The most valuable McFarlane baseball figurines

17 Feb

The most valuable McFarlane baseball figurines are a bit of the old and new with plenty of variations thrown in to keep even an experienced collector a bit off balance. McFarlane entered the world of collectible figurines with their baseball line in 2000, While that initial set was limited to six players and incredibly overproduced and somewhat poor quality, they learned from their mistakes and came back strong with a much deeper lineup and far better quality product. As there are more baseball figurines in the McFarlane family than any other sport, rather jumping around this listing of the most valuable McFarlane figurines will be presented year by year, product line by product line, as they did add in some special series along the way.

2002 was the first year McFarlane produced a figurine that attained any significant value which carries a current market value of $160 which is the Roger Clemens #185. The draw for this has been that it is was “retro” release that depicted Clemens as a member of the Red Sox rather than the Yankees which was his employer at that time. This item did hold a higher value for a couple of years but slowly slid to its current value in the wake of Clemens alleged performance enhancing scandal.

The 2003 series holds two key pieces of increased value. The first is another retro-release which is the Barry Bonds figurine depicting him as a slimmer and trimmer member of the Pirates stamped #104 carrying a value of $120. Like Clemens, this took a bit of a beating in the price guide even as Bonds was on his way to making history due to his alleged performance enhancing problems. The second key figurine is the Try Glaus #502 which is valued at $75. Be careful not confuse this with the #500 Glaus as the #502 depicts him with white and red sleeves. it is that small variation which was short printed and makes a huge difference in value.

It must also be added in that in 2003 McFarlane made a special release called “FanFest” which was a one figurine release. Most collectors will never see this Barry Bonds as they stated a run of only 200 pieces to mark the appearance of Bonds in the World Series. It is valued at $825 although there have been plenty of serious collectors offering double that price or more for one in pristine condition.

McFarlane seemingly overproduced their product and picked many of the wrong players for their annual lineup until 2006. Between 2003-2006 they made some figurines which were popular, but they never really attained a high value. In fact, only the 2004 #51 Nolan Ryan even made it to a book value of $35. The reason that is mentioned however is because the Ryan is much tougher to find than it’s price reflects and is a worthwhile purchase even at $45 if you can locate one in near mint or better condition.

The 2006 McFarlane Cooperstown Collection which is their line to highlight Hall of Fame players gave us the #10 Mickey Mantle. Price guides value this at $40, but collectors regularly shell out $60 or more for this, even on eBay. This even outsells the matching babe Ruth released in the same series, which is in part due to some widespread speculation that the Mantle is a short print.

The 2006 FanFest collection also marked the honoring of Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente. While each is nice, it is the #21 Stargell that holds value hovering in the range of $50 -$60 for a mint condition piece. Be careful when shopping for this as this is a variation of the #20 Stargell. Look for Willie in a yellow jersey and you will get the more valuable variation which is anywhere from double to triple the value of the regular release.

In 2007 McFarlane seemingly got their act together again and regular release figurines began showing some hefty prices almost immediately. The #121 Mariano Rivera variation that comes with the full bullpen immediately shot up to $45 and has held steady ever since. In the New York area you can expect to get in the neighborhood of $75 for this where Rivera is at his peak of popularity. The #130 Justin Verlander slowly worked its way up to $45 but is thought to perhaps be the key piece in the set and the best long term buy as this is his “McFarlane Rookie” piece. The most valuable piece in this issue however is the #261 Albert Pujols in the white All-Star jersey valued at $80. The Pujols is a variation so make sure you get the All-Star jersey and not the gray or regular white jersey versions which are only worth about $20.

The 2007 FanFest release included Reggie Jackson ($40) and Barry Bonds ($55) with no variations of either known to exist. While each is a popular player and quantities of this run were limited, the Bonds was reportedly a short print. The Jackson is still the more popular piece, but the availability of the Bonds is significantly lower at hobby shows .

The 2008 Regular release series may as well be called the Jeter release because nothing else has risen significantly yet aside from the Yankee Captain. His figures numbered 201 and 202 both went straight to $40 and have held steady. The difference between the two figues is the appearance of the NY logo, but to collectors it makes little difference which one they get. Neither has been reported as a short print and both appear equally available. In New York and Michigan (Jeter’s home state) as well as Florida (Where Jeter resides) the values go up slightly on each version. The #101 Nomar Garciapara retro-release as a Red Sox player briefly spiked to $40 on the rumors it was a short print, but slowly slid as that was never verified and plenty seem to be available for anyone that wants them.

In 2009 the only major piece to hit the market has been Jackie Robinson Day 3-Pack. This is a triple figurine issue which includes Jackie Robinson, Robinson Cano, and Ken Griffey Jr. It is currently valued at $50 but due to the inclusion of a Robinson figurine and Griifey Jr. as well it is expected this will steadily appreciate over the years. In some areas this is already selling with ease around $65.

The key points to remember when collecting McFarlane figurines are condition and getting the right variation when appropriate. Opened packages make these nearly worthless. Likewise packages with stickers/sticker glue, creases/dents to the plastic, or that are missing the McFarlane hologram logo (the only acceptable sticker on the package) are worth less. Pay attention and comb the auction sites like eBay and you can often find these offered by people not realizing what they have for far under book value.

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