Original Mr. Potato Head: Surprising Value of a Vintage Classic

You won't believe the history of this classic toy and how much some of them are worth today.

Published April 17, 2023
Mr. Potato Head toy w. detachable accessories

If you remember playing with Mr. Potato Head as a kid, you're not alone. This classic toy has been around since the 1950s, and the original Mr. Potato Head is now a hot item with collectors. If you have one of these old kits, it could be worth a surprising amount of money. Knowing the history of this iconic toy is worth a lot, too.

Fun Facts About Mr. Potato Head

The story of Mr. Potato Head is all about imagination. A man named George Lerner invented the classic in 1949 when he was making toys out of vegetables for his younger siblings to play with. By sticking objects into a potato, he could give it all kinds of hilarious personalities and quirks. By 1952, he was marketing a kit of potato body parts kids could use to create their own Mr. Potato Head.

Fast Fact

The first Mr. Potato Head kit from 1952 cost only 98 cents, but it was so popular that Hasbro made over $4 million on sales of the kit in the first four months it was on the market.

The Original Mr. Potato Head Used a Real Potato

Original 1952 Mr Potato Head accessories

If you grew up in the 1970s or later, you probably remember Mr. Potato Head as a smooth plastic potato. However, the original toy was an actual potato - like the real food. It came as a kit with all the parts you could jam into the potato to make him into Mr. Potato Head.

The First Mr. Potato Head Kit Had Dozens of Pieces

Even though the oldest Mr. Potato Head didn't include the potato itself, the kits did include tons of pieces. The 1952 version had two mouths, two sets of eyes, four noses, eight pieces of felt for hair, plus a bunch of hats, hands, and feet. Soon the kit grew to contain dozens more pieces.

Mr. Potato Head Had a Family Pretty Quickly

1950's Original Mr. Potato Head & Friends

By 1953, Mr. Potato Head was so successful that he quickly had a family. Other characters included his wife, Mrs. Potato Head, plus Sister Yam and Brother Spud. They had lots of body parts and facial features, and even a car.

Mr. Potato Head Became Plastic in the 1960s

Vintage Original Mrs Potato Head With Box 1980s

By the 1960s, people were starting to question whether it was a good idea to have children stick sharp pointy things in vegetables that could rot (spoiler alert: it's not). Mr. Potato Head had to make a few changes, and the kit started coming with a plastic potato body.

Vintage Mr. Potato Head Values

If you have a Mr. Potato Head kit lying around, it could be worth more than just a bit of nostalgic value. A complete set of some of the oldest examples or special editions can be worth $100 or more.

Fast Fact

The rarest Mr. Potato Head may be a special limited edition set sold at Neiman Marcus in 2004. The jeweled Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head sold for $8,000 each.

Original Mr. Potato Head Accessories From 1952 - $3 to $100 and Up

Remember those parts you could poke in a potato? You may not be shocked to learn that they're actually really difficult to find in decent shape. Some of the pieces were made of felt, and plastic doesn't age well sometimes. A few of the pieces from the original set can sell for under five dollars, and complete sets are nearly impossible to find. There aren't any recent sales of complete sets, but you can find them listed for $100 or more.

Snap-On Tools Mr. Potato Head - Over $100

A rare Mr. Potato Head that collectors go for is the Snap-On Tools version. This limited edition kit is hard to find, and examples in their original box can sell for over $100. Even out of the box, they are worth $50 or more.

Mr. Potato Head and His Car - About $60

Mr. Potato Head got a car pretty early in his history, and he continued to have wheels throughout the decades. In the 1980s, his car was blue with a face you could create out of Potato Head features. The complete set from 1985 sold for just under $60.

Complete Mr. Potato Head Family - About $60

Potato Head toys are generally more valuable in the box, and the complete family is no exception. A set with Mr. Potato Head, Mrs. Potato Head, and their baby sold for about $60.

A Valuable Part of Your Childhood

While Mr. Potato Head might not be one of the most valuable toys from when you were a kid, he can still be worth a lot more than your parents might have paid for him back in the day. If you have one in the box with all the parts, you might want to think twice before donating it or giving it away. On the other hand, a Potato Head that's been well loved has plenty of sentimental value, too.

Original Mr. Potato Head: Surprising Value of a Vintage Classic