Whether you grew up playing with figurines of her and her friends or love sporting her cute design on hoodies and sneakers, there’s a good chance you have a connection to the beloved Hello Kitty. The cat-girl cartoon character has been a prominent icon in pop culture for decades, and there’s no sign of her slowing down! But did you know that it’s popular to collect Hello Kitty merchandise?
Learn more about the fascinating history of Hello Kitty, understand why and how she’s remained so popular with kids and adults alike, and discover how to determine the value of Hello Kitty collectibles with our inside look at the character. Don’t take her catchphrase, “You can never have too many friends,” lightly, and join us as we dive into the loveable world of Hello Kitty collecting.
The History of Hello Kitty
When Yuko Shimizu first drew an adorable cat with a red bow in 1974, he had no idea the success that was to follow. First appearing on a vinyl coin purse, the character commonly referred to as Hello Kitty was given two personality traits—she was born in London and loved baking cookies. With sales doing incredibly well in Japan, Hello Kitty was expanded to the United States in 1976. From there, the rest of the world fell in love with her, and sales skyrocketed.
While Hello Kitty figurines were originally marketed towards children and preteens in the ‘70s, they found a second wind in the ‘90s by appealing to the nostalgia of the now-grown children, making more adult products such as laptop cases, purses, and designer jewelry. From that moment on, Hello Kitty was a staple in fashion, a TV star, a child’s toy, and so much more, responsible for bringing in at least half of the billion-dollar net worth at Sanrio’s. Who would have known that one playful doodle would lead to one of the most recognizable cartoon icons across the globe?
Why Is Hello Kitty Popular?
While Hello Kitty was first designed with a child-like whimsy to appeal to young kids, Sanrio’s successful pivot to include adults with retro looks and fashion has made her a trendsetter around the world with every generation, keeping sales up and constantly opening new doors for Hello Kitty merchandise and marketing to expand. With celebrity endorsements from Avril Lavigne, Margaret Cho, and more, as well as countless brand partnerships, people have accepted the Hello Kitty trend. Regardless of age, there’s a Hello Kitty collectible that’s perfect for everyone!
7 Hello Kitty Brand Collaborations:
Is Hello Kitty Memorabilia Expensive?
Hello Kitty items are one of the most accessible collections because anyone with any budget can partake! Hello Kitty collectibles can cost anywhere from a couple of dollars at your local retailer to over $100,000 for diamond figurines. When starting out, set a budget and stick to it as you search for Kitty and her friends!
3 Questions to Determine the Value of Hello Kitty Products
With a seemingly endless list of styles of Hello Kitty merchandise available, determining value can seem overwhelming. From stickers of the character and her friends to cars sporting her face, Hello Kitty is everywhere and can be found at an extensive range of price points. Asking these three questions can help you determine the value of the Hello Kitty collectible item:
1. How is the Condition of the Hello Kitty Merchandise?
The condition of any collectible item, from antique dolls to Hot Wheels, affects its value, and Hello Kitty items are no exception. Since the original line of merchandise was produced in the ‘70s, even vintage Hello Kitty memorabilia can be in great condition. If something is in mint condition, lacking any scuffs, scrapes, or damages, that Hello Kitty figurine automatically has a higher market value for most buyers and collectors.
If you find an item, whether a Hello Kitty Funko Pop or stationary, that may seem a little worse-for-wear, don’t discount it yet! Many people collect based on their nostalgia for the product and may accept it into their personal collection because it brings them joy, regardless of whether or not it’s in mint condition.
2. How Rare is the Hello Kitty Collectible?
Ever since the rapid increase in popularity of Hello Kitty a few decades ago, the rarer a specific item is, the more value it has to collectors. If only a couple of Hello Kitty figurines were made for a specific brand partnership or a certain year, those would be incredibly sought after, and people would pay more to own them.
Rarest Hello Kitty Collectibles:
Signed Lady Gaga Hello Kitty Doll
Hello Kitty Crystal Doghouse
3. Is the Hello Kitty Merchandise Authentic or Fake?
People say imitation is the highest form of flattery—but not for Hello Kitty collectors!
An authentic Hello Kitty figurine made by Sanrio has a bow on the left ear, no mouth, and a copyright label. Some will even have a light-sensitive security mark, with a hologram of her design hidden on the product. So, if you’re ever unsure of the trustworthiness of an item, check the bow, mouth, and labels before buying.
Collecting and Selling Hello Kitty Merchandise
Whether you’re interested in collecting Sanrio character stamps or finding Swarovski crystal Hello Kitty figurines, you can shop from the comfort of your own home. Discover online forums, connect with other buyers, and consistently check auction sites like eBay to grow your collection. If you ever decide to sell your products, learn how to sell vintage items on the same websites and turn a profit!
If you have any spare time for a hands-on experience, stop by flea markets, search through yard sales, and visit your local antique mall today! With countless booths in one place, antique malls give you a space to sort through countless curated collections until you find something that fits your niche. Experience the thrill of the chase and hunt down all sorts of Hello Kitty collectibles at one of our locations.
Once you understand the never-ending popularity of Hello Kitty, it’s impossible not to want to collect items that feature her adorable face! Luckily, endless Hello Kitty collectibles are available, from electric guitars to pencil cases and everything in between. Learn how to determine the value and distinguish between authentic and fake Hello Kitty merchandise, and stop by to start your collection at our Algonquin, Highland, or Melbourne antique malls today!