Toys and Games from the 1960s That Are Rarer Than a Unicorn on a Unicycle

by | Dec 4, 2023 | Toys and Games

When it comes to toys and games, the 1960s were a decade of innovation and creativity. From classic board games to iconic action figures, the 60s produced some of the most beloved playthings of all time. But not all toys from this era were created equal. In fact, some of the rarest and most sought-after toys from the 60s are now worth a small fortune.

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Take, for example, the Beatles Stacking Dolls. This set of wooden dolls, featuring the Fab Four in their signature suits, was a must-have for any Beatles fan in the 60s. Today, a complete set in excellent condition can fetch thousands of dollars at auction. And it’s not just music memorabilia that’s valuable – diecast cars, antique porcelain dolls, and even Garbage Pail Kids cards are all highly sought-after by collectors. So if you happen to have any of these rare toys tucked away in your attic, it might be time to dust them off and see what they’re worth.

The Rise of Licensing in the 1960s

In the 1960s, the toy industry saw a significant shift towards licensing, where companies would acquire the rights to use popular characters from TV shows, movies, and comic books in their toy lines. This trend was fueled by the success of Mattel’s Barbie doll, which was modeled after the popular German doll Bild Lilli and became an instant hit with young girls.

Other companies quickly followed suit, and soon, children’s toy shelves were filled with licensed products featuring characters from popular TV shows and movies. Some of the most iconic toys of the 1960s were licensed products, such as the G.I. Joe action figure, which was based on the popular TV show “The Lieutenant,” and the Batman Utility Belt, which allowed kids to become their favorite caped crusader.

The rise of licensing also led to the creation of new toy lines, such as the popular “Star Trek” and “Lost in Space” lines of action figures and playsets. These toys allowed children to immerse themselves in their favorite sci-fi worlds and sparked their imaginations.

However, not all licensed products were created equal. Some were poorly made and quickly fell out of favor with children, while others became highly sought after collectibles. One such example is the NASA Space Capsule Tin Toy, which was a battery-powered toy that could move on the floor and open up like a real spaceship.

Overall, the rise of licensing in the 1960s forever changed the toy industry and paved the way for the many licensed products that continue to be popular with children and collectors alike today.

The Boom of Board Games

In the 1960s, board games were all the rage. Families would gather together and spend hours playing games like Twister, Pit, Mouse Trap, Operation, and Mystery Date. These games were not only fun, but they also helped to bring families closer together.

Twister, for example, was a game that required players to contort their bodies in all sorts of crazy ways. It was a game that was sure to get everyone laughing and having a good time. Pit, on the other hand, was a fast-paced card game that required players to trade commodities in order to corner the market and come out on top.

Mouse Trap was a game that required players to build a complex contraption in order to catch a mouse. It was a game that required patience and strategy. Operation, on the other hand, was a game that required a steady hand and nerves of steel. Players had to remove various body parts from a patient without touching the sides and setting off the buzzer.

And who could forget Mystery Date? This game was all about trying to find the perfect date for the player’s character. It was a game that was sure to bring out everyone’s inner matchmaker.

Overall, board games were an essential part of family life in the 1960s. They provided hours of entertainment and helped to bring families closer together.

Iconic Dolls of the 1960s

The 1960s were a golden era for dolls, with countless options available for children to choose from. Here are some of the most iconic dolls from the era that are sure to bring back fond memories:

  • Barbie: No list of iconic dolls from the 1960s would be complete without mentioning Barbie. This fashion-forward doll was introduced in 1959 and quickly became a sensation. With her stylish clothes, accessories, and dream house, Barbie was a must-have for any little girl in the 1960s.
  • G.I. Joe: While Barbie was popular with girls, G.I. Joe was the doll of choice for boys. This military-themed action figure was first introduced in 1964 and quickly became a hit. With his realistic army gear and accessories, G.I. Joe was the perfect toy for little boys who loved playing soldier.
  • Troll Dolls: Troll dolls were first introduced in 1959 and quickly became a sensation. With their wild hair and cute faces, these dolls were a must-have for any child in the 1960s. In fact, they were so popular that they’re still being made today!
  • Francie: Barbie’s cousin Francie was introduced in 1966 and quickly became a hit with little girls. With her mod clothes and groovy accessories, Francie was the perfect doll for any child who wanted to be on-trend.
  • Chatty Cathy: Chatty Cathy was a talking doll that was first introduced in 1959. With her pull-string voice box, this doll could say a variety of phrases, making her a hit with children everywhere.
  • Tressy: Tressy was a doll that could grow her hair by pushing a button on her back. First introduced in 1963, Tressy was a hit with little girls who loved playing with her long, flowing locks.
  • Little Miss Echo: Little Miss Echo was a doll that could repeat whatever you said to her. First introduced in 1962, this doll was a hit with children who loved hearing their own voices echoed back to them.

These iconic dolls of the 1960s were more than just toys – they were a reflection of the times. Whether you were a little girl who loved playing with Barbie or a little boy who dreamed of being a soldier with G.I. Joe, these dolls were an important part of childhood in the 1960s.

Innovative Toy Inventions

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The 1960s were a time of innovation and imagination, and the toy industry was no exception. Some of the most iconic toys of the era were invented during this time, and they continue to inspire generations of children and collectors alike.

One of the most innovative inventions of the 1960s was the Thingmaker, a toy that allowed children to create their own rubber toys by pouring liquid plastic into molds and then baking them in a special oven. This toy was a hit with kids and parents alike, as it allowed children to exercise their creativity and imagination while also learning valuable skills like patience and attention to detail.

Another popular toy of the era was Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, a game that pitted two plastic robots against each other in a boxing match. The game was simple but addictive, and it quickly became a classic of the toy industry.

Lite-Brite was another popular toy of the era, and it allowed children to create their own colorful designs by placing small plastic pegs into a backlit board. This toy was a hit with kids who loved to create their own unique designs and patterns.

Spirograph was another innovative toy of the era, and it allowed children to create intricate geometric designs by tracing patterns with a set of plastic gears and pens. This toy was a hit with kids who loved to experiment with different shapes and colors.

Finally, the Easy-Bake Oven was a popular toy of the era that allowed children to bake their own miniature cakes and cookies using a light bulb-powered oven. This toy was a hit with kids who loved to experiment with different flavors and ingredients, and it also helped to teach them valuable skills like measuring and following directions.

Overall, the 1960s were a time of incredible innovation and creativity in the toy industry, and these toys continue to inspire and delight children and collectors alike to this day.

The Impact of Hot Wheels and Lego

Ah, the 1960s – a time of peace, love, and… toys! Two of the most iconic toy brands of the era were Hot Wheels and Lego, and their impact on the industry can still be felt today.

Hot Wheels, with their sleek designs and fast speeds, revolutionized the die-cast car market. They were the brainchild of Elliot Handler, co-founder of Mattel, who wanted to create a line of toy cars that would surpass the popular Matchbox brand. And boy, did he succeed! Since their debut in 1968, over six billion Hot Wheels cars have been sold. That’s enough to circle the Earth four times! Hot Wheels have even become collectors’ items, with some rare models fetching thousands of dollars at auction.

Lego, on the other hand, had been around since the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that they really hit their stride. The introduction of the Lego wheel in 1962 was a game-changer, allowing kids to build all sorts of vehicles and machines. Lego sets from the 1960s are highly sought-after by collectors today, with some rare sets selling for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

But it’s not just about the toys themselves – both Hot Wheels and Lego have had a huge impact on pop culture. Hot Wheels have been featured in countless movies and TV shows, from the 1970s cartoon “Hot Wheels” to the recent blockbuster “Fast and Furious” franchise. Lego, meanwhile, has spawned its own movie universe, with hits like “The Lego Movie” and “The Lego Batman Movie.”

So, what’s the lesson here? Well, maybe it’s that sometimes the simplest toys can have the biggest impact. Or maybe it’s just that cars and building blocks are really, really cool. Either way, Hot Wheels and Lego will always hold a special place in the hearts of kids (and adults) everywhere.

Outdoor and Physical Games

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Ah, the good old days when kids played outside until the streetlights came on. In the 1960s, outdoor games were all the rage. One of the most iconic toys of the era was the hula hoop. Kids would spend hours trying to keep the hoop spinning around their waist, hips, or neck. It was a great way to stay active and burn off some energy.

Another popular game was jacks. This simple game involved bouncing a small ball and picking up jacks from the ground before the ball bounced again. It was a test of hand-eye coordination and dexterity. Kids would play for hours, trying to beat their high score.

But it wasn’t all fun and games. Some outdoor activities required serious skill and athleticism. Take jump rope, for example. It may seem simple, but mastering the art of jumping rope was no easy feat. Double Dutch, where two ropes are turned in opposite directions, was even more challenging. It required perfect timing and coordination.

Other physical games included Red Rover, where teams would try to break through a human chain, and kickball, a hybrid of soccer and baseball. These games were a great way to build teamwork and sportsmanship skills.

Overall, outdoor and physical games were an important part of growing up in the 1960s. They provided a fun way to stay active and socialize with friends. And who knows, maybe some of those old toys and games will make a comeback one day.

Rare and Unique Toys

The 1960s were a time of great innovation in the toy industry. Many of the toys and games that were introduced during this era are now considered rare and highly collectible. Here are some of the most unique and sought-after toys from the 1960s:

Troke

Troke was a popular board game in the 1960s that involved moving around a board and collecting cards. The game was notable for its unique design, which featured a series of interconnected wheels that players could spin to move their pieces around the board. Today, Troke is considered a rare and valuable collector’s item.

Animal Talk

Animal Talk was a toy that allowed children to record their voices and play them back in different animal sounds. The toy was a hit in the 1960s and is now highly sought-after by collectors. Some versions of the toy even included a microphone that allowed children to record their own animal sounds.

Other Rare Toys

In addition to Troke and Animal Talk, there were many other unique and rare toys that were introduced in the 1960s. Some of these toys include:

  • The Easy-Bake Oven: A toy oven that allowed children to bake their own miniature cakes and cookies.
  • The Slinky: A toy that consisted of a spring that could “walk” down stairs.
  • The Etch-A-Sketch: A drawing toy that allowed children to create pictures by turning two knobs.

Overall, the 1960s were a time of great innovation in the toy industry, and many of the toys that were introduced during this era are now considered rare and highly collectible. Whether you’re a serious collector or just a fan of vintage toys, the 1960s offer a wealth of unique and interesting options.

Conclusion

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Well, that’s all folks! The 1960s were truly a unique time for toys and games. From iconic dolls like Barbie to electric sports games, there was something for everyone.

It’s amazing to think that these toys have stood the test of time and are still beloved by many today. Whether you’re a collector or just looking to relive some childhood memories, these rare toys from the 1960s are definitely worth seeking out.

So, next time you’re at a flea market or antique store, keep an eye out for these gems. Who knows, you might just find the missing piece to your vintage toy collection. And if not, at least you can enjoy reminiscing about the good old days when toys were simple and fun.

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