No, Marvel hasn’t always been the biggest name in comics. But it's always been well respected as a pioneer of superhero stories that attempt a serious edge, and these stories helped pioneer the current, we-take-ourselves-serious era of comics. And, with the success of the bajillion Marvel Universe movies put out over the last decade or so, it now definitely is the biggest name in comic-bookdom, and one of the biggest in the world of entertainment as a whole.
Nobody on this planet can even live for a day anymore without seeing something Marvel came up with in a store window, or on a movie poster, or even, lord knows, worn by someone walking down the street. Marvel buzzes around our heads like some kind of omnipresent insect… except that sounds so negative. Marvel is awesome! We couldn’t be happier to have them overtake our culture the way they have and, more importantly, said cultural obsession can only mean one thing: valuable toys. Thousands upon thousands of action figures and such that kids got back when superheroes were, well, kid stuff, have since become major serious business worth the big bucks.
Those grown-up kids who kept their old toys, whether out of genuine foresight, laziness, or hoarding, might be sitting on a gold mine or two. But how can you know? The answer is… us. We’ve done the hard stuff, scoured the info for the goods on what’s worth something now, and compiled what you need to know into an easily digestible format for your reading pleasure. Note that all prices assume the thing is still in the original box.
25 Mego Spider-Man, 1974 ($170)
Spider-Man is probably Marvel’s biggest star. There just has to be tons and tons of actions figure versions of him floating around. Here’s one from 1974: an 8’’ figure, put out by Mego. It has a real cloth costume (baggier than it should be) which you can actually take off, revealing a sculpted body in a little blue speedo. In the original box, this guy’s worth $170. But make sure you’re buying one actually in the original costume. Also, Mego actually put out a spider-mobile for this guy to ride around in.
24 ToyBiz X-Men Water Wars Hydro Blast Wolverine ($175)
The X-Men are very high on the list of Marvel heroes in terms of cool factor… all of them. Hence, you will see a lot of them on the list, especially Wolverine, who is one of the coolest X-Men. The guy is more than a hundred years old, does not seem to age, and has claws growing out of his hand. He’s pretty cool. But look at this: someone gave him a water blaster! Except, no, this is actually just a dart gun. No water action at all. So this is only worth $175.
23 ToyBiz Wolverine With Light-Up Weapon ($180)
Here’s another bizarro incarnation of Wolverine. It’s supposed to be a “stealth outfit,” but it just looks kinda weird to us… and he sort of stole Hawkeye’s look here, didn’t he? Again he has some big weapon that he really doesn’t need, and he also looks kind of angry. Mouths are not supposed to stretch that much I don’t think, and someone worked really hard to make sure we can make out every blood vessel that’s about to burst. This was repainted to have your standard Wolverine colors later, but this original version is worth about $180.
22 X-Men Canadian 4-Pack ($194)
X-Men were and are just as popular in Canada as in the States but Canada is slightly different than America—we’ve got Quebec, which means that everything has to be in French too. And that means there are rarer versions of a lot of stuff Americans got but with bilingual packaging. It’s a package set of four X-men: you’ve got Weapon X Wolverine, Omega Red, Iceman, and Apocalypse. If they’re still in the cardboard box they came in, these guys will get you $194 on the market… yes, just because of the French.
21 Kane ($200)
We can forgive you for asking who Kane is. He, alongside the significantly more famous Deadpool, was turned into a cyborg as part of the Weapon X project. Deadpool, now a celebrity, got regenerative powers, whereas Kane got weird looking robotic arms and then everyone forgot about him. His special ability is, well… he has really strong arms. This action figure looks kinda lame too. Even the packaging has to use air quotes to talk about his “weapon.” Nevertheless, he’s worth a couple hundred dollars on the market, which makes this silly thing more than worth taking notice of.
20 ToyBiz Cyclops ($250)
Although they are now legion, there were actually originally only five X-Men, and Cyclops was one of them. The very first, according to his fictional bio... taken in as an orphan by Dr. X himself. He later split off from the pack and formed part of the X Factor, but that's another story. For this action figure, Cyclops is billed as a member of his original team. His toy is from 1991, and is a lot cooler than some of the weird ones we’ve already seen: it even comes with a trading card! It’s on the market for about $250.
19 ToyBiz X-Men The Evil Mutants: Sabertooth, 1993 ($328)
Someone decided that we needed another feral animal member of the X-Men even though we already had Wolverine, so, thus, Sabertooth. Here’s the action figure: it has “snarl & swipe action,” apparently. So maybe it's not actually too exciting, but this thing is actually pretty valuable, going for $328 on the market, which almost makes up for not being as cool as Wolverine. But, hey, he’s in the X-Men, which is pretty darn cool without needing to anything more, right? Well, okay, there’s a lot of them and many of them are forgettable… but he tries.
18 ToyBiz X-Men The Evil Mutants: Omega Red ($341)
Omega Red is the Cold War’s anti-Steve Rogers. Red was a piece of work, to begin with, and then taken in by the Russian government and given the same super soldier serum that made Captain America. He lives only by sucking the life out others with his giant metal tentacles. This is actually pretty cool, so of course you want an action figure version of him, and of course, you want to pay $341, which is what this particular figurine of him (with “whipping tendril weapons!”) is worth. You also get a trading card.
17 ToyBiz X-Men Battle Blasters Wolverine ($348)
Wolverine already has claws, but for some reason, people still like to give him redundant weapons. Here he is with what is called a “battle blaster.” The name is unimaginative, the toy doesn’t even really look like Wolverine, but, hey, it's worth something. $348, to be exact, which is definitely going to outweigh any possible sentimental value this thing has—unless it happened to be your favorite toy as a kid, which it wasn’t, it really wasn’t. I don’t think anyone who’s ever had this toy would consider keeping it.
16 Marvel Legends Series VI Deadpool ($400)
Deadpool has quite recently gone from being relatively obscure to being one of the biggest stars on the planet. And Marvel Legends action figures are incredibly sought after anyway, so a Deadpool ML is really good, right? Right. This Series VI Deadpool was, as of 2015 at least, the most valuable Marvel Legends figurine around, worth about $400 then and probably more now. I mean, that was before the movie even came out. It comes with a 32-page comic book and a little green guy that I can’t immediately identify.
15 San Diego Comic Con Lego Symbiote Spiderman, 2012 ($430)
LEGO is always a gold-mine for collectibles, since they put out so many tie-ins and so many once-in-a-lifetime special editions. They’re so tiny and, well, meant to come apart, so thus easy to lose at least part of. Particularly prized in the world of comic books are the LEGOs obtained at the San Diego Comic-Con each year for a while now, and there will thus be a lot of them on this list. Here we have Symbiote Spiderman, from 2012. Not an especially detailed design but looks cool, and he’s also worth about $430.
14 ToyBiz X-Men The Evil Mutants: Deadpool, 1992 ($500)
Yes, Deadpool used to be associated with the X-Men back in the day, and here he is in association with that franchise: one of the “bad mutants” way back in 1992. This is actually his very first action figure, and he gets a couple of sweet swords and a “spring out dagger” too. This is one of the more awesome action figures on the list and is especially valuable now thanks to the cinematic success of the subject, and is going for about half a grand these days. That is, of course, only if he’s remained unopened.
13 San Diego Comic Con Lego Phoenix, 2012 ($500)
At last, a female presence on the list! The Phoenix (real name Jean Grey, also sometimes known as Marvel Girl or Dark Phoenix) is yet another member of the X-Men, and another one of the original pack from ’63, which kind of makes the “men” part of the name a misnomer. She is a mutant with telepathic powers, pretty darn cool, and here she is in LEGO form—again from San Diego Comic Con and again from 2012. She had removable hair and two different heads, for different expressions. She goes for up to a reasonably impressive $500 on eBay.
12 San Diego Comic Con Lego Collector, 2013 ($550)
The original comic book Guardians of the Galaxy series was darker than the recent movies, taking in elements of the Marvel Universe that go way, way back. One of these elements is the Collector, who first appeared in the Avengers #28 in 1966, before Chris Pratt was even born. The Collector is an immortal who goes around the universe, well, collecting various interesting stuff. And if he was reading this list and wanted a LEGO version of himself, he would find out that he could get such a thing, from the 2013 San Diego Comic Con, for about $550.
11 Special Collector's Edition Rogue ($600)
Rogue is another member of the X-Men, one with the power to absorb the emotions, memories, and powers of anyone she touches. Often considering her power to be a curse, she is a dark, emotionally complex character, which you’d never realize by looking at this toy—which seems, for all intents and purposes, to be a Barbie doll. Rogue is standing there with an uncharacteristically vacuous expression and, whereas the boys all get weapons, Rogue gets a change of clothes. This confused specimen is selling for $600 or more online.
10 San Diego Comic Con Sam Wilson Cap, 2015 ($895)
The most famous Cap is, of course, Steve Rogers, an average kind of guy who got sand kicked in his face until given a special serum that made him super strong and stuff. Then, recently, one thing led to another and he got replaced by Sam Wilson here—previously around for quite awhile actually as the Falcon. And although he is no longer Cap—due to some more crazy stuff happening—this Lego is still pretty cool and well done, with a shield and alternate heads too. It was going for $895 online as of our sources.
9 ToyBiz Video Game Super Stars Presents X-Men Vs Street Fighter: Gambit & Zangief ($1,000)
We’re not actually sure went wrong here, or how this happened. This release is based on the X-Men vs Street Fighter video game—a crossover beloved of a generation of 90s gamer kids—and claims to contain both Gambit and Zangief. This is, in fact, incorrect: it contains Zangief and Ryu. Oops. Ryu is also unclothed, partially unpainted, and missing part of a leg. Again, not actually clear on how this could happen, but here it is. Obviously, such a screw-up would make this pretty rare, and yes, it is worth a lot: to the tune of upwards of a thousand bucks.
8 "World's Greatest Superhero" Cap ($1,052)
Given the world that we live in, it should be no surprise that the more well-known Cap is worth more than the other one. In particular, The “World’s Greatest Superhero” version of Cap, put out from ’73 to ’82, is nearly as iconic and valuable to collectors as the superhero himself is to the wider culture. Obviously, the different figurines put out at different times are of different values, but all are decently valuable, at least if they’re still in mint condition—the most valuable reaching the impressive dollar figure of $1,052.
7 ToyBiz The Uncanny X-Men: Wolverine ($1,062)
Wolverine, once again. This time, at least, he’s done fairly faithfully to his classic style, in blue, black, and yellow… except they still felt the need to add what are termed “spring-out slashing claws!” Yes, Wolverine is supposed to have claws, these are claws that successfully manage to look absolutely wrong. It looks like someone rammed garden implements into the backs of his hands or something. At least they got the costume right, which is hard to do to judge by. So, all taken into account, this thing goes for about $1,062 (or more) on eBay.
6 Funko Pop Metallic Spider-Man, 2011 ($1,200)
Funko is pretty cool: they make these awesome, cute little figurines based on any pop culture franchise you can imagine. So, of course, they do Marvel superheroes. There are a few Marvel/Funko creations that are worth something, but this one is especially: it’s a metallic Spider-Man from 2011, and another San Diego Comic Con exclusive. It’s cool, it’s shiny, it's adorable, it’s Spider-Man. Prices average out at around a grand and go up to $1,200. That’s a lotta bucks for a little spider-guy: you’d think the metal he’s made of must be solid gold.
5 Mego World's Greatest Superhero Spider-Man ($1,431)
Spider-Man is the other famous name who can claim to have been in every release of Mego's "World's Greatest Superhero" line, other than Cap... and, yes, he is more valuable, as you might have guessed from his place on this list. He is similar to the Spidey who starts the list, released by the same people, after all, but is much more expensive (much more!) at $1,431 rather than $170. This here is an example of how minute changes in detail can change something's value quite drastically, at least in the world of collectible toys.
4 Toy Fair 2012 Lego Captain America & Iron Man ($1,500)
We’ve seen a few pairs of superheroes on this list, but these guys are especially valuable because they are prototypes, not for regular distribution, which are based on their appearance comics rather than the movie costumes, which hadn’t been finalized yet. Iron Man also comes with an actual, removable helmet with a working visor piece—a rarity in the world of Legos, where these are usually just painted on. Have these bad boys with the original bags they came in, plus the toy fair pass that you would have needed to even see them, and you’re looking at $1,500 for the pair.
3 San Diego Comic Con Lego Spider-Woman, 2013 ($2,495)
We’re all heard of Spider-Man, but did you know there is also a Spider-Woman? And she, Jessica Drew, is actually a Brit: her father used irradiated spider blood to cure her of an illness, and that appears to have had a similar effect on her as radioactive spider stuff did on the more famous Peter Parker. Here she is in Lego form, once again courtesy of San Diego Comic Con, 2013 this time. This is actually the only Lego Spider-Woman too, which is pretty cool. She’s quite well done and is worth a whopping $2,495 on eBay.
2 San Diego Comic Con Lego Spider-Man, 2013 ($4,295)
Of course, Spider-Man is much more famous, so of course worth a lot more. San Diego Comic Con had a Lego Spider-Man the same year as it did Spider-Woman. There’s some impressive detailing on this little guy, the fabric even pretty much looks like fabric—this is Lego. Naturally, this is impressive and, just as naturally, people who have this are charging top dollar to anyone who wants to obtain it. Top dollar is a four-digit number that starts with a four; top dollar being a steep $4,295. This is Lego!
1 X-Men Sentinel Maquette ($5,024)
The biggest priced figure on this list is, fittingly, attached to what is also literally the biggest figure on the list. Behold Sentinel, one of the X-Men’s various arch-nemeses, as released by Sideshow Collectables. Enormous by action figure standards, standing at 32 inches. A special edition that was already going for nine hundred bucks when new, it is naturally much more expensive now. It is extremely well made—has working lights in it too—apart from being rare, and has multiple exchangeable heads, which seems to always be a plus… so, yeah, it’s easily the priciest thing on this list. $5,024, actually.