Long Live the 80s! The Decade’s Most ‘80s Memorabilia to Buy and Sell

the most 80s memorabilia to buy and sell

Ah, the ‘80s! These days, we’re seeing a lot of ‘80s memorabilia for sale at yard sales around the country. Some of these items have accumulated real value. Others, while not huge moneymakers, are popular enough that they’re very likely going to sell.

So let’s take a look at ‘80 memorabilia and learn how you can take advantage of the trend, either as a yard sale buyer or as someone preparing for your own yard sale.

Vintage Star Wars 80s memorabilia for sale.

What You Need to Know About 80s Memorabilia For Sale

The Materialist Decade

The 1980s were an intense decade. Those of us who lived through it remember smoggy skies, financial hardships, high rates of urban crime, and an iconic president who beat the commies. But real life is not what people remember when they think back to the ‘80s. They remember Star Trek: The Next Generation or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both of which came out in 1987. They remember the California Raisins, the rise of electronic music, and Super Mario Bros.

Nostalgia Is Key

Nostalgia always looks through rose-colored glasses, so this is what the hottest ‘80s memorabilia focuses on. The pop culture of the ‘80s had a spirit of self-assuredness and vibrancy that was relentlessly optimistic at its best and downright gaudy at its worst. Hair was big, credit cards were hot, and shoulders were padded. It was the decade of denim, Madonna, The Empire Strikes Back, Ghostbusters, ALF, and Back to the Future — it’s hard to believe the ‘80s have already been gone for 30 years!

What this means is that, when you’re thinking about what kind of ‘80s memorabilia makes for a good value at yard sales, the key is to think about what items people are going to be nostalgic for. Sellers may see these pieces as a clutter they want to get rid of, but buyers will see it as a way to relive their youth.

So, who exactly is the market demographic for ‘80s memorabilia? It’s mainly the people who came of age during that time: late Generation X’ers and early Millennials. In other words, it’s people born from about 1970 to 1982. These are the kids who grew up under credit cards, MTV, home computers, Blockbuster, and iconic films at the movie theater. They are the ones who are most likely to want to buy old merchandise from the ‘80s.

Electronics, Media, and Ephemera

As for what’s making money, the most popular ‘80s memorabilia for sale usually center around these kinds of items:

  • Electronics of All Kinds: If it was novel in the ‘80s, it will probably sell. Cassette players, walkmans, stereos — if you have an electronic with ‘80s style that still functions, put it out!
  • Video games: Original consoles, controllers, and games. If you have rare items, such as a collector’s edition or an imported cartridge, those will usually sell for more.
  • Music: Hit singles and albums with a heavy emphasis on the format (i.e., record or cassette)
  • Music Equipment: Synthesizers, amps, pedals, and anything to make music nerds smile.
  • Movie Memorabilia: Posters, marketing merchandise like cups or mugs, and original VHS videotapes in good condition.
  • Toys: Action figures, board games, and especially electronic toys like Teddy Ruxpin.
  • Other Icons of ‘80s Pop Culture: Air Jordans, Super Soakers, etc.

These are the sorts of ‘80s memorabilia to look for when you’re buying at a yard sale, and they’re the sorts of items to do your price research on when you’re running your own yard sale.

Someone holds a vintage, Jeopardy game cartridge ‘80s memorabilia for sale

Do Your Price Checking

In addition, there are items from the ‘80s that have value not because of the era but because of their rarity and craftsmanship. This includes the usual suspects, such as wristwatches or rare movie memorabilia. Always do your price research when you think an item may have value!

If you’re at somebody else’s yard sale and see a piece of ‘80s memorabilia for sale that looks potentially valuable, whip out your phone and look on eBay (and educate yourself beforehand on the best things for buyers to purchase at yard sales!)

If you’re running a yard sale, price your yard sale items ahead of time so that you can check the value of each piece accordingly. And remember, highly valuable items or finds worth more money should be sold individually, not at a yard sale! If you find that you have a rare piece that is worth a lot of money, skip the hagglers and find a private seller instead.

Find Yard Sales or Advertise Your Own at Yard Sale Radar

One of the hardest parts of finding great ‘80s memorabilia for sale — or having luck selling your own — is marketing the sale. If people don’t know your yard sale is happening, they won’t show up!

That’s why it’s crucial to advertise your yard sale in multiple ways, from putting up signs and running classified ads in the papers to posting your yard sale with us at Yard Sale Radar. With our services, shoppers who are looking for yard sales in your area can search your posting and find your sale right away.

Good luck finding or selling your ‘80s memorabilia, and long live the 1980s!