Polly Pocket: History & Value of Barbie’s Biggest 90s Rival

Polly Pocket toys may be small in size, but they're big on value.

Updated April 27, 2023
Collection of Polly Pocket

Everyone loves a gimmick, and kids practically foamed at the mouth for Bluebird's microscopic Polly Pocket toys in the 90s and 00s. From its inception in tiny, compact form to today's line full of accessories and embellishments, Polly Pocket was one of Barbie's main competitors for years. Now, Polly Pocket lovers show up in droves when these vintage toys come up for sale. Learn more about these teeny toys and what makes them worth hundreds of dollars today.

How Polly Pocket Got Its Start

In 1983, Chris Wiggs was looking to create a new toy for his daughter Kate, who was then young enough to enjoy the imaginative world you can build with dolls. He had a burst of creativity and came up with an idea to make a doll small enough to fit into your pocket. In a truly ingenious move, he used a cosmetic compact to design a tiny house that the even smaller doll could fit inside.

Six years later, Polly Pocket was an officially licensed product of Bluebird Toys based in Swindon, England, and it hit the shelves in 1989.

Polly Pocket Switches Hands

While Bluebird Toys thrived off of Polly Pocket and her accessories throughout the early 90s, there were big changes on the horizon for this itty bitty doll. In the early 1990s, not long after Polly's debut, Bluebird Toys contracted Mattel as their distributer. After selling Polly for several years, Mattel saw how lucrative she was and purchased the smaller company in 1998.

Almost immediately, Polly's Little People Toys look changed. She became larger, no longer fitting into her signature compact, and was given her own special series of collectible items. Like other famous Mattel dolls such as Barbie, Polly was given a more realistic look, as opposed to the original Polly with her cartoon-like features.

With this more mainstream doll style, Mattel rolled out Fashion Polly, which included favorite characters from the originally transformed Mattel line, while also adding special clothing made out of a rubber-like material. Even better, the toy manufacturer threw in magnetic hands and feet, so Polly was able to better attach to her swanky new world.

The Vintage Polly Pocket Toys Every 90s Kids Begged For

Purple Polly Pocket Heart Compact Farm

If you're an elder millennial, then you probably had a compact Polly Pocket collection. But both Bluebird Toys and Mattel didn't limit the Polly Pocket line to just these compacts. Instead, they created an expansive genre spanning technology, accessories, play sets, etc. Some of the more recognizable Polly Pocket toys from the 90s and 00s are:

  • Polly Pocket compact sets
  • Wearable jewelry (rings, bracelets, etc)
  • Doll accessories (shoes, outfits, etc.)
  • Pencil cases
  • Cassette players
  • School supplies
  • Soft Polly Pocket dolls
  • Large mall play sets
  • Polly Pocket branded Barbie dolls
Helpful Hack

Not sure what/how old the Polly Pocket toys you've got are? Visit Only Polly Pocket's identification guide to help you out.

How Much Are Vintage 90s and 00s Polly Pocket Toys Worth?

Now, Polly Pocket probably has one of the highest values per square inch in the toy world. Vintage Polly Pocket products aren't elusive like some old toys are, but what makes certain Pollies special are a few specific things.

Bluebird Polly Pockets vs. Mattel Polly Pockets

1989 Polly Pocket SKATING PARTY

By and large, Bluebird Toys' Polly Pockets that ran from 1989-1998 are worth significantly more than Mattel's 1999-present day Polly Pockets are. For starters, they're no longer in production, and they embody what Polly Pocket was initially about.

The most common original Polly Pocket pieces that come up for sale are the compacts, and there are hundreds of different ones you can collect. That being said, different compacts have different appeal, but the fact that one huge collection of them sold for $1,125 online just shows how high their market value is.

Look Out for Disney Polly Pocket Compacts and Play Sets

1995 Polly Pocket Disney Beauty and the Beast

We can't say it often enough - Disney licensed products have a huge resale value, especially ones from the 90s Disney Renaissance. These movie merchandise compacts can be worth upwards of $500 apiece. Yes, you read that right. Five hundred dollars for a toy that can fit in the palm of your hand. There really just isn't anything like Disney adults' buying power.

For example, a 1996 Hercules compact sold for $436.21 on eBay. Meanwhile, a larger 1997 Peter Pan Neverland play set sold for $437 on the same site.

Polly Pocket Accessories Are Worth Finding

Polly pocket pencil case

Tiny toys weren't the only things branded with the Polly Pocket name. There were dozens of fun collectible products that kids could use in their everyday life. From decorative jewelry to school supplies, these early Polly Pocket accessories are worth a good bit. The rarest pieces sell for upwards of $1,000.

Take this 1996 Carnival wristband that sold for $1,004.18, for example. Or, this unopened ring, stamp, and pencil set that sold for $1,246.30. Even more common accessories can still sell for a few hundred dollars, like this 1996 Moonride pencil case that sold for $373.89.

What's up With Polly Pocket Toys Today?

If you've got kids of your own, you can pass on your Polly Pocket love by picking up the latest sets and dolls from Mattel's website or anywhere that sells toys. And, the most exciting thing is that in recent years, Mattel brought back Chris Wiggs's iconic compact design in a flashy modern fashion.

The '90s Called and They Want Their Polly Pockets Back

Kids in the 60s and 70s had Barbie to captivate them for hours, but 90s and 00s kids made Polly Pocket the standout doll of Y2K. These tiny toys sure have a big reputation for their itsy bitsy size, and they've got price tags to prove it. So, be on the lookout for vintage Polly Pocket toys and maybe consider selling your old sets to the tune of $500-$1,000.

Polly Pocket: History & Value of Barbie’s Biggest 90s Rival