10 Things Kids Loved to Collect in the ’90s
The nineties were a great time to be a kid, especially if you were a kid with a penchant for collecting. Here’s some of the cool stuff we were stockpiling way back when.
Troll dolls are way older than the nineties, but nineties kids still loved to collect them. Different colours, different belly gems, different professions—they’ve probably even made an edition that celebrates your local sports team.
Pogs were an ideal collectible because you could find all kinds of different brands and images on them and still only pay like a quarter for a pack. And then you played other kids for their Pogs. And got Pogs banned in your school because it’s too close to gambling!
Magic: The Gathering launched in 1993 and was an immediate success. Plenty of kids who weren’t interested in playing the game still collected them. Thanks to new sets still being released on the regular, nineties kids can still collect these cards.
Remember “puffies” and “shinies”? Another timeless classic collectible. You knew you were serious when you got a dedicated sticker book with Rainbow Brite on the cover.
Okay, so they turned into a punchline because people bought them for the sake of collecting them, turned them into an asset bubble, and then lost serious money when the bubble popped… but some are surprisingly valuable today.
Another super cool toy that came in a dizzying variety of colours and cost next to nothing, slap bracelets were fun to trade and, of course, slap onto your wrist. There’s also a pretty interesting story on how they were invented.
There was definitely a craze around ghouls, gremlins, and other creepy creatures in the early nineties, and Boglins cashed in on that. They were foam rubber and there were so many to choose from, every kid on the block could have a different one.
Happy Meal Toys
Yes, they existed before the nineties. And yes, they exist now. But the nineties were peak Happy Meal merchandising. There used to be entire multi-million-dollar ad campaigns for these things, especially when there was a movie tie-in. We probably still have those little Batman Returns cars somewhere in the basement.
At his peak, author R.L. Stine was cranking out one of these every two weeks. And he had to: there were hundreds, if you included the various spin-off series. Plenty of kids tried to complete their numbered collections. Of course, it helped that these books looked creepy, with neon colours and sometimes raised textured effects on the covers.
Pokémon is the craze that never really stopped. The cards launched in 1996 (and in English in 1998) and kids have been stockpiling them ever since. But if you started in the nineties, chances are you had access to the very first and therefore most valuable sets. Of course, chances are also high that you may have damaged, lost, or destroyed your cards by playing with them, because you were a kid. Or your cousin “borrowed” your original Charmander and you never saw him again. That’s right, Kevin. We remember.