If The Price Is Right: Collecting Game Show Memorabilia

Cold and flu season is never fun, but with it comes a fond childhood memory: staying home from school and watching The Price is Right on the couch. I’m not alone in this, and while Plinko probably didn’t cure me any quicker than the day off did, game shows are decidedly in the camp of feel-good content. There are the gleeful winners, the flashy prizes, the bright lights, and the jazzy sound effects. What’s not to love?

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Game show memorabilia intended for the general public is pretty rare and mostly takes the form of games and toys (leaving some collectors to make their own fun).

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that some folks collect game show memorabilia, although some of their chosen items are surprising indeed. As it turns out, game show contestants—and occasionally, even staff—will bring home anything from the set that isn’t nailed down. These oddities, coupled with the assortment of home board games and items from charity auctions, make for a jackpot’s worth of goodies to collect. Some rarer ones are worth much more than a vowel on Wheel of Fortune. Read on for the most unusual and valuable game show collectibles of all time.

BOB BARKER’S MICROPHONE

Bob Barker hosted The Price is Right for an impressive thirty-five years, from 1972 to 2007. During his tenure, the host embraced some modernity while keeping many things about the way he ran the show the same. One such artifact is Barker’s signature corded microphone. Long after wireless mics were the standard for television, the Price is Right host insisted on keeping his trusty Sony ECM-51. He used the same mic from 1972 until show staff cobbled another one together from parts after his original broke in 1991.

This 1991 franken-mic sold at auction for nearly $20,000 in 2007, shortly after Barker’s retirement. All proceeds were donated to an animal rights charity, which was always a passion of the longtime host. Replicas still fetch a reasonable price (without coming remotely close to “going over”), and game show and audio enthusiasts alike try to find and make their own versions of this iconic piece of equipment.

WHAMMY DOLLS

Even though he represented one of the worst possible outcomes on the hit game show Press Your Luck, this little character is instantly recognizable as its mascot. In the unfortunate event that a contestant spun the wheel and landed on a “Whammy” square on the board, they would lose all their winnings, and the little red monster of the same name would appear on the screen. At least his zany antics helped take some of the edge off the loss.

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An official Press Your Luck Whammy doll. Less than 1,000 of these little guys were ever made, making their owners lucky indeed.

Despite Press Your Luck having its heyday in the 1980s, the Game Show Network cable channel renewed interest in the show by frequently airing classic reruns. The network rebooted the series in 2002, putting the beloved Whammy character front and center in Whammy!: The All New Press Your Luck. This Whammy doll was a special prize for attendees of events hosted by GSN from the late 1990s to early 2000s, in part for promoting the new series. It was never sold to the general public and is thus quite rare today.

JEOPARDY! CHALLENGER HOME GAME

As a trivia geek, it’s almost impossible not to play along with an episode of Jeopardy! from the comforts of home. That being said, shouting “What is Tibet?” at your TV screen just doesn’t have the same feeling as actual participation, nor is it easy to keep score and brag about it later. Enter this unique piece of equipment: Jeopardy! Challenger.

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While it might look like a glorified calculator, Jeopardy! Challenger was the most official way to play along at home in the 1990s.

Released in 1987, these interactive remotes allowed fans to play the game in real-time by “buzzing in” and keeping track of their “winnings.” The set of two included a “tournament cable” for head-to-head competitions with friends and family. Sadly, the technology wasn’t advanced enough to direct deposit any prize money or positive feedback from esteemed former host Alex Trebek, but being right is its own reward.

THE SILVER MONKEY IDOL

The rise of Nickelodeon and children’s entertainment in the late 1980s and early 1990s brought an exciting niche: children’s game shows. While game shows, in general, are a family affair, Nickelodeon’s GAS (Games and Sports) series was the first to put kids in the contestants’ seats. Titles like Double Dare, Slime Time Live, and the originator of this particular collectible, Legends of the Hidden Temple, were all the rage in the ’90s, with many still nostalgic for them today.

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One of the genuine Silver Monkey puzzles that so many temple runners struggled to put together before time ran out.

Legends of the Hidden Temple was an obstacle course race with an ancient Mesoamerican theme. Contestants competed mentally through trivia and physically through races and trials to get to the final challenge and chance at the grand prize. This final test was “The Shrine of The Silver Monkey,” a three-piece puzzle that seemed maddeningly simple from my couch at home but gave the show’s kid trial-goers a legendary amount of trouble. Maybe it was the stress and pressure of being on TV, or maybe this darn monkey really is that hard to put back together. I’m almost tempted to try it myself, but since this official prop from the show sold for nearly $300, I’m content to let it be.

A PIECE OF THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE

While it was the show’s signature catchphrase, you can’t buy one of the Wheel of Fortune vowels as far as I can tell (those are firmly fixed to the wall, after all.) You can, however, own a piece of the actual wheel if it’s within your budget, or even one of presenter Vanna White’s famous dresses, for the more fashionably inclined.

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I can’t help but wonder if this seller of two authentic Wheel of Fortune “goodie wedges” used their earnings for a real trip to the spa.

Many slices of the famous wheel, also known as “goodie wedges,” have been auctioned off or won in contests over the years. Some examples even include autographs from the show’s hosts. A few hundred dollars may be a lot for a triangular wedge of plastic, even if it says “$2,500” on it, but to superfans, it’s a grand prize. Replica, commemorative wedges also exist and fetch a nice price in their own right.

ARE YOU FEELING LUCKY?

Want to know what your favorite game show’s goodies are worth? WorthPoint®, as always, is here to help. Peruse our Dictionary for helpful articles identifying a wide variety of game show and entertainment memorabilia. I’ve been your host, Rory Tessmer. Help control the pet population, have your pets spayed and neutered, and—hey, wait a minute, that’s not how I end these. Anyhow, happy hunting, collectors!


Rory Tessmer is an eBayer and freelancer from southeastern Wisconsin with over a decade of specialty retail and resale experience under their belt. Rory has had the pleasure of seeing (and sometimes even playing with) hundreds of unusual collectibles over the years, from tesla coils to military mule-branding kits. In their spare time, they enjoy cooking, gaming, and noodling around with their synthesizer.

WorthPoint—Discover. Value. Preserve.

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