Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori Today's Hot Toys look back to the 1960s

This season's popular holiday toys reflect the tradition of what I call "do something" toys dating back to the 1960s. Many of these year's toys will use the 1960s ideas with 2009 technology. If you do the math and read my column regularly, you know that we are approaching that 50 year mark, when collecting revivals occur.

GPS: Sesame Street

Are we all sick of Elmo yet? I have been known to say that, in my opinion, Elmo is just a newer, younger, and different-colored version of the Muppet named Grover. With the re-introduction of the Original Tickle Me Elmo toy this holiday season, kids will be able to get Elmo to giggle, speak, and laugh hysterically. On the toy market, interactive Elmo will probably enjoy an overwhelming response. The press mania surrounding the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street will assist Elmo and Muppet toy sales this season. However, in 2020, we'll see Sesame Street items reach their peak of collectability, at 50 years old. Then, the most valuable pieces of Sesame Street memorabilia will be objects relating to those original members of the Muppet gang like Big Bird, the Count, and my favorite, Oscar the Grouch. Wait until 2019-20 to sell your Sesame Street merchandise for top dollar.

Fairy Dust and Gossamer Wings

This toy buying season, it's no coincidence that the newest Muppet named Abby Cadabby appeared on the scene just as we are experiencing a fairy revival in character based toy marketing. In appearance Abby is a throwback to the 1960s feminist idea with her long eyelashes, soft voice, and pink (of course, it's pink) magic wand. I also think that Muppet makers saw an opportunity to capitalize on the success of Harry Potter's wizardry and the recent re-emergence of Disney's most popular pixie, Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell, the tiny quick witted character from the original Peter Pan adventure movie of 1953, has been updated just in time for her second DVD titled Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure. Remember , you need to know about timing when selling anything. This is one reason why the Muppets and Disney characters are so successful.

Zhu Zhu or Rat?

Reflecting our rat-race experiments and the acclaimed Rat Pack crooners (Sinatra, Martin, Davis, etc.) during the 1960s cold-war era, a bound to be popular 2009 stocking stuffer reflects a rat in the form of something called a Zhu Zhu pet. The Zhu Zhu pet hamster travels within a maze and requires no cage cleaning. These little creatures are not unlike the cuddly Beeny Babies of the 1990s which were wildly collected then fell drastically out of market favor. As far as long term collectability, don't expect much of a return from this $9.99 purchase since it does not reflect what is going on in our society in 2009.

I know some of you will be offended by my comparison of a furry, motorized hamster Zhu Zhu pet to an actual rat, but how many parents would buy their kids a motorized rat? At least, the idea of a hamster doesn't have grandma running from Christmas dinner screaming.

It's apparent that our 1960s-ish holiday toys reflect just how far we've come as we close out the first decade of the 2000s. Happy holidays!

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide and hosts luxury vacation cruises focusing on art/antiques. As seen on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, watch Dr. Lori on the Fine Living Network, on the nationally syndicated TV morning show "Daytime", and on Philadelphia's CBS 3 KYW TV News. Visit or call (888) 431-1010.

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