Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first started as a satirical comic by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird at Mirage Comics in 1984. It was intended to be a one-shot, but due to its popularity, it continued for years. But you may be more familiar with the 1987 TV series, which has almost nothing to do with the comics it’s based on. Whereas the Eastman and Laird comics were graphic in their violence and aimed at an older audience, the cartoon show was 100% kid-friendly and goofy. All future adaptations of the lovable turtle warriors would be based on this incarnation.
Regardless, the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, as they were known in parts of Europe, went on to become a massively popular series. Today, there are countless remakes and re-imagings of the serious with movies, video games, and TV shows, including Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, set to debut this month (at least in the US).
In honor of that show’s debut–or to take your mind off it in case it’s terrible–we thought we’d share with you some of the rarest toys based on the Turtles over the years, and what they’re worth today. Some of these prices just might make you shout kowabunga. They probably won’t because nobody says that, it was just a reference to the ’87 TV show, just go with it.
A quick note: these are just individual toys, not lots or whole collections. These prices are all taken from listings on eBay that have already sold, not random prices sellers are hoping to trick people into spending.
25 Leo’s Jolly Turtle TubBoat – $203
You remember that episode of the TMNT cartoon where Leonardo went off by himself in a sailboat with green sails and 18th-century cannons? No? Well, that’s because it was in the movie. No, kidding, it didn’t exist. That’s something you’ll come to realize about TMNT toys–they often had nothing to do with what they’re based on.
Here, we’ve got Leo on a sailboat, for some reason. This toy is designed to be used in a tub, hence the name. One of these bad boys sold on eBay for the incredible price of $203.50 earlier this year.
24 Toon Turtles Burne – $206
Toon Turtles was an early 1990s line of toys aiming at kids even younger than those who watched the cartoon show. The packaging featured incredibly young, cotton candy, kid-friendly versions of our heroes, and “Toon Turtles” written in rainbow colors.
What better toy for 4-year-olds than one based on Burne Thompson, a loudmouth, hot-headed news editor for Channel 6 News? What kid wouldn’t love an action figure with a burger, their large gut bursting out of their shirt, and toilet papers stuck to the bottom of their shoe? Probably not any that can shell out $206 for it.
23 Turtle Blimp – $379
You may remember that scene from the cartoon, right after Leonardo got back from his bath time boating adventures, that the gang boarded a blimp shaped like a turtle shell that could fire missiles and flew around with a mysterious pilot. No? Oh, well you must not be a real fan, then. That definitely happened.
Luckily, a lucky eBay pursuer was able to buy the pristine ship for just $379. Sewer-dwelling turtles flying around in a blimp shooting missiles. Where do they come up with these toy ideas?
22 Channel 6 News Van – $420.69
If there’s one thing kids love, it's local news. Especially when that news involves news vans with mounted machine guns on top, and a deployable old people scooter with a camera on it. But that might not be quite enough, so in this exclusive toy set, you also get an April O’Neil figure, decked out in camo, so she can drive the gun-toting van with bright decals sneakily.
The best thing about this particular toy is the tagline: “The Radical Rovin’ News-gatherin’ Go-getter!” And yes, it really did sell for $420.69.
21 Michelangelo Cookie Jar – $449
Okay, this isn’t really a toy, but like we’re not going to put a $449 cookie jar on this list. It’s a cookie jar! And somebody spent $449 on it! To be fair, it looks well-constructed and appears to be handmade given the paint job. Apparently, it was made in Korea, quite possibly from the North.
Still, it’s a ceramic turtle that holds cookies that kinda looks like it’s squatting to empty its bowls. Maybe this would make more sense if it were a pizza stone since pizza holds a holy position for the ninjas.
20 Genghis Frog (Tan Belt Variant) – $500
I know there’s no form, no labels to put on, other than the “Tubular Surfin’ Dude,” of course. I get a little bit Genghis Frog, I don’t want you to get your regular black belt, but a unique tan belt.
It’s a frog, called Genghis Frog, and what sets this particular figure apart from others like it is that it has a tan belt. That’s it. That one slight difference makes this figure worth $500 to somebody.
19 Vintage Master Splinter – $506
There’s nothing unique or funny about this Master Splinter toy, it’s just a rare toy that seems to fetch a pretty penny online. One went on eBay for $506, though sadly the original listing has since been taken down.
Maybe this toy is so rare because the manufacturer recalled it for looking like a literal turd. That color and that shape just don’t do Splinter any favors. But hey, he’s got a bow and arrow, that’s cool.
18 Be@rbrick Michelangelo – $514
Be@rbrick is a Japanese line of collectible toy/figures that kind of resemble Lego figures, if Lego figures were sculpted by somebody with no artistic talent whatsoever. These monstrosities feature giant mouse ears, extended craniums, and weird indents in their feet.
Michelangelo didn’t escape the treatment, sadly, and has morphed into some kind of alien. Why on earth anyone would want to spend $514 for one or two of these… things is beyond comprehension.
17 Pizza Thrower Turtle Assault Vehicle – $529
There are obviously a lot of questions involved with this one. Why do the Turtles have a vehicle that throws pizza? How did they build it, and how did they afford it? Why is there a picture of three severed feet on the cannon? Why is one of the topping options whipped cream?
This is a battle tank (for kids aged 4 and up) that shoots pizzas. Interestingly, it requires batteries, so it’s not a wind-up mechanism. Just press the button and watch the plastic pizza disk shoot out at 500mph. And it could be yours for the low, low price of $529!
16 SDCC 2017 Exclusive Box Set – $549
San Diego Comic Con is the biggest comic book convention in the world, and it’s not unusual to hear of companies selling (or even giving away) exclusive merchandise at these events. In 2017, Mirage and Nickelodeon sold exclusive TMNT toys in celebration of the series 30th anniversary.
It was actually a set of figures, of the four Turtles, collected in one box set. These were only given out at SDCC 2017, never seen before or since. As you would expect, this makes them extremely rare, and one went on eBay for $549.
15 Vintage Shredder – $575
Vintage toys based on popular properties are always popular, and occasionally there will be some rare toys as well. In this instance, we have a standard Shredder action figure, which itself isn’t all that rare. What makes this one special though is that it’s in great shape.
Still sealed and locked inside a plastic box, this lump of plastic vaguely shaped like the Turtles main antagonist fetched $575 on eBay for its “near mint plus” condition.
14 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES) – $599
The TMNT arcade games by Konami were popular in the 80s, so it makes sense they’d port the game to home consoles. The second game, appropriately titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, made its way to the NES in 1990.
That year is important for this, because it’s the same year the Super Nintendo was released in Japan, and one year before its release in the United States. This means the game didn’t sell spectacularly, making it somewhat rare today. A mint condition copy recently sold for just under $600.
13 Shogun Shoate – $614
Shogun Shoate is an interesting figure for a few reasons. The first is that he’s only appeared in the comics, there named Chote. The second is that this toy is part of the Shogun Ninja range of toys, which was different from other TMNT toys at the time because… reasons? It’s hard to tell when they’re all ninjas, isn’t it?
Because of these odd qualities, a Shogun Shoate figure sold for $614. Maybe they wanted that sweet “reptilian metalized battle armor” for themselves.
12 Chef Boyardee Shredder – $629
Boy, this is a weird one. At one point in 1991, Chef Boyardee ran a mail order campaign where you could purchase action figures – including Shredder. If you’re “unlucky” enough to not know the name, Chef Boyardee is a canned food product line for kids sort of named after its creator (his name was spelled Boiardi).
Why would a company that specializes in disgusting canned food sell toys? Well, because they thought it would make them money, obviously, but its still weird. It made one eBay seller some money though, like $629.
11 Vintage Soft Head Michelangelo – $692
When Playmates first started making TMNT toys, they only made the main characters. This was because they weren’t sure how popular the line would be at first. Another cost-saving measure was to make their first run toys with rubber heads and plastic bodies, because it’s cheaper. When they realized the toys were popular, they subsequently made the heads out of plastic as well.
This makes the first line of toys super rare, and valuable. A so-called “soft head” Michelangelo sold recently on eBay for $692, showing just how serious collectors are about these tiny differences.
10 Undercover Donatello – $707
It makes sense that the toys would be influenced by individual episodes of the TMNT cartoon, as well as the movies. That’s where Undercover Donatello came from – the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. There’s a scene in it where… Raphael walks around the city at night in a trench coat and fedora. Why the character change?
It’s not the most exciting toy in the world, so you could see why this one might be on the rare side. Rare enough to garner $707, at least.
9 Dreamex Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Raphael – $710
If you think $710 is too much for one figure, then the Dreamex Raphael figure probably isn’t for you. While this figure looks almost identical to one made by Mondo, this one is different. The mold is slightly different, and it comes with different accessories.
But what really makes it rare and valuable is the little text you can see at the bottom of the image: “China market only.” This is a Chinese exclusive figure, making it rare and valuable.
8 Vintage Hot Spot - $730
If you’re a fan of TMNT, you may be wondering who Hot Spot is. He’s one of a handful of characters created specifically for an action figure. Yes, Playmate made up their own characters and slapped the Turtles name on them just so they could sell more toys. That is why we have this frankly abomination of a toy.
It also didn’t last long on the market, because who would buy this? Well, somebody would, because it sold recently on eBay for $730.
7 The Next Mutation Don's Camo Hydro Skimmer – $999
Who remembers that awful 1997 live-action TMNT show called The Next Mutation? I certainly do. It was my first time ever hearing about the Turtles, and for years I always thought there were five turtles, because the show introduced a fourth, a woman called Venus.
Anyway, the show spawned its own toy line, including a camouflage boat and a 100% blue Donatello. The show only lasted a single season, so it’s no wonder its toys were short lived. Despite how terrible the show was, somebody was willing to spend $999 on this thing.
6 Vintage Scratch – $1,375
Scratch the Kat, another original character designed simply to sell lumps of plastic, is known as one of the “holy grails” for TMNT collectors. Again, not being very popular for having nothing to do with the diapsid ninjas, they didn’t last on the market for long. But because of that very reason, it has retroactively become extremely popular with collectors.
This cat in stereotypical prison garb can net as much as $1,357 on eBay – and that’s if you’re lucky enough to find a mint, complete in box one at all.
5 Leo's Katana Sword – $1,499
Leonardo undoubtedly has the coolest weapon of any of the Turtles – a Katana. Of course, since everything with them except the original comics are aimed at kids, he never gets to properly use it, but no matter. Now you too get to have a completely ineffectual weapon with Leo’s Katana Sword!
Once again a toy from The Next Mutation line, this sword could set you back a pretty $1,499. Luckily the eBay description calls it “one of the relaxers TMNT toys ever made,” so that’s nice.
4 Vintage Krang Android Body – $1,599
Krang, the character poorly teaching kids anatomy since 1987, is one of the main antagonists of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. With his android body housing his actual body – a brain with eyes and a mouth – it’s also one of the most bizarre characters in any kids series.
So it should come as no surprise that one of his toys, a vintage Playmates Krang Android Body, is so rare and sought after. A mint condition one sold on eBay recently for the astronomical $1,599.
3 Sewer Playset – $1,599
Another toy that sold for $1,599 on eBay is the Sewer Playset, “a double-decker hangout and hideout for Turtles!” Just the thing to get your child for Christmas this year! And it keeps getting better, the main selling points being a “high voltage battle swing,” a “realistic working elevator,” and little Timmy’s favorite, “realistic sewer pipe passages.”
Who wouldn’t want to shell out that kind of cash? And yes, that was a pun.
2 Technodrome - $3,000
The Technodrome is Krang’s unforgettable main base, mostly because it was just the Death Star on treads with a giant eyeball on top. You may also remember it from the TMNT NES game for how stupidly difficult and unfair it was to fight.
There was also a toy based on it, of course, complete with a million pieces to lose. Because of its size (and all those pieces), it’s no wonder a mint version of one of these would be rare. But is it worth $3,000? Well, it is to somebody.
1 Original 1989 TMNT Konami Arcade Cabinet - $3,300
This isn’t really a toy per say, but it is worth pointing out. Konami’s 1989 TMNT beat-‘em-up is still considered the best game based on the franchise, hence why the NES version of this bad boy goes for so much. But it’s the original arcade game that collectors seek out.
It was once re-released for Xbox Live Arcade, but was pulled due to copyright issues, making it impossible to play today. Unless you stump up for an original cabinet, which one collector did to the tune of $3,300.