Dear Crabby, Can You Put a Price on Nostalgia?

Dear Crabby,

The other day I walked into Target and felt like I entered a time machine. Before me were scrunchies, banana clips, Caboodles and pretty much everything my teenage self coveted back in the ‘90s. So, it got me thinking: with everything old becoming new again, is any of my stuff valuable?

Sonja Sentimental

Dear Sonja Sentimental,

I have no clue what a scrunchie is, but it sounds a bit like some sort of torture device women use to improve their appearance. Ya know. Like a girdle. Anyway, I kind of know what you’re talking about. It seems like there’s a lot of anniversaries this year. For example, the Disney movie The Little Mermaid turns 30 this year. And I keep coming across articles that say certain VHS tapes or things like rare Beanie Babies could be worth a fortune. The key word is ‘certain’ here. Just because you have something from the ‘90s doesn’t mean people will want it.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

For example, when they say some Beanie Babies could be worth thousands – even tens of thousands – they are basically talking about only four designs: Princess, Peace, Mystic, or Royal Blue Peanut to be specific. Even if you have one of those bean bags of gold, you’d still need to find someone willing to pay all that money for it. The other thing to keep in mind is the condition of your treasures. Chances are you spent hours watching your favorite VHS movie or playing with your favorite toys. That means, you took them out of the box. And because you weren’t thinking that 30 years later people would actually care about this stuff, you foolishly threw the box away. So, now your big payoff has been reduced to mere chump change. Honestly. What were you thinking? I guess it all comes down to how much effort you want to put in corralling your stuff, finding out how much it’s worth, then figuring out the best way to sell it. For me, it wouldn’t be worth all the hassle. Although, I would be curious to know how much some of my old Lone Ranger stuff would be worth. If I still had my silver bullet ring or badge, you betcha I would have taken them to Meadow Brook Hall this summer when that Antique Roadshow television program came to town. In my mind they would have been worth enough to take Mrs. Crabby on a nice vacation. In reality, they probably would have been worth enough for a nice dinner out.

That’s the thing to keep in mind. If you like something, then buy and use it. Enjoy it. Don’t leave it boxed on a shelf in the hopes that it might be worth something… someday. Because the chances it will be are pretty slim. And the chance of your kids or grandkids wanting your collectibles are even slimmer. So, yes. You can put a price on nostalgia. It just doesn’t mean you’ll get what you’re asking.

Enjoy your stroll down memory lane!
Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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