8 of the Most Valuable Hess Trucks

Joe Haupt, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Joe Haupt, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Back in 1964, gas station magnate Leon Hess decided his chain of Hess stops could contribute some seasonal cheer by offering one-of-a-kind toy trucks. The durable, battery-equipped Hess trucks soon became prized by kids and adults alike; Hess releases a new truck every year, and the annual releases have become something of a collector’s item.

If you think a model might be lurking somewhere in your attic, take a look at eight of the most valuable Hess vehicles on the market according to dealer Ray Patterson of RaysHessToyTrucks.com. But remember: Values are typically based on the truck being not only in excellent condition but with a pristine package. Collectors don’t offer as much for a model that’s missing its box or parts.

1. Hess Tanker Truck (1964) // $1800

A 1964 Hess Tanker Truck is pictured
Courtesy of Ray's Hess Toy Trucks

The first-ever Hess truck issued is not only rare, but it came with a feature not commonly found on subsequent trucks—the ability for a child to fill up its reservoir with water and then spray it out a nozzle. The headlights also light up. Hess made roughly 150,000 of the 12-inch trucks, and one that’s mint in the box is valued at $1800 or more. The original 1964 price? Just $1.39.

2. Hess 'Red Velvet' Truck (1967) // $2550

A 1967 Hess 'Red Velvet' Tanker Truck is pictured
Courtesy of Ray's Hess Toy Trucks

This fuel truck is sought-after for its unique accessory: a red velvet display stand. The pedestal was part of the packing material and was easily damaged, making one in mint condition hard to find. Models can reach $2500 on the aftermarket.

3. Hess ‘Woodbridge’ Tanker Truck (1969) // $1500

A 1967 Hess 'Woodbridge' Tanker Truck is pictured
Courtesy of Ray's Hess Toy Trucks

You’ll need to look at the box to find out why this model is so desirable. The packaging states “Home Office in Woodbridge, New Jersey,” which didn’t typically appear on the boxes. You can expect to pay $1500 if you find one.

4. Hess Fire Truck (1970) // $525

A 1970 Hess Fire Truck is pictured
Courtesy of Ray's Hess Toy Trucks

After several years of green and white trucks, Hess decided to change things up in 1970 by issuing their first fire truck. The design was modeled after actual trucks used at Hess refineries and had a detachable ladder. You can expect to pay around $525 for this model, though 1971’s version of the fire truck is a more lucrative find. After Hess ran out of boxes, they shipped that model in a plain box and had retailers put a “Season’s Greetings” sticker on it. Intact, the whole package can sell for $3500.

5. Hess Barrel Truck (1975) // $3500

A 1975 Hess 'Barrel' Tanker Truck is pictured
Courtesy of Ray's Hess Toy Trucks

This box truck features fuel barrels and a sliding door. While most of 1975’s models were made in Hong Kong, a handful were manufactured in the USA and had some slight differences, including a lack of “Hess” on the tires and a “Made in USA" marking on the box. With only 20 to 40 made, this model can sell for $3500 or more. The regular version sells for around $375.

6. Hess Tanker Truck with Black Switch (1977) // $375

A 1977 Hess 'Black Switch' Tanker Truck is pictured
Courtesy of Ray's Hess Toy Trucks

Hess issued similar tanker trucks in 1977 and 1978, but the 1977 version has one important distinction—some models have a black switch on the body instead of a red switch. Thanks to this variant, it can sell for $375. (It would be 1980 before Hess issued another truck. They skipped 1979 due to a nationwide gas shortage.)

7. Hess Training Van (1980) // $375

A 1980 Hess Training Van is pictured
Courtesy of Ray's Hess Toy Trucks

Not a truck but a van modeled after the company’s training vehicles, this anomaly was also notable for being the first Hess product to come in a one-piece packing box. It can sell for $375.

8. Hess Truck and Airplane (2002) // $75

A 2002 Hess Truck and Airplane set is pictured
Courtesy of Ray's Hess Toy Trucks

Not too many modern-era Hess trucks sell for considerable sums because collectors treat the products and packaging with reverence. But this recent-vintage airplane and truck combo is worth $75 or so. The truck has a flatbed that can haul the aircraft.

This Course Will Teach You How to Play Guitar Like a Pro for $29

BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images
BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images

Be honest: You’ve watched a YouTube video or two in an attempt to learn how to play a song on the guitar. Whether it was through tabs or simply copying whatever you saw on the screen, the fun always ends when friends start throwing out requests for songs you have no idea how to play. So how about you actually learn how to play guitar for real this time?

It’s now possible to learn guitar from home with the Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle, which is currently on sale for $29. Grab that Gibson, Fender, or whatever you have handy, and learn to strum rhythms from scratch.

The strumming course will teach you how to count beats and rests to turn your hands and fingers into the perfect accompaniment for your own voice or other musicians. Then, you can take things a step further and learn advanced jamming and soloing to riff anytime, anywhere. This course will teach you to improvise across various chords and progressions so you can jump into any jam with something original. You’ll also have the chance to dive deep into the major guitar genres of bluegrass, blues, and jazz. Lessons in jam etiquette, genre history, and how to read music will separate you from a novice player.

This bundle also includes courses in ear training so you can properly identify any relative note, interval, or pitch. That way, you can play along with any song when it comes on, or even understand how to modify it into the key you’d prefer. And when the time comes to perform, be prepared with skilled hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends, trills, vibrato, and fret-tapping. Not only will you learn the basic foundations of guitar, you’ll ultimately be able to develop your own style with the help of these lessons.

The Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle is discounted for a limited time. Act on this $29 offer now to work on those fingertip calluses and play like a pro.

 

The Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle - $29

See Deal


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11 Fascinating Facts About Tamagotchi

Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Chesnot/Getty Images News

They blooped and beeped and ate, played, and pooped, and, for ‘90s kids, the egg-shaped Tamagotchi toys were magic. They taught the responsibility of tending to a “pet,” even though their shrill sounds were annoying to parents and teachers and school administrators. Nearly-real funerals were held for expired Tamagotchi, and they’ve even been immortalized in a museum (of sorts). Here are 11 things you should know about the keychain toy that was once stashed in every kid’s backpack.

1. The idea for the Tamagotchi came from a female office worker at Bandai.

Aki Maita was a 30-year-old “office lady” at the Japanese toy company Bandai when inspiration struck. She wanted to create a pet for kids—one that wouldn't bark or meow, make a mess in the house, or lead to large vet bills, according to Culture Trip. Maita took her idea to Akihiro Yokoi, a toy designer at another company, and the duo came up with a name and backstory for their toy: Tamagotchis were aliens, and their egg served as protection from the Earth’s atmosphere. They gave prototype Tamagotchis to high school girls in Shibuya, and tweaked and honed the design of the toy based on their feedback.

2. The name Tamagotchi is a blend of two Japanese words.

The name Tamagotchi is a mashup between the Japanese words tamago and tomodachi, or egg and friend, according to Culture Trip. (Other sources have the name meaning "cute little egg" or "loveable egg.")

3. Tamagotchis were released in Japan in 1996.

A picture of a tamagotchi toy.
Tamagotchis came from a faraway planet called "Planet Tamagotchi."
Museum Rotterdam, Wikimedia Commons//CC BY-SA 3.0

Bandai released the Tamagotchi in Japan in November 1996. The tiny plastic keychain egg was equipped with a monochrome LCD screen that contained a “digital pet,” which hatched from an egg and grew quickly from there—one day for a Tamagotchi was equivalent to one year for a human. Their owners used three buttons to feed, discipline, play with, give medicine to, and clean up after their digital pet. It would make its demands known at all hours of the day through bloops and bleeps, and owners would have to feed it or bathe it or entertain it.

Owners that successfully raised their Tamagotchi to adulthood would get one of seven characters, depending on how they'd raised it; owners that were less attentive faced a sadder scenario. “Leave one unattended for a few hours and you'll return to find that it has pooped on the floor or, worse, died,” Wired wrote. The digital pets would eventually die of old age at around the 28-day mark, and owners could start fresh with a new Tamagotchi.

4. Tamagotchis were an immediate hit.

The toys were a huge success—4 million units were reportedly sold in Japan during their first four months on shelves. By 1997, Tamagotchis had made their way to the United States. They sold for $17.99, or around $29 in today's dollars. One (adult) reviewer noted that while he was "drawn in by [the Tamagotchi's] cleverness," after several days with the toy, "the thrill faded quickly. I'm betting the Tamagotchi will be the Pet Rock of the 1990s—overwhelmingly popular for a few months, and then abandoned in the fickle rush to some even cuter toy."

The toy was, in fact, overwhelmingly popular: By June 1997, 10 million of the toys had been shipped around the world. And according to a 2017 NME article, a whopping 82 million Tamagotchi had been sold since their release into the market in 1997.

5. Aki Maita and Akihiro Yokoi won an award for inventing the Tamagotchi.

In 1997, the duo won an Ig Nobel Prize in economics, a satiric prize that’s nonetheless presented by Nobel laureates at Harvard, for "diverting millions of person-hours of work into the husbandry of virtual pets" by creating the Tamagotchi.

6. Tamagotchis weren't popular with teachers.

Some who grew up with Tamagotchi remember sneaking the toys into school in their book bags. The toys were eventually banned in some schools because they were too distracting and, in some cases, upsetting for students. In a 1997 Baltimore Sun article titled “The Tamagotchi Generation,” Andrew Ratner wrote that the principal at his son’s elementary school sent out a memo forbidding the toys “because some pupils got so despondent after their Tamagotchis died that they needed consoling, even care from the school nurse.”

7. One pet cemetery served as a burial ground for expired Tamagotchi.

Terry Squires set aside a small portion of his pet cemetery in southern England for dead Tamagotchi. He told CNN in 1998 that he had performed burials for Tamagotchi owners from Germany, Switzerland, France, the United States, and Canada, all of whom ostensibly shipped their dead by postal mail. CNN noted that "After the Tamagotchis are placed in their coffins, they are buried as mourners look on, their final resting places topped with flowers."

8. There were many copycat Tamagotchi.

The success of the Tamagotchi resulted in both spin-offs and copycat toys, leading PC Mag to dub the late ’90s “The Golden Age of Virtual Pets.” There was the Digimon, a Tamagotchi spin-off by Bandai that featured monsters and was marketed to boys. (There were also Tamagotchi video games.) And in 1997, Tiger Electronics launched Giga Pets, which featured real animals (and, later, dinosaurs and fictional pets from TV shows). According to PC Mag, Giga Pets were very popular in the United States but “never held the same mystique as the original Tamagotchi units.” Toymaker Playmates's Nano Pets were also a huge success, though PC Mag noted they were “some of the least satisfying to take care of."

9. Rare Tamagotchis can be worth a lot of money.

According to Business Insider, most vintage Tamagotchis won't fetch big bucks on the secondary market. (On eBay, most are priced at around $50.) The exception are rare editions like “Yasashii Blue” and “Tamagotchi Ocean,” which go for $300 to $450 on eBay. As Complex notes, "There were over 40 versions (lines) of Tamagotchi released, and each line featured a variety of colors and variations ... yours would have to be one of the rarest models to be worth the effort of resale."

10. A new generation of Tamagotchis were released in 2017 for the toy's 20th anniversary.

The 2017 re-release of the Tamagotchi in its packaging.
Bandai came to the aid of nostalgic '90s kids when it re-released a version of the original Tamagotchis for the toy's 20th anniversary.
Chesnot/Getty Images

In November 2017, Bandai released a 20th anniversary Tamagotchi that, according to a press release [PDF], was "a first-of-its-kind-anywhere exact replica of the original Tamagotchi handheld digital pet launched ... in 1996." However, as The Verge reported, the toys weren't an exact replica: "They're about half the size, the LCD display is square rather than rectangle, and those helpful icons on the top and bottom of the screen seem to be gone now." In 2019, new Tamagotchis were released; they were larger than the originals, featured full-color displays, and retailed for $60.

11. The original Tamagotchi’s sound has been immortalized in a virtual museum.

The Museum of Endangered Sounds is a website that seeks to immortalize the digital sounds that become extinct as we hurtle through the evolution of technology. “The crackle of a dial-up modem. The metallic clack of a 3.5-inch floppy slotting into a Macintosh disk drive. The squeal of the newborn Tamagotchi. They are vintage sounds that no oldies station is ever going to touch,” The Washington Post wrote in a 2012 profile of the museum. So, yes, the sound of that little Tamagotchi is forever preserved, should it someday, very sadly, cease to exist completely.