Is Furby, the hottest toy of 1998, still in demand?
These days, there may not be actual fights and stampedes breaking out in stores over Furby shortages, but the furry, talking toys can still fetch a pretty penny on eBay.
Certain Furbys can sell for hundreds of dollars on the auction site. For example, this limited-edition "Special Furby Angel" recently sold for $800.
Meanwhile, a Furby fan in Harbor City, California, recently bought this rare "Kids Cuisine" Furby in an unopened box for $520.
And this rainbow-colored Furby with the tags still attached recently fetched $365 on eBay.
However, there’s no guarantee that the Furby you’ve been hanging onto for 20 years will command a huge price on eBay. Most original Furbys have very little value, says toy expert Mark Bellomo, author of "Toys & Prices" and several other books on toy collecting and valuation.
"Furbys are not ludicrously valuable," Bellomo told TODAY Home in an email. "The common Furby that was released in hundreds of thousands of units to thousands of retailers are not in demand on the secondary market because ... every kid owned one."
That said, a handful of rare Furbys that were retail exclusives or sold in limited numbers can be valuable. Bellomo points to a "Millennium Edition" Furby that recently sold on eBay for more than $4,500. Rare Furbys in their original packaging can also command a good price.
"Any Furby that’s in its original, unopened packaging from the original run or is a limited release or from a rare assortment is worth money," Bellomo said. "Look that piece up online immediately. These are in high demand and will sell for decent money."
In general, clean Furbys in working order have a better chance of selling, according to a Furby-selling guide from The Family Pickers, a company that specializes in reselling items on eBay and other sites.
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The site has a few tips for preparing a Furby to sell online. First, make sure the Furby’s electronics are in working order, and that it moves and speaks as it did when it was new.
Also, make sure it’s clean, without stains, matted fur or scuffs on the plastic parts. To clean your Furby, use disinfectant to wipe the toy’s ears, beak and feet. Also, use a non-plastic bristle brush to gently comb the fur and try to use water instead of harsh chemicals to clean any stains.
If your Furby is in its original box or still has its original tags, include that in the listing. This Furby in its original box recently sold for $360 on eBay.
The potential value of your Furby completely depends on what people on eBay and other collecting sites are willing to pay at any given time. And, unfortunately, most Furbys are not fetching hundreds of dollars. Many are selling for under $50, almost in line with their original price in the late ‘90s.
Bellomo recommends scrolling the 'sold' listings on eBay for similar models to see what might be a realistic price to charge for your toy.
"Look for completed auctions that have been bid on, with a final value rendered in a green-colored font," he said.
Odds are, the Furby you've been hanging onto for 20 years won't be very valuable, he says. Most people don't have the rare, limited editions and most people didn't keep their Furbys in pristine condition.
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"Not to be a Debbie Downer here, but how many people maniacally kept their Furby in perfect working order, free from blemishes or a damaged coat?" Bellomo said. "Or — more difficult yet — how many folks actually kept their Furby sealed in its original packaging?"
Bottom line, you probably won't be able to sell your old Furbys on eBay for thousands or even hundreds of dollars.
"I don’t want to mislead folks, and send a parent who bought a Furby for their child 15 or 20 years ago rummaging through an attic or garage or storage space for that used Furby, which is probably fairly valueless," Bellomo said.
Still, as recent eBay sales show, there are a precious few Furbys that could be worth real money, so it may still be worth checking your attics. Who knows, maybe you have a ‘90s treasure on your hands!