Let's first start by setting expectations accordingly. We need to all understand what the word "fortune" means in the context of valuing 80s action figures. These toys aren't going to be going for millions of dollars, but in comparison to the types of prices they originally sold for, their current going rate could easily be considered a fortune. As time goes on things tend to inherently gain more popularity simply due to scarcity and rarity. Often times you'll find that a lot of this is due to neglect or disposal. They are toys after all, and kids tend to destroy their own toys. Sometimes people are lucky enough to come across their old toys in a dusty chest that was stowed away in their parent's attic only to be found years later. After taking a look at the following list it may be in your own best interest to search around your old family home, or possibly ask your parents if they remember having these toys. For the younger generation, like myself, at worst this is a great way to look at how children's toys have greatly evolved over the years. Kids often take for granted the types of improvements and choices they have gained since their parents were young. Though they're not as detailed a lot of the older figures tended to hold up longer than the current action figures we have today, generally speaking. Let's now take a look at 25 action figures from the 80's that are worth a fortune today.
25 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles burst onto the scene in the 80s and quickly became one of the hottest toy lines on store shelves. They launched in 1984 via the comic book realm but really hit the big time with their animated series release in 1987.
During the late 80s you couldn't go to a single children's outing without seeing a hint of the heroes in a half-shell.
There were so many different toys for the turtles that the prices can vary, but on the low-end of the rare spectrum, you're looking at around $550, whereas the real gems can snag up to $5,000 mint.
24 Megatron Gun
For some, it may seem like common sense, but the 80s were a different time. One might assume that making a Transformers toy that turned into a realistic looking gun might not be the greatest of ideas. It turns out that an assumption like that would happen to be completely correct. Though the version sold in the United States didn't fire real pellets it was quickly recalled and discontinued alongside all of the other versions of the Megatron toy. An original version that was mint-in-box recently sold at auction for $4,000. Be careful where you point it.
23 Jem & the Holograms Doll
Once again, this technically isn't an action figure, but aren't dolls just action figures aimed at girls? Semantics aside Jem and the Holograms was a more niche, but just as powerful fandom.
It fully embraced the 80s and showed young girls that the life of a rock star wasn't exclusive to boys.
Since it was aimed at younger girls there were also a ton of accessories that are also seen as collector's items alongside the dolls. The Jem dolls may not seem mainstream but they can currently bring in prices well over $700.
22 U.S.S. Flagg
Now, this technically wasn't an action figure, but it was just as important an item for all of the kids obsessed with the G.I. Joe brand in the 80s. In 1986 this giant aircraft carrier was sold in stores for roughly $90 which wasn't exactly a cheap investment back in the day. The U.S.S. Flagg was only in production for a year and was discontinued in 1987. If you just so happen to own or come in contact with a mint-in-box version of this massive toy, then you're looking at a selling point of $1,000. Not too shabby for a giant children's bathtub prop.
21 Michael Jackson Superstar Doll
Now, I know your first thought revolves around the fact that this is technically not an action figure, but rather a doll of Michael Jackson. Though that's true, that doesn't mean that kids everywhere weren't clamoring to control and celebrate the King of Pop during the 80s.
Kids everywhere wanted to do the moonwalk with their very own toy.
The figure that features his old school look including his gloves, red jacket, and more have been seen to sell for over $250. That's not a tremendous amount, but hey, you could buy a new video game console with that kind of money.
20 G.I. Joe 'Breaker'
We already covered one of the prized sets from G.I. Joe, but let's now talk about one of the action figures that carries some decent value. A communications officer known as Breaker has a figure that released in 1982 as part of the new 3.75-inch figure line. G.I. Joe, in general, was mass produced to meet insane demand, but that doesn't mean that some of them didn't grow in value despite being originally sold for only $2. The Breaker figure can be seen at prices around $250, which isn't staggering but still some good money for what it is.
19 Sise Fromm (Droids)
When people talk about the long and storied history of the Star Wars franchise very few of them bring up the Droids or Ewoks series that were seen as partial failures in the 90s. The Droids series only lasted 2 seasons and the Ewoks series didn't even hit that mark. In order to keep Star Wars in the limelight, Lucasfilm felt they needed to create new toy lines to sell in stores. This was the birth of the two series and their attached toys. One of the rarest and most prized action figures is the villain from Droids, Sise Fromm, and it goes for $1000 mint with or without a grade.
18 She-Ra & Swiftwind
The combo packs for action figures were always seen as great value for their price point and kids felt they were a must own. The success of Masters of the Universe made Mattel shift to focus on creating a spinoff brand aimed at little girls. This is how She-Ra, Princess of Power came into existence and led to the creation of its very own set of toys. The two-pack was pushed as a way to hopefully get females into the Masters of the Universe zeitgeist. This She-Ra and Swiftwind combo set currently go for $2,000 in mint condition.
17 Wun-Dar He-Man
Have you ever wanted a He-Man figure but felt that he needed more cosmetic options? Well, back in the late 80s there was a giveaway promotion through Wonder Bread that allowed lucky kids the opportunity to come into ownership of the Wun-Dae He-Man figure from the Masters of the Universe toy line. Who would have thought that a love of simple white bread could lead you to get a pretty rare action figure? It turns out that this giveaway prize fetches around $1,000 nowadays.
16 1978 Darth Vader
Later in the list, we'll be talking about another Star Wars figure that also featured an extendable lightsaber. The topic of this entry, however, is all about the big bad Sith himself, Darth Vader.
When the Kenner line was originally launched in 1978 many fans were unhappy with the functionality of the lightsabers.
It was quickly discontinued due to lack of interest which immediately made it a rare item. You're not going to be able to travel around the world due to selling it, but Kenner's 1978 telescopic Darth Vader figure has a current price of $6,000.
15 G.I. Joe Battle Tank
Though G.I. Joe was absolutely massive in the 80s, a lot of the actual action figures really don't hold much value. The real prized toys from this era for the brand was the vehicles. The G.I. Joe Battle Tank originally launched in 1982 and came with Steeler who was made with the original straight-arm design. Shortly after its release they changed their figures to have bendable arms and switched out to a newer version of Steeler for the Battle Tank. This means that the original model mint, with straight-arm Steeler, can go for well over $1,000.
14 Vinyl Cape Jawa
The Jawa made their appearance in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope and fans everywhere wanted to get their hands on the creepy and mysterious outlaws. Netflix's The Toys That Made Us features an episode centered around Kenner and Star Wars. Apparently, the prototype for the Vinyl Cape Jawa was made from one of the designer's brown socks. After the first round of production, the Jawa figures had a quick change in material. This sudden change made the originals extra rare and kicked up their current day value to around $18,000.
13 He-Man & Battle Cat
The Masters of the Universe toy lines were so popular and sold like crazy. The most interesting thing is that they got a reputation for reusing and purposing parts when they would design new figures.
Many times the heads would be the only unique new items on the figures themselves.
Back in the 80s you could easily come across a He-Man or Battle Cat figure and build your collection through individual purchases. There was, however, a rare combo pack that included both He-Man and Battle Cat that currently goes for $4,000 graded in mint condition.
12 Mego Elastic Batman
On the cusp of the 80s, a company named Mego Corporation released this oddly familiar elastic toy that took on the look of Batman. It was an obvious ripoff of Kenner's Stretch Armstrong toy, and after some legal battles involving a lawsuit due to obvious design theft, Mego Corporation immediately halted production on their Elastic Batman toys. Due to the lawsuit halting production and such there is only believed to be two of these in existence, though that's never been confirmed. Its current price is estimated to be at around $15,000.
11 Transformers Generation 1
Not often would you ever see two companies collaborate on something, let alone companies from opposite sides of the world. In 1984 Hasbro and Japanese toy company Takara Tomy came together to produce and release the Transformers Generation 1 action figure line. Individually many of the figures have great prices and a tremendous return on investment. The real value, however, is in having the complete set. The entire Transformers Generation 1 line of figures has been auctioned for around $40,000. The ongoing Hollywood franchise should easily showcase the value of Transformers as a whole.
10 Raiders Of The Lost Ark Playset
This is a bit of a cheat in the same way that both of the G.I. Joe vehicles were. This isn't about a single action figure, but rather a playset based on one of the most iconic adventure movies of all time.
The Raiders of the Lost Ark Well of Souls playset by Kenner was released almost 2 years after the film's release.
This led to poor sales for the toy line and it was quickly canceled. Because of this a number of toys from this line hold value and the Well of Souls playset recently went for $2,000 graded mint-in-box.
9 1978 Obi-Wan Kenobi
I hope you didn't visist an article about priceless 80s action figures hoping to not see any mention of Star Wars. The Kenner toys were so successful, mostly due in part to the movies exploding and having a significant cultural impact on people around the world. Many of the figures from the original line hold a lot of value. Many of them had weird features that were either removed or very unique. The Obi-Wan figure featured a lightsaber that would come out of his arm. An out of the box Obi-Wan Kenner figure can sell for around $2,000, whereas a mint-in-box can go for upwards of $6,000.
8 Boba Fett (Droids)
For years we've all known that despite his little amount of screen time and lines, Boba Fett still remains as one of, if not the, coolest Star Wars characters in existence. His outfit alone catapulted him into the minds of nerds everywhere for generations. We already talked about the Droids series and how it's often an afterthought when talking about Star Wars media at large. Interestingly enough, Boba Fett had as many appearances in the animated show as he did in live action. This obviously led to an action figure of Boba Fett that goes for over $1,000 today.
7 Real Ghostbusters Peter Venkman
The 80s was the equivalent of a nuclear explosion when it comes to new intellectual properties that took the world by storm and won the hearts of multiple generations.
Of the many things to do this was, of course, the Ghostbusters.
It was the go-to Halloween costume for any group of 3-4 friends. The Real Ghostbusters had multiple toy lines, but the Fright Features seems to have most of the value. Peter Venkman's figure, specifically, recently sold on eBay for over $1,000.
6 Thunderwings Lion-O
When toy lines starting seeing a decline in sales that was more rapid than they anticipated many of them got extremely desperate. In a last-ditch effort to gather any new interest companies would release a line with a completely new style or gimmick. This was also the case for Thundercats seeing as the final toy line went for a more aerodynamic lineup. The real prize of the set was, of course, the Thunderwings Lion-O figure. You can sell a loose version of the Thunderwings Lion-O figure for around $500, which more importantly means that a graded mint-in-box version would easily go for over $1,000.
5 Kenner Boba Fetts
Of course, we're talking about another Boba Fett toy. This time we're specifically tackling the Kenner versions which are regarded as some of the most in-demand action figures to date. Currently, there's a brilliant series on Netflix that showcases Kenner's relationship with Star Wars and Lucasfilm in the early days. If you were to get your hands on everyone's favorite bounty hunter you'll likely see profits of between $2,000-$5,000 depending on a number of factors including grading, mint, and others.
4 1982 Skeletor
In 1982 Mattel's Masters of the Universe line released and took the world by storm in the same fashion that the show did. The main villain of the show, Skeletor, quickly became the most in-demand figure of that line.
It's been over 36 years since its release and nostalgia-driven collectors are still willing to pay a decent price for everyone's favorite skeleton.
If you happen to have the lord of destruction mint-in-box and it's also graded then you're looking at a bare minimum selling point of at least $1,500. What a great price, no bones about it.
3 Masters Of The Universe Eternia Playset
Going straight off of the Skeletor action figure let's now tackle another Masters of the Universe toy that goes for a hefty penny. During the golden age of toys in the 80s, it was known that having a solid playset was just as important as the figures themselves. Imaginations could only go so far, so kids clamored for anything resembling the cartoon's backdrops. The "Holy Grail" of Masters of the Universe toys aka the MotU Eternia set, can sell for upwards of $1,900 if it's still in its original box, untouched.
2 Optimus Prime
You would assume that a character as popular as Optimus Prime wouldn't have a rare and expensive toy simply due to how high in demand he was in the 80s. It turns out that his original action figure in the first Transformers line was really complex and complicated in comparison to the rest of the toys in the line. Many other versions of Optimus Prime exist, but this original version is tough to come by. If you happen to have the Optimus Prime toy from the original line mint-in-box and graded you can easily turn a profit of over $10,000.
1 1978 Luke Skywalker
It wouldn't be a proper list of 80s action figures if a Star Wars toy wasn't #1 on the list. This is technically a cheat considering the toy originally released in 1978, but Star Wars is synonymous with the 80s so it 100% qualifies for this list.
The 1978 Kenner Luke Skywalker figure wasn't necessarily rare, but what was rare was finding one that hadn't been opened.
Currently, there are only 20 as-new boxed quality of these figures in existence. In a 2015 auction, this exact figure went for an incredible $25,000 and was only part of Star Wars collection that sold for over $500,000 collectively.