Friday, March 11, 2016

McDonald's collectibles you sell...and a few you keep.

Instead of my usual spiel recounting a few of my latest scores, I thought I'd take a diversion to talk about, of all things, McDonald's collectibles. Yep, the fast food joint. I am fascinated with the idea that common items found at Mickey D's can sometimes bring in crazy money on eBay. In some cases, it's everyday stuff found in a McDonald's bag as part of the meal, then thrown away in the trash! In addition to smaller stuff, there's also bigger store items that can bring in the dough. These once commonly found items prove there's more to take home from McDonald's then just a Happy Meal! Check out some of the things I found currently selling on eBay...

The classic McDonald's clam shell
I don't care who you are, once in a while you gotta treat yourself to a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder! Sure, you can't go crazy on them, but everyone deserves some occasional decadence. If you grew up in the Seventies or Eighties, you probably remember how the Big Mac or Quarter Pounder was served. Not in wax paper, but in a very environmentally unfriendly, Styrofoam "clam shell." They were like a little Styrofoam house for your burger! When you think back, it was a incredibly wasteful. Especially if you were just taking your Big Mac from the counter over to the Formica tables to sit down and eat. Once you sat down at the table, you popped open the box, ate your burger, then tossed the Styrofoam container in the trash can. Who needs a little Styrofoam box for that? After pressure from environmentalists, McDonald's finally figured it out, going "Green" in the late Eighties. Gone were the little Styrofoam boxes and in came thin cardboard boxes. Still kind of wasteful, but at least the cardboard breaks down in the landfill after a few years as opposed to 100 years! These days, even the cardboard box is gone. Now when you order a Quarter Pounder, it's back to being wrapped in paper just like they did prior to the clam shell. So, of course, now that the clam shell is long gone people want to collect them! Check out the above photo. A recent eBay check turned up this ten piece lot of vintage McDonald's clam shells. It sold for one hundred dollars! That works out to ten bucks for each clam shell...wow! It hurts when I think back and calculate how many of these clam shells I threw away. Each time I did, I was literally throwing a ten dollar bill in the trash can...Ugh!


Pssst, not just for coffee! 
That's not the only money I was throwing away at McDonald's. Remember the original McDonald's coffee stirrer? It had a tiny little spoon on one end with the Golden Arches at the other end. Back in the Seventies, it was the perfect tool for stirring coffee, and oh yeah, measuring cocaine! You read right. The "McSpoon" as it came to be called, was popular with drug dealers and users. In fact, the tiny spoon was perfect for measuring one hundred milligrams of cocaine. But in 1979, after learning their innocuous little coffee stirrer had become a big thing with drug dealers, McDonald's did away with them. Instead, they came up with a simple flat stirrer. No more measuring cocaine with a McSpoon! Today, McDonald's collectors (and maybe drug dealers) pay decent money for the discontinued spoons. A check of recent eBay sales show an average price ranging from five to seven dollars for each little hunk of plastic! Crazy, but true.

Nintendo Super Mario display
If you're willing to take a peek inside the dumpster in back of your local McDonald's, you may come up with some other pretty nice scores. Promotional pieces that sit on the counter or floor can bring in some nice money. In one eBay auction, I found this counter display piece promoting Nintendo Mario Brothers 3. When it comes to collecting, combining Super Mario with McDonald's can be a home run. Whoever salvaged this piece must have known that. The rescued piece sold for $200 bucks on eBay! I also found an eBay auction listing a small counter display for Happy Meal Matchbox cars. That piece sold for $140 dollars at auction. Like the Nintendo piece and so many others, imagine how many displays were just tossed in the dumpster once the promotion was over! Makes me want to take a lookey-loo in the Golden Arches dumpster every once in a while. Another possibility is call the local Mickey-D's manager and just flat out ask for the display when the promotion ends. While some smart employees may have first dibs on them, it's worth a shot.


Sold for $28
But some McDonald's collectibles you just can't put a price tag on. Take for example, these vintage McDonald's coffee mugs. These guys currently sell for as much as $15 dollars a piece on eBay. I actually remember when these mugs first came out. They were free when you bought the McDonald's Egg McMuffin breakfast. Back then, McDonald's had just started to serve breakfast. It was a pretty big deal, since prior to that, their menu was basically limited to burgers, shakes and fries and that was only after 11:00 AM! But around 1977, Mickey Ds started a breakfast menu featuring the "new" Egg McMuffin. My Dad was all over that! Thereafter, every Sunday morning after church, Mom and Dad would drive to McDonald's and order an Egg McMuffin sandwich and coffee with the free McDonald's cup. My old man thought those mugs were the greatest thing since the invention of color television! They were solidly made by Anchor Hocking/Fire King, the perfect size and best of all....free!

Over many Sunday morning visits to McDonald's, my Dad developed an impressive collection of those sturdy little mugs. The old man held onto those coffee mugs long after the McDonald's promotion was over. He put them to good use too. He always had some major project to complete around the house...painting, construction, major car repairs. You name it. Every weekend it was something different. But no matter what the project was, my Dad always, always had one of those freebie McDonald's coffee mugs in his hand. (With the ever present steam lofting from the hot coffee.) He loved those damn things! As the years moved on though, my Dad passed away and his favorite coffee mugs slowly made their way to the back of the kitchen cabinet, then eventually disappeared.

Not for sale.
Some eighteen years later, after my Mom had passed, my siblings and I cleaned out the family house. To my happy surprise, I found my Dad's McDonald's coffee mugs. It was kind of like seeing an old friend! Stacked neatly, but dusty and dirty, they were buried deep underneath the kitchen sink cabinet. (The cabinets my Dad had built years before.) I took the mugs home and have them to this day. Some still even have paint on them from a few of my Dad's many painting projects. But after all those weekend projects and trips through my Mom's Kenmore dishwasher, the mug's are not exactly in high value condition anymore. They've faded and are a little worse for wear. But it doesn't matter. They're not for sale anyway. Instead, every once in a while, I break one out and enjoy a nice cup of coffee and think about my old man. Like all those tough old coots from the Greatest Generation, I think about how my Dad went to church, loved his family, always worked hard and ate Sunday breakfast at McDonald's. All the while, perfectly happy and content with the simple things in life, like enjoying a cup of Joe in a free McDonald's coffee mug. We can learn a lot from that generation.

Anyway, what started out as a discussion on McDonald's collectibles, got a little sentimental. But hey, when it comes to your parents, what can you say, right? I'd keep writing, but apparently I got something in my eye, so that's all for now.

So how about you? Any good McDonald's or fast food collectibles in your recent flips? How about stuff you won't get rid of due to sentimental value? Share your story in the comment section below.





 
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24 comments:

  1. What an absolutely wonderful story! Yes, we could learn so much from them. This post brought back some great memories for me. Thank you =)

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    1. Jen- Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks...Dude!

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  2. I learned new things today! What a great story.

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    1. Little bit of history, along with things to sell. Glad you liked it...Dude!

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  3. Love this story! Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed it, thanks...Dude!

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  4. Nice article! I learned some new things, too. Happy memories of going to McDonalds, which was a big deal for us as kids.

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    1. Trips to Mickey D's were a big deal, right? My kids always loved going and getting those Happy Meals! Fun thing to do with them and it didn't break the bank. You gotta love Mickey D's!

      Thanks for writing in...Dude!

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  5. Sadly I'm old enough to remember those cool spoon stirrers! As a kid, I thought they were the neatest things. I'm sure I used a few to feed my baby dolls. Later I heard they were being pulled because of "drugs". I didn't get the connection to cocaine until years later. But we had lots of good memories of McD's as kids. It was a real treat to go. It was even better when my dad said it was ok for one of my friends to go too.

    Before McD's came to town we went to Carroll's. I imagine it was a big effort for a young couple with four kids to feed. My mom told me we didn't go until she started working and we always went on payday - Friday. I couldn't eat all my fries and for some weird reason I put them in my pocket (to be thrown away later). My best friend found them one Monday and.ate.them and thought they were awesome.

    Now if McD's would only bring back those FRIED apple pies, I would be in hog heaven.

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    1. Nice memories! Like you, when I was a kid, we would go to eat on Dad's payday too. My Dad would drive my Mom to the local supermarket first to food shop, then if were lucky, we'd go to eat at either McDonald's or Gino's.

      And oh yeah, those McDonald's Apple pies were the best. Can't under stand why they got rid of them ?

      Thanks for writing in a sharing some great memories...Dude!

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  6. I tossed an old sealed Mulan happy meal toy I found the other day, hope it wasn't worth anything. I think I have one of those wake-up mugs somewhere. Also think I have a nascar Bill Elliot glass from McDonalds

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    1. Like most collectibles, the older the better, so Mulan may not be worth all that much (yet). If you have the mug, you could be looking at some decent money. Nascar is popular too, so that could also be of some value.

      Thanks for checking in...Dude!

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  7. Love your blog!!! Thanks for sharing all the helpful info... I just started a youtube channel myself about what I have recently sold on ebay for $20 or more. I hope you'll check it out!

    Thanks again!
    ~Becky (Dorky Thrifters)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdJezDulkxs

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    1. Becky- Thanks for liking the blog. Watched your YouTube channel- good stuff! Gonna keep my eye out for those water distillers....wow!

      Dude!

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  8. Oh my...yes i remember those stirrers...and naive me had no idea what they became 'infamous' for...lol Great post!

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    1. Shannon-Pretty crazy, right? Yet all true! Anyways, thanks for writing and enjoying the blog...Dude!

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  9. Hey. I am a new ebay seller and blogger and have recently started reading your blog. Love this one about McDonalds collectibles. I'm old enough to remember when they came out.Thanks for the memories. You can find me at collegefundthrifter.blogspot.com.

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    1. Good luck with the blog, Nicole. Always can use more people sharing their ideas. I'll check it out....Dude!

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  10. I saw some McDonald's Garfield coffee mugs at the Goodwill a few days ago. I was surprised they don't sell for more on Ebay; they seem to only go for a few dollars a piece.

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    1. I know what you're talking about. I think overall, Garfield stuff just isn't that big with collectors anymore. Although the Garfield clock can still bring in over a hundred bucks. Other then that, eh..not so hot!

      Thanks for checking in...Dude!

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  11. Loved this story Dude!!! My favorite from McD's is actually a double cheeseburger..have those maybe a couple of times a year. However, whenever we drive to see my parents (they're in another state), we leave really early in the morning and stop and have breakfast there. I'm nuts about the sausage, egg and cheese biscuits. :) It's become a tradition.

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    1. Margaret - The double cheeseburgers are awesome. They use to be on the dollar menu. Talk about a bang for you buck! I like their breakfasts too. The 99 cent sausage burrito is pretty tasty and you can't beat the price.

      As a matter of fact, Mrs. Dude and I were hurry on Saturday and had to be somewhere for a 1:00 PM meeting. We drove thru the Mickey Ds drive-thru and bought the two cheeseburger, fries and soda deal and ate it on the road. Five bucks spent and no growling stomachs at the meeting. Win-win!

      I may have to start a McDonald's fan club blog-Ha!

      Thanks for checking in...Dude!

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