the right buyer.
The beloved Peanuts character Snoopy has been a recurring guest in Happy Meals. In 1998 and 1999, the animated pup went on two world tours. The result? Fifty-six unique Snoopy toys, 28 for each world tour. Sold with these figures was a collectible case, one for each trip.
Prudent, or perhaps clairvoyant, collectors who snatched up a complete set of Snoopy toys from each release, including the cases, can expect to cash those treasures in for at least $250. A single tour set is still valuable, often selling for about $150.
In 1999, Matthew Broderick took on the role of the enigmatic and hapless Inspector Gadget. To celebrate, McDonald's released a set of Inspector Gadget Happy Meal toys. Each toy was a single component of the inspector's body, and a full collection of eight toys resulted in a complete Inspector Gadget action figure.
Though the live-action film ended up being only a moderate success, the McDonald's Inspector Gadget toy set currently fetches between $70 and $350. If you find one in your attic, you might want to shout, "Go, Gadget, Go!"
Potato Head Kids
Toy Story, the contemporary classic Pixar film that defined a generation, features a surly Mr. Potato Head. His demeanor quickly begins to make sense when you consider the fact that Mr. Potato Head was the father of at least eight Potato Head Kids in 1987.
The eight mini potato heads were produced by Playskool and McDonald's, bringing tiny, starchy bits of joy to the children who received them. Today, a complete set of eight Potato Head Kids quickly brings in around $80. However, sellers may be hard-pressed to part with these tiny spuds.
Diener Keshi Underwater Monsters
These tiny rubber monsters are some of the most valuable McDonald's toys in the world. Produced in 1979, a single figure from this collection sells for around $40 or sometimes more. However, the lucky owner of a full set can expect to earn at least $400 from selling these Happy Meal toys.
Considering how creepy these brightly colored, rubberized figures are, it may be easy to bid them a fond, and financially beneficial, farewell. Interestingly, Diener Keshi also ended up producing a set of robot figures similar in size and appearance to the Underwater Monsters.
In 2017, two of the most powerful and influential companies in the world joined forces to create an immensely popular Happy Meal collaboration featuring the affable Mario. Nintendo's mustachioed mascot beckoned gamers and children alike to partake in fries, burgers and nuggets, and the result was astounding.
Though the Mario Happy Meal toy set is a fairly recent McDonald's collection, it’s nonetheless one of the most valuable. A complete set, including the two plushies, can garner between $50 and $100. However, that price is bound to double itself over the next decade.
Prehysteria! was a short-lived family-friendly film series that revolved around the escapades of baby dinosaurs. That may sound pretty odd, but it gets stranger. These tiny dinos were named after famous pop musicians — the Tyrannosaurus rex went by Elvis.
Yet, despite the weirdness of this straight-to-VHS production, the Prehysteria! dinosaur toys make up one of the most sought-after McDonald's toy sets. Just as they were on film, these solid-colored toy dinosaurs are incredibly small. Though a full set may not pay for your next vacation, it can add some padding to your wallet.
1996 was an excellent year for McDonald's. In celebration of the recently released live-action 101 Dalmatians film, the company decided to produce 101 unique Dalmatian puppy toys. Never before had a Happy Meal toy set been so challenging, or so rewarding, to collect and complete.
The cost of purchasing 101 Happy Meals in 1996 is still less than the profit that you might make selling a complete set of 101 Dalmatians toys. In 2019, full sets were sold online for around $300. Of course, that's only with the collectible display box.
Children of all ages look forward to Halloween night. The candy, the scares and the chance to wear a disguise are alluring aspects of the October holiday. In 1986, McDonald's decided to assist their young customers on their quest to obtain massive amounts of sweets by providing Halloween candy pails with the purchase of every Happy Meal.
Originally available in three jack-o’-lantern styles, the 1989 release saw the addition of a ghost pail and a witch pail. Another set was released in 1993. A complete collection can fetch between $100 and $300.
Diener Keshi Robots
Ah, the famous Diener Keshi Robots. These neon-colored rubber figures were released by McDonald's in 1979, just like their Underwater Monsters counterparts. And they are considered just as rare, and just as valuable. Though single figures may only be worth about $50, a full set easily garners $400.
The robots are quite small and can be challenging to find. This, of course, has only increased their value and attractiveness in the eyes of die-hard collectors. Besides, each tiny figure is a vintage piece, which adds a great deal of worth.
The Magic School Bus
In 1994, Ms. Frizzle and her class enchanted millions of children with their educational adventures aboard a magical school bus. McDonald's Happy Meals soon began featuring the famous yellow vehicle, replete with tiny students and miscellaneous lessons. The pocket-sized pinball mazes were particularly popular.
The popularity of The Magic School Bus has yet to wane, and a reboot of the series premiered in 2017. A full set of the 1994 toys typically fetches about $20, but if you consider knowledge to be the most valuable item, this set is priceless.
The 1997 Tamagotchi Happy Meal was so beloved that in 2019, McDonald's decided to re-release the popular theme. Though the McDonald's version of the electronic pet lacked power and didn't function exactly like a standard Tamagotchi, it remained one of the most collected and treasured toy sets ever to be released by the golden arches.
A set of six Happy Meal Tamagotchi toys may not be worth thousands of dollars, but it can add about $20 to your bank account. That's not bad, considering that these Tamagotchis are essentially lifeless.
The Little Mermaid
Disney's iconic 1989 animated film, The Little Mermaid, produced one of the most popular and well-loved princesses of all time: Ariel. Featuring comical secondary characters and a genuinely terrifying villain, the film marked a turning point in children's animated films.
McDonald's seemed to feel the change in the air when it agreed to release a small, four-piece set of The Little Mermaid toys. To entice collectors, the famous restaurant chain also released a limited-edition, rare golden Flounder. It worked. Today, the entire set, golden Flounder included, fetches up to $40.
Toy Story changed the way that animators create movies in nearly every way. The 1995 Pixar film went on to become a classic, and adults who grew up watching Toy Story still continue to reference it in daily life. The popularity of this masterpiece will likely increase to infinity, and beyond.
And so it comes as no surprise that one of the most valuable Happy Meal toy sets in existence is the mid-’90s Toy Story set. A complete, unopened set sells for about $200. You've got a friend in these toys.
Glory the Bear
Perhaps the most valuable item on this list is Glory the Bear. During the reign of the Beanie Babies, the Ronald McDonald House Charity released a slew of limited-edition plush bears. Most of these prized TY Teenie Beanie Babies are worth a few hundred dollars, but Glory the Bear outdoes them all.
The white, star-spangled bear presently sells for thousands of dollars. Depending on the condition of the packaging and the toy, owners can expect to earn a windfall of $5,000 from parting with Glory the Bear. Glory, glory hallelujah!
Halloween McNugget Buddies
Parents often like to remind their children that it's inappropriate to play with their food. But in 1996, during the ever-spooky month of October, McDonald's changed that notion. It introduced the public to Halloween McNugget Buddies, anthropomorphized chicken nuggets with devilish costumes and personalities.
Popular Halloween characters such as vampires, witches, mummies, ghosts, Frankenstein monsters and jack-o’-lanterns completed the collection. Today, a full set of six Halloween McNugget Buddies is worth approximately $250, if in excellent condition.
The Lion King II
The sequel to the massively successful The Lion King arrived in 1998, bringing with it a new slew of McDonald's toys. The Lion King II Happy Meal toy set immediately became famous, but maybe not in the way manufacturers had initially intended. Each plush toy was designed to represent a significant character from the film.
The only problem was that some of the character plushies looked bizarre. The Simba plushie, in particular, features an almost apologetic expression. Despite this, or because of it, a full set of six is worth about $150.
Wonderful Wildlife Asiatic Lion
Mistakes can be costly, but they can also be precious. Errors in judgment can be a great way to grow and learn, but they can also be valuable rarities, especially when that mistake is a Happy Meal toy. In 1994, McDonald's released an adorable set of plush animals.
Known as the Amazing Wildlife toy set, it allowed children to keep a stuffed-animal zoo in their backpacks. A small set of mislabeled toys found their way into the hands of consumers. The packaging read, "Wonderful Wildlife - Asiatic Lion," but it contained an elephant!
Barbie Birthday Fun — Asia
In 1993, McDonald's locations in Malaysia briefly released an Asian version of the popular "Barbie Birthday Fun at McDonald's" three-piece toy set. Featuring Barbie, Stacie and Todd, the set was quickly unavailable, turning it into a valuable rarity. Pristine U.S. editions of this toy set can fetch about $50.
However, the elusive Malaysian edition can sell for thousands of dollars, especially if it's in excellent physical condition. With that kind of cash, you could start saving for a real-life Barbie Dreamhouse. Is it time to fold out the attic ladder?
During the late 1990s, the U.S. experienced another British invasion. UK pop bands like the Spice Girls were dominating the charts, and the English-made Mr. Men and Little Miss book series were translated into toys at McDonald's. The resulting collection of 40 toys became a challenge for collectors.
Today, a full collection of Mr. Men and Little Miss Happy Meal toys can fetch at least $800 or more if they've never been opened. That's certainly one way to change your wallet from Mr. Grumpy to Mr. Happy!
Pixar continued to stun and impress audiences after enjoying the success of hits like Toy Story and A Bug's Life. Its 2001 film, Monsters, Inc., celebrated the same amount of popularity, and naturally, McDonald's released a 10-piece toy set to commemorate the film.
The plastic figures were particularly well-made, with plenty of impressive details and attractive color schemes. A full set of these toys probably won't make you an instant millionaire. Most Monsters, Inc. Happy Meal toy collections sell for $50, which is just enough to take yourself out to dinner.
Madame Alexander Dolls
2001 and 2002 saw the release of a completely new type of Happy Meal toy: ornate, old-fashioned miniature dolls. The first set of six Madame Alexander dolls featured a tiny Peter Pan, a Little Red Riding Hood and a traditional groom, among others.
Praised for their style and fashion, the small dolls quickly became favorites among collectors. A complete collection of the initial six dolls, released from 2001 to 2002, is worth approximately $40. However, a penultimate set of 66 dolls is worth about $400.
Wacky Races became a popular children's cartoon show during the late 1960s, so it came as a surprise when McDonald's decided to release a small set of Wacky Races Happy Meal toys in 1991. Featuring notable characters such as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, the four-piece set emanated nostalgia.
While these toys were probably more popular with parents than children upon their release, a complete set can make any '90s baby smile. The four cartoon drivers are worth a total of $160 — possibly more if unopened.
The 1987 Muppets Happy Meal toy collection consisted of six pieces, with two specifically designed for children under the age of three. The Muppets featured in the toys had abandoned their adult visages for infantile clothing and features. These baby Muppets were all shown driving or riding various machines.
The skateboarding Baby Kermit is radical enough on its own, but the entire set of baby muppets is worth around $70. Imagine this: The ancient clutter in your garage, basement or attic could help you pay off a bill or go grocery shopping.