What are He-Man Toys?
Masters of the Universe (sometimes called the He-Man or She-Ra series) is a sword and planet-themed media franchise created by Mattel. The main premise revolves around the conflict between He-Man (Prince Adam’s alter ego) and Skeletor on the planet Eternia, with a huge cast of supporting characters in a hybrid setting of medieval sword and sorcery and his sci-fi technology.
Follow-up series, She-Ra: Princess of Power revolves around her He-Man sister She-Ra and her rebellion against her Horde on the planet Etheria. Since its initial inception, the franchise has featured multiple action figures, six animated television series, multiple comic book series, video games, books and magazines, daily comic strips, and two feature films (one of which has been animated and one is live-action).
“The Most Powerful Man in the Universe,” He-Man was only brought to life after Mattel rejected the much more famous line of action figures. In 1976, Mattel CEO Ray Wagner declined a Star Wars offer after seeing a $750,000 license fee.
Instead, Mattel created a rivalry for children’s hearts and pocket money. He-Man was a huge hit, spawning comics, TV shows, movies, and even literary analysis. Here are some of the He-Man line’s most prized vintage toys.
Why were He-Man Toys Popular in the 80s?
For American kids growing up in the 1980s, He-Man was like an action figure they had never seen before. With knees bent and arms bent, He-Man and his allies gear up for the Masters of the Universe (MOTU) to defend themselves against the nefarious minions of their nemesis Skeletor.
For a while, He-Man was truly the master of the toy world, selling better than Mattel’s all-time favorite, even more than Barbie, but a business failure put MOTU sales on his heels in 1986. From his $400 million in the following year he plummeted to $7 million. What Skeletor failed to achieve is what corporate mismanagement did in months. He-Man was practically dead.
Despite its huge impact on his culture today, He-Man has longed for a proper send-off ever since. Just as Barbie dolls defined the impossible ideal of feminine beauty, the fluffy action figure represents a similar caricature of masculinity.
In the early ’80s, most actors had the physique of a typical homeroom teacher. Only Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone had the gargantuan physique of a bodybuilder. Stars like Maguire and Tom Cruise dominate the A-list. Even Star Wars characters got steroid injections where they were once tiny, stiff and ready for a nap.
Mastering the Universe feels like a magazine article bloated to the size of a book. From its origins as a toy soldier to its current incarnation, the never-ending chapters detail the story of the action figure, while also shedding light on the destinies of the companies and inventors behind it. Ultimately, Sweet may have invented He-Man, but this book does little to convince anyone of it. As for He-Man, he’s still waiting for that farewell party.
What is the value of He-Man Toys Today?
In April 2022, an avid fan purchased a 1986 Scare Glow toy for $2,200. In the comics, this character comes from another dimension and carries out the evil bidding of He-Man’s nemesis, the Skeletor.
Preserving your toys can have a big impact on their value on eBay. The seller has added a few notes about features that may affect the value of the vintage He-Man toy.
A collector purchased a rare late 80’s He-Man for $3,500 in May 2022. At the Buenos Aires-based distributor, this toy was made far from the brand’s American headquarters, unlike other vintage models, and instead made by the company’s top toys in Argentina.
Most of the He-Man and Masters of the Universe toys sold worldwide were made in Mattel’s factories in Malaysia and Taiwan. But Mattel also worked with companies from India, Brazil and Japan to create this famous face.
The Wonder Bread He-Man is a misnomer. Wonder Bread and He-Man ran a short-lived merchandising in 1986, wherein enthusiasts should win buying and selling cards – however no motion figures. However, in 1983, Mattel supplied an unrelated purchase 3, get 1 loose deal, in which enthusiasts had been mailed an unusually misshapen He-Man toy with more than one random accessory. Due to current confusion among the 2 deals, this toy is now broadly referred to as the Wonder Bread He-Man.
One such toy drew fifty five bids on eBay.com returned in May 2022, with the winner offering $2,650 for the prized item.
What are the Most Expensive He-Man Toys Today?
Megator is a green giant, but unlike Tytus, he is an enemy of He-Man and his allies. He is at war with Eternia during He-Ro’s time. This toy was only released in Europe in the late 80’s.
Despite being a little-known figure in the toy world, Megator can make a good amount of money on his eBay. Dubbed the “Evil Giant Destroyer,” this figure sold for a whopping $7,400 in April 2022.
He-Man’s first prototype was a Big Jim figure covered in clay and designed to look like a “barbarian”. His first He-Man toys hit stores in 1981, and these action figures have become one of his most popular models.
In May 2022, one such He-Man appeared on eBay.com where he received 67 bids and in the end he was sold for $4,561. This toy was of particular value because it had never been opened.
Laser Light Skeletor
One of the most valuable Masters of the Universe action figures, Laser Light Skelter was released only in Italy, Switzerland and Spain in the 80’s. His eyes and right hand have his LEDs, which are triggered when he raises his arm.
His 1988 model of this prized toy sold for $2,467.15 in Australia in June 2022. The Spanish version of this toy came with a miniature catalog of the Masters of the Universe series.
Perhaps the most vibrant Masters of the Universe character, Faker is a turquoise Superman with bright orange accessories. He is He-Man’s evil alter ego, created to serve the evil Skeletor. Confusingly, Faker looks exactly like his He-Man in his TV anime series, but with different glowing eyes and voice.
Faker is one of his earliest toys in the series, and in 1982 he was released with the same armor as Skeletor. Newer versions of the Faker, released in 1987, are especially popular with collectors. An unopened 1980s counterfeit sold for $1,795 in April 2022.