Rarest or Most Difficult to Find MMM Collectibles

Updated 2024.01.21 (added links to images, updated counts)

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) - in rarity order from observing eBay and private sales since 1997 or so:

Everything Else
  • Mattel Store Displays
    • Mattel Demonstration Unit (the one I have is the only intact one I know about - image of the label above). Updated 2023.08.21 - the remains of one - the terrain part only, surfaced recently in the Facebook group: Scott Dee, Jan 30, 2023 "This was a display at JCPenney which is where I bought most of my toys back in the late 60s and early 70s. My father talk to the manager of the store to let him buy this for five dollars. I took the wooden frame off so I was able to hang it on my wall and display it nice piece. I’ve never seen one anywhere like it one of a kind.  It measures 4’x3’"
    • Captain Lazer Display (cardboard stand-up)
    • Half-MMM-Figure Countertop display (cardboard stand-up - EU only I think - photo in link is to a peel-and-stick copy. Still regret not buying the one Alec Peters owned - believe it went back to Europe)
    • Full-MMM-Figure (cardboard stand-up)
    • Moon Scene (cardboard display sign - there's also a German version)
    • Funny Face Promotion (Cardboard display - WRM Flight card and Barbie mounted) - several variations in the Barbie's hair color
    • Round MAC card (thin cardboard sign - often has a hole where it's been hung from a nail or string)
    • Tabletop carded accessory trays (Flat cardboard trays that hold accessory paks)
  • 4426 Major Matt Mason Boxed Round Jigsaw Puzzle (sealed - I know of only one that's sealed on 3 sides)
  • Mattel Club Kits (the earlier "Major Matt Mason" kit items are much more rare than the MAC "Mattel Astrospace Club" items) - the Iron-on and vinyl wallet are fairly common - the MMM portrait, pin and hat are scarce if not rare. Canadian variants seem to be fairly rare
    • MAC Hat (3 panel flat top cap with yellow leaves on brim - it may be Canadian) (2)
    • MMM Portrait (3)
    • Metal Pin (7)
    • MAC Hat (4 panel with gold leaves on brim) (15 or so, almost all have wear)
  • Mattel 1967 Major MATT MASON Promo Catalog
  • Topolino (Italian) with MMM Comic Strip (scarce)
  • Baravelli Bagatelle (scarce loose and intact, I haven't seen a packaged one)
  • Italian Promo Poster (Comic Book Promo)
  • Prototypes - most are test shots, some are patent samples, others were mocked up for package photography
    • Prototype Figures (6 MMM, bits and pieces of others)
    • Prototype Space Rover (1) 
    • Prototype Packaging (handmade Sgt Storm packaging - 1)
    • Other Prototypes (?)
      • Or test shot (body only - one has appeared)
      • Or (complete, from unused Mattel product photography - one)
      • Orbitor (salesman sample - marked on bottom) with launcher - 1
  • Whitman Paper Items - the original art and scripts were sold when the Western Publishing warehouse was liquidated - these small bundles of artifacts are all unique.
    • MMM Press-Out Book
    • MMM Big Little Book
    • MMM Round Puzzle
    • MMM Frame-Tray Puzzle
    • MMM Coloring Book 

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


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I am totally new to this.

OK, what does "OSS" mean?

John Eaton said...

OSS = "Old Store Stock" - meaning that the toy looks the same as if it was just bought new at the store. This is particularly significant on 60's toys which rarely survived in this condition (stickers still unused on the sheet, all inserts and instruction sheets present, toy still bound to the insert if there are twist ties, etc) and the original box.

Anonymous said...

View your ebay listing: GULF OIL MAJOR MATT MASON MATTEL STOCK 6325 NIB SEALED - 110465426758

this item will start this evening around 6:30 pm and will last 10 days...

happy camper said...

John, shouldn't my Funny Face display with WRM and Barbie be included in this list? It's worth about 10K. How much do the other items on the list go for? Also, I've seen another "perfect" Gulf Oil MMM. From what I'm reading, many serious collectors still think they're fakes. Why are they all so perfect, I wonder. Why is there no record at all of their production? Would you put your stamp on other items that can't be traced back to Mattel?

John Eaton said...

Yes the Funny Face promo should also be included - I've now seen 4 of those and a couple of Flight Cards that have obviously been torn from a display (they're all white rubber MMMs with the top half of the card back torn from the glue)