The Ten Most Expensive ThunderCats Toys

The Ten Most Expensive ThunderCats Toys

In 1985, Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment introduced audiences to the plight of the ThunderCats and their fight to protect Third Earth. The story of ThunderCats could be traced back to a single dinner between Ted Wolf and his daughter, Janice Wolf, in 1981. The two enjoyed workshopping ideas like superheroes, so they brainstormed the various characters that would later appear in the cartoon. After this dinner, Ted Wolf expanded on the idea, fleshing the characters and story even further, before submitting it to Telepictures Corporation.

As the animated series was taking shape, they understood that toys and other merchandising would secure success. Thus, Rankin/Bass found the perfect partner to create these toys with LJN. Founded in 1970, LJN focused on creating toys and eventually video games for televised and animated series. One of the most influential lines that put the company on the map was for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. They even proved themselves by creating a mostly original toy line, the Rough Riders. Thus, the company was prepared to prove itself once again with a brand-new property.

This collaboration became a huge hit both on television and in the toy aisle. The animated series lasted for four seasons in 1989 with a total of 140 episodes. Likewise, the toy line lasted for several years, though LJN ended production of the toys in 1987. During this time, LJN produced a huge array of toys that have become treasured parts of collections. So, it is no surprise that the rarest toys in mint condition have commanded huge prices.

So, join us as we explore the ten toys that have sold for the highest prices on online auction sites since 2010.

Presenting the Ten Most Expensive ThunderCats Toys from Online Auctions Since 2010

10. Otto Simon ThunderCats Ram-Pagers The Stinger

Otto Simon ThunderCats Ram-Pagers The Stinger

The Thundercats had a large array of inhuman characters, both good and evil. However, some never made an appearance in the cartoon series. For instance, when it came time for LJN to create toys for the Ram-Pagers, they added a new character: The Stinger.

The Rampagers consisted of three individuals: The Mad Bubbler, The Driller, and The Stinger.  While the Mad Bubbler made an appearance in the cartoon, he never received a toy. Meanwhile, the Stinger was exclusively a toy character. So, the only member to appear in both was The Driller.

The Stinger’s Battle-Matic Action involved flapping his wings when a trigger on his abdomen was pressed. The toy also featured articulation at both shoulder joints and his head.

Since this toy was released near the tail-end of the ThunderCats run, he is one of the rarer action figures. Thus, there is no surprise that a sealed mint copy of this toy was sold on eBay for $3,000.00 on September 9, 2021. Since this toy originated in Germany, it also easily commanded a high price.

9. LJN ThunderCats Lion-O and Snarf Hard Copy Prototype

LJN ThunderCats Lion-O and Snarf Hard Copy Prototype

Two of the most recognizable characters from the ThunderCats are Lion-O, the heroic leader of the group, and Snarf, his loyal companion. When the ThunderCats escaped from their dying planet, Thundera, Lion-O was only a cub. The journey to their new home, Third Earth, took several years. While most of the other members of the group remained the same age while they slept in cryosleep, Lion-O awoke as a full-grown male. As their former leader passed away piloting the ship, Lion-O stepped in to become the new leader of the group.

Meanwhile, Snarf originally acted as the caretaker for Lion-O. Unlike the rest of the ThunderCats, Snarf was a separate species, his namesake Snarf. His actual name was also Osbert, but he preferred to be called Snarf. While Lion-O no longer needed his protection, he still valued him as a friend. So, he remained a trusted companion of the group.

When LJN set out to create a Lion-O toy with an accompanying Snarf figure, they went through several prototypes. Late in production, full-color hard copies are produced. Often, employees of toy companies like LJN are allowed to hold onto these prototypes. One such prototype went up for auction on an online site, where it sold for $3,245.00 on February 25, 2021. This set also included a certificate of authenticity from the Collectible Investment Brokerage, which confirmed that it had been previously owned by an ex-LJN employee. However, it could verify no further details about the prototype.

8. LJN ThunderCats 1985 Lion-O AFA 80

LJN ThunderCats 1985 Lion-O

As the leader of the ThunderCats, LJN created several action figures of Lion-O. Most notably, the basic action from 1985 defined the character. However, it also had several variations, as is typical with toys produced multiple times. While some of the action figures had bright red hair, others had neon orange. There was also a darker maroon hair color.

The original action figure from the first series in 1985 had a unique secret feature. With his secret power ring, the eyes on this figure lit up. Otherwise, this toy featured the Battle-Matic action where a lever made his arm move in a chopping action. He also came with two accessories, including the Sword of Omens and his claw shield.

As one of the first ThunderCats action figures produced by LJN, there is no surprise that one sold at an online auction for $3,666.85 on November 16, 2022. Improving this figure’s value, it had an AFA grading of 80 (C80 B80 F80). This action figure also had the maroon hair color.

7. LJN ThunderCats Thunder Wings Lion-O Prototype Hard Copy Model (Red Jumpsuit)

LJN ThunderCats Thunder Wings Lion-O Prototype Hard Copy Model (Red Jumpsuit)

Near the end of LJN’s ThunderCats toy line, they released a brand new Lion-O action figure. Thunder Wings Lion-O was released in 1987 with the rest of the 3rd series. As toy companies usually do when a toy line starts losing steam, LJN tried to renew interest with action accessories. So, they gave Lion-O a humongous backpack with wings.

Rather than rerelease the original figure with a new accessory, LJN created a brand new Lion-O action figure. This action figure featured five articulation points which allowed the arms, legs, and head to move. Unfortunately, it lost the light-up eyes of the original action figure and the battle-matic action. Instead, all of the action features for this toy were located in the winged backpack. With a press of the trigger, the wings flapped.

As one of the later releases, this version of Lion-O is on the rare side. However, this action figure was even rarer since it was a prototype. Thus, it sold on eBay for $3,999.00 on July 16, 2015. Unlike the official release, this hard copy had a red jumpsuit. This prototype also featured a Certificate of Authenticity from Hollywood Heroes, Inc. The certificate verified that the prototype was previously owned by an ex-LJN employee.

6. LJN ThunderCats Tongue-A-Saurus

LJN ThunderCats Tongue-A-Saurus

In 1987, LJN introduced the enormous creature, Tongue-A-Saurus, to the ThunderCats toy line. While the toys had a vast array of playsets and vehicles, this toy was different. It depicted a single gigantic creature with a long tongue.

This amphibious creature appeared in the animated series as well. Unlike most villains from the series, Tongue-A-Saurus only appeared in a single episode, where it tormented a de-aged Lion-O. The creature struck out at Lion-O and Snarf with its prehensile tongue. It even pursued them up vertical cliffs. However, it was eventually captured in a simple net trap.

Unlike the cartoon version, the toy was completely green in color. Notably, the box art displayed a Tongue-A-Saurus with two front paws, but these arms are hardly noticeable in the actual toy since the claws are unpainted. Its most noticeable trait was its long red tongue, which had a Battle-Matic Action that extended when the tail was pushed.

As one of the largest single figures from the line, it commands a high price. Thus, a loose version of Tongue-A-Saurus sold on eBay for $4,050.00 on August 5, 2021.

5. LJN ThunderCats Thunder Wings Lion-O

LJN ThunderCats Thunder Wings Lion-O

As mentioned above, the Thunder Wings Lion-O was a brand-new mold that stood apart from the original 1985 release. Unlike the hard copy prototype that went up for auction, the official release had a blue outfit, similar to the one that he wore in the series. The winged backpack that this toy came with also had a light blue color scheme.

As one of the later releases, there were not many releases of the Thunder Wings Lion-O. So, when a mint-on-card version went up on eBay, it sold for $4,195.95 on September 27, 2020.

4. LJN ThunderCats Ben Gali with Battle-Matic Action AFA 80

LJN ThunderCats Ben Gali with Battle-Matic Action

The ThunderCats had several members who supported each other and helped battle evil on Third Earth. In addition to the group that escaped with Jagga, a few other Thundarians joined the ThunderCats. One of these new members was Ben Gali, who resembled a white Bengal tiger, the cousin of Tygra.

While Ben Gali was a skilled blacksmith, he also was proficient at fighting. He often carried the Hammer of Thundera both as a weapon and a tool for his blacksmithing. As a weapon, the hammer could shoot laser beams. The Hammer of Thundera was also a crucial tool that allowed Ben Gali to reforge the Sword of Omens.

In 1987, LJN added Ben Gali to the line-up. Like most ThunderCats toys, Ben Gali featured a Battle-Matic Action. His action allowed his right arm to move up and down with the push of a lever on his back. He also featured 5 points of articulation at his shoulders, hips, and head. The toy came with Ben Gali’s signature Hammer of Thundera, molded in blue plastic.

On November 2, 2020, an AFA-graded version of Ben Gali sold on eBay for $4,999.99. This figure had an overall score of 80 (C80 B85 F85).

3. LJN ThunderCats Mumm-Ra’s Tomb Fortress AFA 70

LJN ThunderCats Mumm-Ra’s Tomb Fortress

Several key locations frequently appeared in the 1985 ThunderCats cartoon. First, there was the ThunderCats’ home base, the Cat’s Lair. Then, there was the Mutants’ castle, Castle Plun-Darr. Finally, there was the old tomb that housed the greatest evil of them all, Mumm-Ra.

Following Mumm-Ra’s Egyptian motif, his lair was hidden within a Black Pyramid surrounded by 4 obelisks.  The ominous feel of this location was further compounded by being next to the Desert of Sinking Sands. Moreover, his tomb was surrounded by statues of the Ancient Spirits of Evil, who helped protect and empower Mumm-Ra. With all the danger found around and inside the tomb, only the bravest of heroes dared to intrude in this villain’s lair.

When it came time for LJN to design a playset of the tomb in 1986, they opted to simplify the design. Rather than create a giant pyramid playset, they instead focused on the area next to Mumm-Ra’s crypt. Within a gaping jaw, a transformation chamber awaited to help Mumm-Ra become his empowered form. Surrounding this door were two statues, a minotaur, and a reptile. The set also came with a mummy Mumm-Ra action figure.

As the second largest playset from the toy line, Mumm-Ra’s Tomb Fortress is a great centerpiece of any collection. When one of these sets went up on eBay with an AFA 70 grade, it sold for $5,400.00 on December 18, 2018.

2. LJN ThunderCats Luna Lasher Mumm-Ra AFA 85

LJN ThunderCats Luna Lasher Mumm-Ra

Without a doubt, Mumm-Ra was the greatest foe that the ThunderCats ever faced. This great evil had made Third Earth his home for centuries. The immortal sorcerer quickly took notice of the ThunderCats as soon as they landed on the planet. The immense power of the Eye of Thundera housed within the Sword of Omens became his greatest desire. Thus, he became a bane to the ThunderCats as he concocted schemes to get his hand on their power.

While Mumm-Ra’s base form was a frail zombie, he could transform into a gigantic, muscled form through the power of his iconic incantation: “Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form… to Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!” In this form, his greatest weakness was his reflection, which forced him to retreat into his base form.

In 1987, LJN created a brand new version of the Ever-Living form, which they called Luna Lasher Mumm-Ra. This new figure had five points of articulation located at his shoulders, hips, and head.  Unlike the original action figure, this one’s eyes could not light up. It also lost its original Battle-Matic action. Instead, this figure came with a giant backpack, the Luna Lasher, whose arms pounded enemies with the press of a trigger.

As one of the later figures in the toy line, Luna Lasher Mumm-Ra received little promotion. He also did not have as many rereleases as the original mold. Thus, he is one of the rarer toys from the line. On October 31, 2014, one of these toys sold on eBay for $8,999.00. It had an AFA 85 grade (C85 B80 F85), which improved its value.

1. LJN ThunderCats Laser Sabers Ben Gali AFA 80

LJN ThunderCats Laser Sabers Ben Gali

In Italy, Ben Gali received a special release thanks to Al-Es. The Laser Sabers sub-line featured four ThunderCats from the 80s toy line: Lion-O, Ben Gali, Mumm-Ra, and Captain Shiner. Beyond the special regional packaging, this action figure had some differences from its US release. Instead of the Hammer of Thundera, the toy came with an orange Laser Saber. This backpack featured two gigantic cannons which imaginary lasers shot out from.

As both a later release and a regional exclusive, Laser Sabers Ben Gali is one of the rarest toys from the entire toy line. To little surprise, one of these action figures with an AFA 80 grade (C80 B85 F85) sold on eBay for $8,999.99 on December 17, 2010.

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