We've all been there: An excited family meal to the nearest McDonald's restaurant. The kids are going crazy, whipped up by the promise of high sugar foods, and the all too elusive happy meal toys.
You order your meal, sit down at your table, and the freshly prepared food is brought over to you in due course.
They kids are ecstatic. More often than not, they'd rip the flimsy polythene bagging containing a crudely rendered plastic replica of whatever character is appearing in the latest Disney film to hit cinema screens right open, no doubt sending loose fries and ketchup sachets flying. But today's different. Today, they're here for the food.
The tuck into their child portion hamburgers, perhaps plucking ghastly rinds of gherkin from the abstract mustard/ketchup/mayo swirl contained within the bun, perhaps not. The fries are gobbled up - everyone last one - and not even one bounces from the tiled floor and into the path of a crotchety looking worker with a brush. The hamburger itself comes next, leaving stomachs full and tongues on the prowl for loose splashes of tomato sauce. The happy meal toy sits untouched.
Once home, parents bundle away their children's newly acquired clutter, perhaps to an out of bounds loft, where they are forgotten about for year and years.
10 years pass and the toys a once again stumbled upon, maybe a little dustier now, but a sharp burst of breath reveals the toys have retained their original mint condition to a tee. But the kids have long gone, off perusing their dreams as doctors or movie stars or whatever. So what to do with these now unwanted toys? You could sell them, but how much would they be worth.
Well, unfortunately, not very much. For your standard Happy Meal toys, you're not going to get a very attractive price upon sale for anything under about 20 years of age. Over this age threshold, things don't get much better and you are unlikely to receive anything amounting much more than a few dollars for your deftly collected playthings.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to this otherwise depressingly brassic rule: The most notable being the short lived range of Transformers toys that were packaged with meals in the late 80s. These can fetch a fair few pennies online. But just how can you go about finding out whether your collection is worth anything or not?
Well, one step is to take to eBay. Just following items of similar description to your will give you a more than decent indication of what to expect when it comes to selling your own molded lumps of plastic on to another loving home.
If you want to really go for it - and can stomach the site of a lot of lonely looking old men clutching arm fulls of children's toys to their chests - you could take yourself along to one of the McDonald's Collectibles Conventions, where you can have your collection formally valued by a 'professional'.
You can pick up and peruse specialty toy publications for classified ads that may be asking out for items already in your collection. For example, Action Man collectors may be after more memorabilia in their collection, and a far more likely to publish an ad in a specialist magazine rather than a broad publication. You can also head to online specialists such as RonaldMcDonaldToys.com, where you can get a rough idea for the prices of your own items, or buy in some more for your collection.
Obviously, full collections are going to be worth more than individual toys, and it may be worth shelling out on that last missing Barbie Doll to round off your collection, bring the grand total price of your toys up just that little bit more. Of course, still-bagged toys and toys in good condition will also be worth heaps more than damaged or soiled versions of the same toy. So look after them!