Hey everyone! It’s “The Wrestling Classic” Justin here with another article for ONE37PM. In this piece, we’ll be doing something a little different. Rather than focusing on electrifying moments in the ring, we’ll be looking at some of the rarest and most expensive WWE action figures of all time.
Over the past few years, numerous collectible markets have been picking up more and more steam. From sports cards to LEGOs to VHS tapes, flipping culture continues to be an interesting investment opportunity that falls outside of traditional markets.
As we approach the list, there are a few things to keep in mind. The market is always evolving. The figures that may be considered rare or the most expensive today are all subject to change in the coming years. However, I dove into this research to find some of the most sought out toys that aren’t always up for sale, thus making them some of the most desirable to figure collectors.
In 1989, there was a release of LJN figures with a black card background. All of the figures from this release ended up being pretty rare. This is among one of the rarest figures of the bunch and therefore one of the most expensive. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was really popular in the late 80s and early 90s, so action figures featuring him from that period are highly sought after. However, $25,000 is still a pretty steep price if you ask me.
If you grew up during Hulkamania, then you know the feeling of wanting the Hulk Hogan figures as soon as they came out. Hulkamania began in 1984 after Hogan defeated Iron Sheik for the WWE Championship. Therefore, when this “Wrestling Superstars – Series 1” came out, the people were clamoring to get their hands on this Hulkster figure with the title belt. Prices of this model fluctuate, but there’s currently one on Ebay going for a striking $15,000 Canadian Dollars, or about $12,000 in USD.
The black card LJN series is full of a ton of rare gems. It was the last of LJN Superstar Series figures. The Hulk Hogan Black Card is the considered to be the most sought-after Hulk Hogan figure in the world. The unopened version of this figure can fetch up to $5,000 on the resale market online.
As figure collecting continues to become more popular, more and more collectors are flocking towards the rarest pieces. This includes prototypes, mock-ups and more. This Hulk Hogan prototype for the first LJN release is considered the Holy Grail. Currently, you can find it online going for as much as a whopping $120,000.
This prototype is one of its kind, as it was given to the seller from an ex-engineer employee of LJN. This Hulk Hogan figure was a 16 inch prototype cast mold, welded together before the product was a pass for production. This version was a lot more flexible than the figures that eventually came out as the arms and head moved. It’s an especially unique figure and it’s available on eBay for $49,999.
The wrestling figures from Japan are always a treat, especially the iterations of North American legends such as Hulk Hogan. These figures become available for sale every five years or so. This 1981 Hulk Hogan Pop Japan Wrestling figure is considered by many to be one of the holy grails in the hobby and is going for $12,500 online right now.
Similar to the Hulk Hogan Japanese wrestling figure, the Andre the Giant figure is highly sought out as well. Even in action figure form, the Eighth Wonder of the World was a global phenomenon. If you are able to find this figure in the box at mint condition, you can find it going anywhere from $4,000-$5,000 dollars.
The Hasbro figures from the early 90s comprise a blast of nostalgia for a generation of WWE fans. The yellow polka-dotted Dusty Rhodes figure from series 2 of the Hasbro releases is exceptionally rare—to the extent that this AFA Graded version of the “American Dream” figure is going for nearly 10K online.
The Yellow Card Hasbro Kamala was released with a moon on his belly rather than his trademark star. These specific versions of the figure have become extremely rare. It is believed that there are less than 24 of these figures ever released. This figure can start as low as $3,000 but I was recently saw it listed on eBay for an astonishing $22,000.
The Hasbro Mail Away figures are unique because they were special figures that were only available through the WWF Magazine. The exclusive action figures that included The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart are now some of the most difficult to come across action figures in the world. Hulk Hogan and Undertaker were recently going for nearly $7,000 and multiples up to $10,000.
While the AWA Mat Mania figures were not as popular as the LNJ action figures, they were among the first wrestling figures in the world. Because they don’t always go on sale and you rarely see them sold still fully sealed in their packaging, the Buddy Rose Mat Mania figure can go for up to $3,000.
The Ultimate Warrior was one of the most colorful and popular characters of the late 80s and 90s. The Ultimate Warrior figures have always been popular since he was regularly changing his paint, colors and overall look. However, the special marble figures tend to be the most sought after of the bunch. There were only 20 of these figures made and each one came signed and with a certificate of authenticity. They’re extremely rare, and a new one in box sold for $2,200 in 2019. There was also a collection of three of them going for $10,000 altogether.
The black card LJN figures are all particularly rare and most of them are considered to be holy grails of the hobby. The rare Macho Man Randy Savage figure isn’t even available online anywhere right now for sale still in its box. However, the Andre The Giant is findable and can go for over $7,000. I recently saw one online—that wasn’t even in mint condition—still going for $4,500.
As I mentioned before, the black card LJN figures are all really rare and most of them are considered grails for action figure collectors. The Big Bossman was one of the top bad guys of his generation, feuding with the likes of Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage. However, when he changed his ways and became a good guy, he went on to be one of the most popular. The Big Bossman in great condition rarely goes on sale (if ever) and recently has been seen on the market for around $5,500.
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine was in a short-lived but popular tag team with Honkey Tonk Man called Rhythm and Blues. It’s considered a holy grail due to never being released, even though it was advertised in a 1991 WWF Magazine in a Toys R Us ad. The ad featured Valentine with jet black hair and a molded entrance jacket. The prototype figure appeared on eBay originally priced at $29,999, but went on to start selling for a lot less. Matt Cardona ended up buying a version of it for $8,000. He then bought a lot from an ex-Hasbro employee; he bought a whole lot of figures at $43,000, getting two other Valentines, including a larger size version.