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90’s TMNT Memorabilia: Junk or Not Junk?

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If your house is filled with your old toys, you might be asking yourself if some are worth keeping instead of throwing out. Although many toys become collector’s items with time, there are others that simply aren’t worth hanging on to.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) was a popular cartoon series and toy product line in the 1990’s. They’ve seen a resurgence in popularity today, including a new feature film.

Knowing whether your TMNT memorabilia is junk or not junk will ensure that you’re only tossing your invaluable out with a junk removal service and that hang on to what’s truly valuable.

Success of the Turtles

Like all popular toy characters, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have their own backstory. They are a combination of turtle and man, trained in martial arts, and live underground in New York City.

The characters were part of television series, comic books, and movie. They spend their time fighting crime perpetrated by the villainous characters. In 1986, small action figures appeared on the market. They were manufactured by Dark Horse Miniatures. The following year, Playmates Toys, Inc. debuted their own action figures.

Since then, many of the figures have become popular among collectors. Vintage TMNT action figures and memorabilia can be found through other collectors, specialty retailers, and online sites such as eBay and Amazon.

Playmate Toys, Inc. ended their run of the action figures 10 years later, only to resurrect them in 2003. Those that were made in the years between 1988 and 1997 are considered vintage by toy collectors.

What’s Rare and Valuable?

The vintage TMNT figures will have a variety of features that are unique. Soft heads and plastic bodies are an identifying feature of those figures that were first produced. Because Playtime Toys, Inc. was unsure of how popular their toys would be, they limited their initial production run and saved costs using the softer material.

In addition, only 8 characters were produced in this fashion:

  • 4 Main Turtles
  • Splinter
  • Shredder
  • Bebop
  • Rocksteady

The original packaging included a membership form to the Turtles Fan Club.

In addition, certain characters are considered to be rare and valuable. For example, the character of April O’Neil can be highly sought after if it is a first edition and in mint condition.

Evaluating your TMNT Memorabilia

To determine whether your TMNT memorabilia is junk or not junk, check to see if there are any signs of missing parts or damage. Any items that have been taken out of their original packaging will likely have scratches or discolouration. These will lower the value of your items.

Research various sites online to assess how valuable the figures are to others. See what comparable items are being sold for to determine whether yours should be kept or thrown out.

Although vintage TMNT memorabilia can be valuable to collectors, you want to make sure that yours fits the criteria to be considered vintage. The condition and packaging of your items will also affect their overall value. Use these to help guide you in determining whether your TMNT memorabilia is junk or not junk.

Written September 1, 2014 by Christopher Luciano

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