It was a craze that gripped the nation.
Just like its predecessor, Coles Little Shop 2 was the talk of the playground – and in even workplaces – in Australia on their release nearly two years ago.
The pandemonium predictably led to valuable collectables finding their way on to sites like eBay for highly-inflated prices, including the $5000 price tag slapped on a limited edition golden trolley.
The collectables, which included miniature supermarket staples such as Vegemite and Heinz Baked Beans, prompted shoppers to fork out hundreds of dollars to complete their sets. Every $30 spent qualified customers for a collectable.
Yet as the dust settled and the promotion came to an end, the excitement it had generated disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.
The collectables were discarded by many kids, either to the back of the toy cupboard to make way for the latest craze, or to the dismay of environmental activists, straight into landfill or even worse, into the ocean.
Roll forward to 2021 and a complete set of the collectables, including the display case, were discovered in a vintage shop on Melbourne's famous Chapel Street this week.
The set, which appeared to be in prime condition, was on sale for $37.
A good investment or a waste of money?
Melbourne-based collectables assistant Natasha, who works for a major auction house, told Yahoo News Australia at this stage it was unclear if that was a fair price and would take decades to find out.
"We wouldn't consider that vintage and wouldn't sell them because they're only recent," she said.
"Looking into the future, it all depends on market and fashion trends. Right now it will probably be 50 years before it ever becomes valuable at auction."
And while some are holding onto their sets in the hope their value skyrockets in the future, Natasha explained the current market on toys would mean if they do become valuable, a full set may only go for the price of the ambitious valuation eBayers slapped on their single rare items.
"Now we do see an interest in vintage toys but not to a point where they sell for thousands," she said.
One significant change she said may bode in the favour of plastic collectables is the nation's push to remove plastics from society.
"Our future generations are trying to get plastic out of the environment and they will be against it so there might be a trend there will be no production of plastics, which could make [Coles Little Shop collectables] more valuable and interesting in the future."
So is $37 good value for money? Natasha says it could go either way.
“I'm just not sure if $37 is worth it. It might be brilliant or a waste of money… we just don’t know.”
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