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The top 20 toys of all time

These 20 timeless childhood toys, from Barbies to LEGOs,  were chosen by visitors and fans at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis as the cream of the crop. Which toy took the top spot?

By Brandon BallengerContributor / September 30, 2012

The world's largest Etch A Sketch is shown in Boston in this 2006 commercial file photo. Etch a Sketch made the list of the top 20 toys of all time, but it didn't snag the top spot.

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What was your favorite toy from childhood?

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If a Nintendo Entertainment System doesn’t count, I’d have to say LEGO or Lincoln Logs. I’d probably still play with them today if I had them around. And that’s just the kind of toy the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis was looking for when they chose the 100 most iconic toys of the past century – toys with memories, stories, and intergenerational appeal.

Here’s the Top 20, as chosen by museum visitors and fans. We added a few tidbits ourselves – like when they first became widely available (according to Wikipedia) and how much they cost today. For bonus nostalgia, click the toys’ names to watch their classic TV commercials.

It’s worth noting there’s nothing more recent than 1984 at the top of the list, although new versions of many are still made today. And collector’s editions aside, they’re all pretty affordable today as well…

1. G.I. Joe

  • First widely available: 1964
  • Cost: From $4

2. Transformers

  • First widely available: 1984
  • Cost: From $2.50

3. LEGO Toys

  • First widely available: 1947
  • Cost: From 1 cent

4. Barbie

  • First widely available: 1959
  • Cost: From $9

5. View-Master

  • First widely available: 1966
  • Cost: From $7

6. Bicycle

  • First widely available: 19th century
  • Cost: From $40

7. Cabbage Patch Kids

  • First widely available: 1982
  • Cost: From $14

8. Crayons

  • First widely available: Crayola in 1903, but centuries ago
  • Cost: From $1.50

9. Play-Doh

  • First widely available: 1955
  • Cost: From 70 cents

10. MONOPOLY

  • First widely available: 1934
  • Cost: From $10

11. Raggedy Ann

  • First widely available: 1918
  • Cost: From $8

12. Spirograph

  • First widely available: 1965
  • Cost: From $15

13. Etch A Sketch

  • First widely available: 1960
  • Cost: From $9

14. Little Golden Books

  • First widely available: 1942
  • Cost: From $4

 15. Hot Wheels

  • First widely available: 1968
  • Cost: From $5

 16. Lincoln Logs

  • First widely available: 1918
  • Cost: From $14

 17. Candy Land

  • First widely available: 1949
  • Cost: From $11

 18. Roller skates

  • First widely available: 1863
  • Cost: From $15

 19. Silly Putty

  • First widely available: 1949
  • Cost: From $3.50

 20. Mr. Potato Head

  • First widely available: 1952
  • Cost: From $9

Brandon Ballenger is a writer for Money Talks News, a consumer/personal finance TV news feature that airs in about 80 cities and around the Web. This column first appeared in Money Talks News.

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