Grading Vintage Action Figures

How to grade vintage action figures

Vintage action figures are prized by collectors as these items connect them to the origin of the brand. These vintage figures are often rare and are in a wide range of conditions. The most discriminating collectors insist on clear and accurate definitions of the condition of vintage action figures. Grades have been established to help define a common vocabulary shorthand to communicate the condition of vintage action figures.

DASH recommends that you review the Action Figure Grading and Valuation Guidelines. In this document, you will become acquainted with the leading self-grading guidelines for packaged action figures, as well as the leading third-party grading service.

Vintage action figures are generally ones produced before 1991. Some of the most popular brands for vintage action figure collectors are Mego, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, and Captain Action. These brands dominate the list of most valuable and sought after action figures.

The value of vintage figures is a combination of the figure’s popularity and rarity. With the exception of collectors pursuing the goal of getting a complete set, perhaps the most important determinant of the value of a vintage figure is its overall popularity. With regard to rarity, the most important factor influencing rarity is production. Manufacturers can make even small, simple changes in the production of a figure which will be the major determinant of a figures’ rarity. This rarity can drive up the value.

An example of this is the Mego action figure collectibles. In the 1970’s, Mego produced a large number of action figures, but they also changed things up in the production of their figures quite often. Some figures were packaged on a blister card and some were in a box. Good quality figures on a blister card tend to carry a higher value than the boxed versions, since blister carded figures are harder to keep in good shape over time. Mego also made small changes in the coloration and printing.