Collectibles for the gullible

Action figures

In the 2005 film The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Andy (played by Steve Carrell), sells his impressive action figure collection on eBay to fund opening his own home electronics store. That's a nice thought, but it's not usually reality.

While some of these toys can sell for big bucks, especially if they remain in their original packaging, it's hard to pick what will be valuable 20 to 30 years from now.

Most of the biggest action figure sellers, like a Babe Ruth figure with a blue hat or a telescoping Darth Vader, sell for thousands of dollars ($15,000 for Ruth, $7,000 for Darth) because they were mistakes. But for every oops that turns into gold, there's hundreds of bit characters whose action figure value barely budges.

If you like a specific sci-fi franchise, by all means buy action figures as your budget allows. Just don't bank on those same toys providing the start-up funds for your own company one day.

And maybe take them out of the box and let your kids play with them, as they were intended to be used.