Major Matt Mason Toy Values

There is always a lot of rhetoric and controversy on the MMM distribution lists about the actual value of Major Matt Mason toys. I have always avoided the issue on my site, as I wanted to remain neutral. I have always tried to be fair about the pricing of items that I sell, and I am also very particular about the amount I'm willing to pay for MMM items. This is not to say that I won't pay high prices for unique and rare items. Some items are so rare that they belong to a category by themselves, when it comes to value and worth. An example of this is the Gulf Promotional carded Major Matt Mason.

Still, I'm constantly asked my opinion about the value of MMM items, so I've created this area to provide some information. I've included links below to various online and paper-published pricing guides. I also intend to create a spreadsheet indicating the actual sale price of items, culled from my files, eBay and the records of others. I'll include notes and descriptions, as well as my observations, to cut through the murk. My advice to new collectors: Do your research, wait for the right opportunity, and be patient. This stuff is out there.

Online Guides:

There are currently two online Pricing Guides (both appear to be defunct):
  • Don West's Major Matt Mason Price List
    This is a new list, with values culled from eBay, various Auctionworks StoreFronts and others. Don hopes to include articles from various sources. His List was supposed to be updated frequently, however it seems to have been moved or discontinued.

  • Don Thompson's Big Red Toy Box
    Don T. used to have a nice, concise price list of loose items. It seems he has taken the prices down.
    Don's site is still well worth a (as Don no longer manages the site) offers the most comprehensive list of reproduction and replacement MMM parts.

Printed Price Guides:

The price guides below are by no means the only available. However, I've included these because they offer nice photography, or are more comprehensive than the run-of-the-mill generic price guides you see in antique malls and on sale at eBay.
  • Lee's Action Figure News:
    Has current values of toys. The values given are unreliable (my opinion) and haven't been updated in years. However, this magazine is often referenced by new-toy's worth picking up a copy to know the expectations of dealers at toy shows.

  • Space Toys of the 60's:
    Long-time space collector Jim Gillam has finally published his guide to Space Toys from the 60's. This guide is the most current and accurate published so far and features over 160 full color pages of Major Matt Mason, Colorform Aliens, Zeroids and Star Team. Many of the photos were borrowed from my site back when it was part of Good content here.

  • Tomart's Action Figure Digest:
    Has featured two issues (issue #2 and issue #31) with detailed photos, descriptions and prices. Prices are now outdated and should not be used as a guide (my opinion). However, the information is good to have, and the photos are exceptional (most were contributed by Keith Meyer). Tomart's also has a web site here, where you can purchase back-issues.

  • Tomart's Encyclopedia of Action Figures Vol. 2:
    Volume 2 of a 3 volume set, currently back in print (?). Basically, this is a reprint of the two issues of Tomart's Action Figure Digest that feature MMM articles and prices. The prices have not been changed since the publication of the Magazine back issues, so once again the pricing is unreliable. You can buy the single volume without buying the other two, but I highly recommend this set as a general toy reference. Many of the photos were contributed by Keith Meyer.

  • Toyfair Magazine:
    The guys at Wizard try hard, I'll have to admit, but the prices are way off the mark. They apparently are just copying the prices out of Tomart's. You'd think that with eBay the toy guide magazines would do a little research and figure out what the averages are. Wishful thinking!

My Unsolicited Opinion about eBay:

eBay is absolutely a fair measure of the value of Major Matt Mason items. Nowhere else are you going to find such a large group of MMM collectors competing for the same items. All marketplaces are determined by supply vs. demand principles...the tougher the item is to find and the more people who want it, the higher the selling price is going to be. As with any living marketplace, the value is going to fluctuate, determined by many factors...everything from current stock-market conditions, time of the year and current number of savvy collectors looking to fill out their collections at any given time.

eBay is the perfect place to get a fair measure of the value of a collectible. Most price guides are written either by someone who is looking for the item (so everything is undervalued) or someone who already has the item (so everything is overvalued)! Ultimately, whatever an item sells for is what it is worth. If you can find a figure for $5 in your area, you are lucky. The seller is not educated in the going rate for this stuff, and obviously does not know the going rate on eBay, or he/she wouldn't have sold it so cheap. If you consistently find the same items in your area for $5, then this is what it's worth in your area. It could be worth far more somewhere else...this is the beauty of opens up the Marketplace to people who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to get that $5 item at all, who would have paid $100 for the same item in their own region because of scarcity. Suddenly it is available and well worth the $61.50, with or without helmet. Note that when I write about eBay pricing, it's in reference to completed sales - there's often a lot for sale with crazy, unrealistic pricing (you'll quickly figure those out as they will be listed over-and-over without a bid or buy).

If you're willing to pay a lot, especially to get your collection jump-started, then the items are worth what you are paying for them. On the other hand, if you are patient, you can often find deals on this stuff. The problem most collectors have, is that they don't have the patience to do the research to figure out average values of collectibles. They rely too much on price guides and ask dealers about the value of an item. A dealer is almost never going to give you an honest opinion about a collectible...he's either in the market to buy it from you or in the market to sell you one...either way, the value/price is going to affect his/her opinion.

This is why eBay is so good for collectors like ourselves. It's the great equalizer...not only is stuff available that you may never see, but in most cases the stuff goes for what it's worth. When something goes for an exorbitant amount, it's either because it is legitimately rare and worth it, or because a couple of newbies are bidding against each other to ridiculous heights. In either case, the item is worth a crazy price to those who are bidding, or they wouldn't be bidding! Experienced collectors stay to the sidelines and watch in awe as an item goes for 10 x its value or more. Next month, the common item will be on eBay and they'll be able to buy it for a fraction. My advice to newcomers has always been to be patient...the stuff will eventually come around.

The idea that stuff on eBay sells for more than it is worth is absurd. Sure, an occasional item goes for stupid money, but the other 95% of the time items sell for around what they're worth. Look at the average sell price, and your data becomes relevant. The people who complain the loudest about eBay generally either can't afford or are unwilling to pay what the stuff is worth. If you think you can find that Astro Trac Missile Convoy set at the neighborhood tag sale for $'re nuts. The people who complain the loudest will never own one.

All Mattel images and captions are copyright Mattel and used without permission. All other content, including images and editorial, is Copyright © 1997-2024 John Eaton and/or contributors unless otherwise stated. If there are any comments or objections, please contact John Eaton.

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