The Great Return of Polly Pocket // The endless promise of a bygone toy

I suppose the trouble begins when my little girl realizes that her mommy’s life did not begin the moment she was born. Summers and winters recycled many times over before her birth, and the possibilities for what occurred during that time were endless. She wants to know everything—what I ate, what I drank, the names of all the girls in my class. She wants to know what kind of mischief I got into (and could she do it, too?), and if I had also looked into the garbage can and found my art projects peeking out beneath eggshells and empty ketchup bottles.

But her greatest fascination is with my toys.

I think back to the carpeted playroom of my childhood, neat white shelves built into the wall, holding boxes full of treasures. I speak of LEGO and blocks and Barbie dolls, in slightly more primitive versions than the bold, bright, accessorized forms of today. I tell her about the dollhouse that my father built out of wood and wallpapered himself.
And I talk about Polly Pockets.

“Polly Pockets were really special,” I tell her as she leans forward to hear about a toy she’s never seen before. I describe them—gleaming pastel cases that sat in a clear plastic tub on the middle shelf. Hidden inside those plastic capsules were entire worlds, tiny little people and tiny little homes and bakeries and pizza shops.

My daughter’s eyes get very wide. “Mommy, I want Polly Pockets.”

I do a quick search online and confirm what I already know. Polly Pockets are gone, lost to the shifting sands of time.

I can’t understand why.

Polly Pocket was the kind of staple that filled playroom shelves in every home. Those little bubbles of magic should have been upgraded over the years, but never, ever kicked off the shelves.

I search around the Net, confident that Polly Pockets exist somewhere, somehow, in a place more concrete than the unfettered childhood memories floating through the mind of a millennial mom.

I’m not disappointed.

I find them on Ebay. But apparently, I’m not the only one hoping to nab some of these pretty miniatures. It seems like Polly Pocket has quite a devoted following, and each faded piece—with characters often missing a leg or important facial features like eyes and mouths—is going for a hefty sum. I imagine other mothers with clenched fists, watching the prices inch up by pennies, hoping to secure an extinct piece of their childhood for their own offspring.

Searching a bit more, I discover that Polly Pockets are considered vintage collectibles. Some rare breeds, still in their original packaging, are going for a whopping $1,200. Polly Pockets are so popular among collectors that Ebay even has a page with tips for Polly Pocket bargain seekers to help them find the best deals.

As I begin to accrue very useful knowledge of the Polly Pocket market in 2019, I still cannot figure out why they stopped manufacturing them. An iconic toy like this should have endured. And I have the current price point on Ebay to prove it.


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