Remember the ’80s Cabbage Patch Kids craze? And the ’90s when car dashboards spilled over with Beanie Babies?

Some people never let a kid touch those novelties and cast an eye to the future, hoping these “it” toys would rain astronomical amounts of money someday.

That’s precisely what made them worthless, said Josh Levine, a collectibles expert and owner of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Kiss of death,” Levine told All the Moms. “Of all the dolls that were worth $300 to $400 new at the time — they’re worth $20 today.”

You know which doll breaks the collectible-gone-wrong mold? Barbie, because, well, she’s the reigning monarch of doll collectibles.

If Barbie is queen, American Girl dolls are the princesses.

“Dolls are usually a loser’s game,” Levine said. “But I was pleasantly surprised. There is a decent market for American Girl dolls every day of the week.”

There is a set of American Girl dolls, including Samantha, Molly and Addy with multiple outfits and furniture, for sale on eBay right now for $11,500. The dolls, originals made by the Pleasant Company before it was sold in 1998 to Barbie-makers Mattel, are extremely valuable to collectors.

Big money in the little dolls

American Girl dolls and accessories that have sold on eBay in the last three months include:

  • $5,400: A signed collection of three of the original, pre-Mattel American Dolls in boxes with paperwork.
  • $4,500: American Girl doll Grace Bakery that was set with a bonus Grace bakery outfit.
  • $3,200: 8 American Girl dolls, including Lindsey released in 2001 and the Dolls of the Year from 2005-2010. All are new and never removed from the box.
  • $1,495: Kanani, 2011 Doll of the Year, never removed from her box, plus clothing and more accessories.
  • $1,450: American Girl Samantha doll in original box and signed by American Girl founder Pleasant Rowland.
  • $1,150: A signed American Girl Felicity doll still in the box.