Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rarest or Most Difficult to Find MMM Collectibles

Occasionally I get into conversations with other collectors where we talk about what we need (meaning that one elusive OSS set to complete a series or whatever) and I almost always refer back to either eBay sales or who has what. I thought I would produce a list of what is really rare and desirable, and what isn't. For structure, I'll divide the list into Mattel Production packages and Everything Else. I'll also qualify each with how many I've recently seen sell or know the existence of in collections. Note that rarity doesn't necessarily equate to value (some things are super rare but because the demand is low the prices aren't reflective, while other things are scarce but because the demand is high, garner a higher price). Also for most of the items I'm referring to OSS examples (Ringbinder, Wallet and Lunch Box are loose).

Mattel Production Stock (Stock #, Item and Number I know in the hands of collectors):
Everything Else
  • Stand-up Store Displays (at least 3 different)
  • 4426 Major Matt Mason Boxed Round Jigsaw Puzzle (sealed - I know of only one that's sealed on 3 sides)
  • Mattel Club Kits (either the MAC or earlier kit) - the Iron-on and vinyl wallet are fairly common - the MMM portrait, pin and hat are scarce if not rare.
  • Mattel 1967 Toy Fair Catalog (6) (German version even rarer)
  • Topolino (Italian) with MMM Comic Strip (scarce)
  • European Poster (Comic Book Promo)
  • Prototype Figures (6 MMM, bits and pieces of others)
  • Other Prototypes (?)

As usual, if you have one of these and want it to be counted - drop me a line and I'll update the list. As mentioned before, rarity does not indicate relative value.

-- John

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Recent Significant eBay Sales

There have been two recent purchases that stand out in my mind - one was for a loose but intact and working Moon Suit and the other was for a rare, XRG-1 with Major Matt Mason set.

Major Matt Mason Moon Suit Working! Space Toy 1966
eBay Auction #180115322590
Winning Bid: $104.05
End Date: May-15-07 17:30:01 PDT

Description:
Here is Major Matt Mason space toy Moon Suit from 1966 with plunger. After all these years (40) the arms still expand when plunger is pressed. Original Toy with original arms. You will not be disapointed!

Please see photos for evaluation. In the second photo I am pressing the plunger when I took the picture to show this is the real deal. Excellent condition with no broken parts.

Photos:



I remember another, similar example selling for $250 a couple of years ago. I think it's interesting that for much less, one could buy one of Joe Sakora's excelent reproductions and a moonsuit shell to have a working example, with none the wiser plus the reproduction is virtually indistinguishable from the original. I'm not sure, however if Joe is still selling the repro arms, so the sale price of this one may be quite justified.

Major Matt Mason with XRG-1 Reentry Glider
eBay Auction #270111479100
Winning Bid: $3,150.00
End Date: Apr-28-07 16:27:04 PDT

Description:
Major Matt Mason and XRG-1 Reentry Glider stock # 6361 attached to card, blister bubble were Mason Matt was is missing, card is a little worn and dented in some spots otherwise in great shape for its rarity. All parts are still there including the Glider canopy. The stickers attached to the glidder are a little wrinkled and worn in some areas, Mason Matt 's white and black out fit has turned gray from time, but could easly be cleaned.

I have a couple more pictures of the back of the card i forgot to add, and I'm not sure how to add them now, so if you would like to see them I'd be more then happy to send them to you. Also this product is from mattel Canada so there is English and French writting on it. I will not end this auction early so please do not ask! Thank you.

Photos:



My Comments:

Besides being an extremely rare packaged set (the only OSS example I know of is owned by collector Alec Peters), this Canadian variation is virtually unheard of (it has both English and French writing, indicating it was for the Canadian market).

Another recent event worth mentioning - there's a seller (goldentreasures-nyc) who apparently found a batch of OSS Whitman 4559 Major Matt Mason Frame-Tray Puzzles: http://www.wildtoys.com/MMMPage/MMMmisc/MMMWhitman/Frametraypuzzle.jpg

These are still sealed and well worth the purchase - they starting off selling in the $130 range but have gone down to the $50-60 now that demand has lessened - still a deal by anyone's standard with an OSS puzzle approaching the value of a loose one.

-- Best, John

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Origins of Major Matt Mason

I've recently been asked about the origin of the title and name, Major Matt Mason. As far as I can tell, it ostensibly comes from "Matty" Mattel - the original kid mascot that was once part of the 60's Mattel logo (at least it makes sense for the "Matt" part of the name) - however if you take a deeper delve, the name "Mattel" was created as a contraction of the two business partners who founded the company in 1945, Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler (hence the name "matt-el"). So I'm of the opinion that the name came as a slightly modified "Matt" Matson in homage to Harold. I'm not sure if Harold was ever a Major - I think the "Major" as part of the name and toy line just sounded good with all the alliteration going on - and that was carried forward with Sgt Storm and Doug Davis (but for some reason was dropped with Jeff Long).

Speaking of Doug Davis, if you look closely you'll notice a resemblance of his head sculpt to Barbie's boyfriend, Ken as he appeared in the late 60's early 70's - it was probably easier to scale down the Ken sculpt instead of creating a new head from scratch and was actually a pretty common practice (look at the Marx heads and you'll see what I mean). Next I plan to start talking a bit about significant eBay sales records on MMM toys.

-- Best, John