6 Retro Items that Have Sold for Ridiculous Prices on eBay

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When sought after items go to auction the price can increase quickly
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When sought after items go to auction the price can increase quickly

Founded in 1995, eBay has become one of the world’s most-popular internet sites and is the ideal place to buy and sell everything from books and stationery to unique and rare items that you can’t get elsewhere. Retro memorabilia is particularly popular and, while most bids are pretty modest, some buyers have been known to pay millions for things they really want.

There seems to be no limit these days as to what people will spend if they have their eye on something special, so let’s take a look at which retro items sold/sell for ridiculous prices. 


An original Honus Wagner card will set you back $1,265,000
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An original Honus Wagner card will set you back $1,265,000

1. 1909 Honus Wagner Baseball Card

Back in 2000, a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card sold for a whopping $1,265,000 (approximately £861,955.41). Now, it’s no secret that baseball cards are popular amongst collectors but what raised the price tag on this specific item?

Well, it’s believed the American Tobacco Company designed and sold a range of John Peter “Honus” Wagner cards as part of its T206 series from 1909 to 1911. The Pittsburgh Pirates player, however, was not happy that his picture was being used to sell cigarettes, so the tobacco enterprise was forced to stop selling the cards with only 57 being sold to the public. Existing Honus Wagner cards are therefore rare and incredibly sought after.

Baseball cards made by Bowman – once the leading producer of these retro treasures – also do well on the auction site with sets listed for $1,600 (£1,085) and upwards.

Signed sports memorabilia always sells well at auction
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Signed sports memorabilia always sells well at auction

2. Sports Memorabilia

Retro, sport-related memorabilia also sells incredibly well on eBay, with many people willing to spend their hard-earned cash on items with a good story. The baseball bat belonging to “Shoeless” Joe Jackson – a Chicago White Sox player suspended for his rumoured involvement in the Black Sox scandal which ended his career –  is one such example selling for a mind-boggling $577,610 (approximately £393,537). The bat, known as Black Betsy was used between 1908 and 1920 and was the only bat Jackson never discarded.

Moreover, famous baseball player, Barry Bond’s, 715th home run ball sold on eBay for just over $220,000 in 2006 (around £149,828) and a baseball signed by former US president Richard Nixon is currently listed for $1,899.99 (around £1,289.27).

An accidental paint job boosted the value of this collectable car
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An accidental paint job boosted the value of this collectable car

3. Rare and Vintage Toy Cars

Believe it or not, kids’ toys such as old vintage cars sell for a fortune on eBay, especially if they have unique or rare features. Take the Matchbox Lesney Dodge Wrecker 13BP, for instance. It’s supposed to have yellow paintwork at the front and green paintwork at the back but when the colours were accidentally reversed it caused a stir amongst Matchbox fans and collectors with one buyer purchasing this item for an impressive $6,300 dollars (around £4,290).

Another went for $8,499 (£5,788) but it’s not only these popular die-cast models which sell for a fortune. Head to eBay and you’ll find a wealth of other examples such as miniature Japanese vintage sports cars which are priced around the $2,000 mark (£1,043).

Check those cupboards for any limited edition Disney items
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Check those cupboards for any limited edition Disney items

4. Limited Edition Disney Toys

As well as rare and vintage toy cars, limited edition Disney memorabilia also carries sizeable price tags. In short, items that are no longer being made or are hard to find in shops are often sold on eBay for a lot of money, with a set of designer Disney princess dolls being listed for nearly $5,000 (£3392).

Limited edition Cinderella dolls are also priced around the $2,000 mark (£1,362) and props including a Cinderella’s slipper are also rather costly too. It’s also worth noting that items that are new, unused and in their original packaging tend to sell for higher prices than used goods.

Action Comics No.1 sold for stupifying $3,207,852
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Action Comics No.1 sold for stupifying $3,207,852

5. Retro Comics and Magazines

Superman has captured the hearts and imaginations of kids and adults alike for decades, so it’s perhaps no surprise that Action Comics No. 1 – the comic book which introduced The Man of Steel, Clark Kent and Lois Lane to the world in 1938 – sold for $3,207,852 (around £2, 185,962) on an eBay auction. The auction started on August 14 2014 with a bid of $1 million and rapidly soared over the next ten days with fans desperate to own this pristine copy which was awarded a grade of 9.0 from the Certified Guarantee Company – the highest grade ever assigned to a copy of Action Comics #1 issue by CGC.

The top bidder, who obviously had a deep, deep pocket, now owns the most expensive comic book in the world, but it’s not the first time an Action Comics No.1 edition has been sold for a high price with a less pristine copy fetching $2,161,000 (around £2 472,598) in 2011. Retro comics and magazines not only sell quickly on the auction site but they often have expensive price tags with a Captain America #78 edition currently listed for $2,299.99 (£1,567.49) and a Porky Pig vintage printing plate and comic title page valued at $2,495 (£1,700.17).

The original Hollywood sign sold for $450,000 on eBay
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The original Hollywood sign sold for $450,000 on eBay

6. Retro Movie Memorabilia

The best movies leave behind a lasting legacy, staying in our hearts and minds forever. This could perhaps explain why film props and retro movie memorabilia often come with hefty price tags. The Lotus Esprit car that converted into submarine for Roger Moore’s James Bond in the film 'The Spy Who Loved Me', for example, was listed on eBay for $1 million (around £481,434), a price that would leave many fans shaken not stirred.

Similarly, when a Californian seller put up for auction a restored 1949 Mercury hot rod that was used in the 1978 film Grease it sold for more than $180,000 (around £122,635). This was the car that was raced towards the end of the movie along Thunder Road and surely made one movie fan very, very happy.

Moreover, the original Hollywood sign which read Hollywoodland also sold for big bucks fetching over $450,000 (around £306,588) at an eBay action. 

It’s not always easy to predict how things will sell on eBay, but the above listings are just a few examples of items that sell or have sold for ridiculously high prices. There’s a particular love for anything from the past or with a fascinating history, so watch this space for more epic auctions along the way.

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