Check Your Old Action Figures — They Might Be Worth Something

What are some of the most valuable action figures? You can make good money selling vintage Barbies, G.I. Joes, and Star Wars action figures.


Apr. 14 2023, Published 10:04 a.m. ET

As a kid, you couldn’t wait to play with your toys and action figures. You never thought about their worth. On your birthday, you’d tear open the package to touch Barbie’s hair or pretend to be She-Ra and He-Man fighting evil.

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But one day Barbie got a haircut and your siblings melted Star Wars figures with a magnifying glass under the summer sun.

Now when you visit your childhood home, you look through your toy collection, hoping to find one of the most valuable action figures. Keep reading for all the details on the most valuable action figures.

What makes an action figure valuable?

Before we dive into the most valuable action figures, let's see what increases the value.

Rarity: Since hard-to-find items are more valuable to collectors, a limited-edition action figure, one that was part of a limited-run series or created exclusively for an event, collaborations, or store can be more valuable.

Popularity: Demand also impacts value. Popular characters or franchises with a large fan base can produce valuable action figures, especially it's from a specific time in the franchise.

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Nostalgia: Vintage action figures or ones that evoke nostalgia can be more valuable.

Condition: A figure that's unopened, in the original box, or in brand-new or like-new condition commands more money.

Quality: Craftsmanship, detail, and materials can also determine its value.

Significance: Figures that hold special significance within a franchise or represent an important milestone can be more valuable.

  • Brand: The reputation and prestige of the manufacturer or brand can also impact its value.

  • What are the most valuable action figures of all time?

    Woman looking at Star Wars toys and action figures in a store
    Source: Getty Images
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    8. 2007 LEGO Solid Gold C3PO ($15,000)

    In 2007, LEGO released just five solid gold C-3POs and since they're so rare, they're worth as much as $15,000. Made of real gold, LEGO created them for a competition in an issue of LEGO magazine that year.

    7. 1959 Vintage Barbie ($23,000)

    Although she isn't exactly an action figure, vintage Barbies from 1959 to 1960 are fetching up to $23,000 on the resale market. If you have the 1959 blonde Barbie wearing a black- and white-striped swimsuit, sunglasses, and high heels, you're sitting on a goldmine.

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    6. 1978 Star Wars Luke Skywalker with Double-Telescoping Lightsaber ($25,000)

    After realizing it was too pricey to make a double-telescoping lightsaber as opposed to single, production was halted. Since there are only 20 of these double-telescoping action figures in existence, they're fetching top dollar on auction and resale. Plus, Star Wars fanatics knows Luke's lightsaber was blue, not yellow!

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    5. 1978 Star Wars Jawa with Vinyl Cape ($28,000)

    The early release of the Jawa action figure featured a vinyl cape rather than a cloth cape. In mint condition, the original version of the Vinyl Cape Jawa is a worth tens of thousands and it's a total collectors item.

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    4. 1978 Stars Wars Darth Vader with Telescoping Lightsaber ($55,000)

    Just like the double-telescoping mistake with Luke Skywalker, this very rare Darth Vader toy had the same design issues since he didn't have a purple lightsaber or a telescoping gizmo and that’s why it’s fetching top dollar on the resale market.

    3. 1977 Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi with Double-Telescoping Lightsaber ($65,000)

    A manufacturing mistake, this Obi Wan Kenobi with a yellow double-telescoping lightsaber and two blades is very valuable because it's a once-in-a-lifetime action figure and the lightsaber was actually blue.

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    2. 1963 G.I. Joe Action Figure Prototype ($200,000)

    When Hasbro released the first G.I. Joe action figure 1964, it became one of the most popular toys ever. But in 1963, Hasbro introduced the world to the first G.I. Joe toy handmade Don Levine and it became the template for the toys.

    1. 1979 Star Wars Rocket-Firing Boba Fett ($204,435)

    A mysterious bounty hunter from a galaxy far away, this rare Boba Fett action figure features two detachable accessories. The toy was never mass produced and there are only 30 versions of this toy around today.

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    It's important to maintain the condition of your action figures.

    To maintain the condition of your action figures, you should:

    • Store in a cool, dry place: Don't expose them to direct sunlight, heat or humidity as it can cause discoloration, warping, mold, and damage.
    • Display smartly: Use a glass display case or UV-protective case and keep them on a shelf.
    • Keep original packaging: To add value, be sure to keep it in the original packaging and store it a protective sleeve or storage box.
    • Avoid smoke and pollutants: They can discolor figures and leave residue.
    • Rotate displays: For larger collections, rotate the figures to minimize exposure to sunlight and environmental factors.
    • Store loose figures: For action figures not on display, store them in a plastic bag, container, or in an special action figure case to prevent paint transfer and damage.
    • Keep inventory: Maintain a list and include any unique features, accessories and packaging.
    • Stay informed: Keep up to date on industry news and trends to make decisions about the value of your collection.
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