THE SPECIALISTS COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Dusty Rhodes Collectibles - Sales of Dusty's Memorabilia Surge After his Death
Jun 14, 2015 - 2:33:51 PM
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By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles specialist
In Brief: Fans of the “American Dream” have been snatching up his trading cards, action figures, magazines, and other mementos.
Several generations of fans lost a hero last week with the passing of “the American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. As soon as the word began to spread that wrestling had lost a legend, fans flocked to eBay searching for souvenirs of “the Dream.”
Over the last 90 days there were nearly 600 completed wrestling-related auctions that included the words “Dusty Rhodes.” Of those, more than 250 ended within 24 hours of fans learning of Dusty’s death. Fans began snatching up trading cards, action figures, magazines, photos, autographs, ring-worn items, and more.
Dusty appeared on the covers of magazines for decades, and in the 1980s his face was everywhere: t-shirts, soda cans, posters, calendars, and more. But for a wrestler of his stature, Dusty had relatively few action figures and trading cards. Here’s a look at a few of those items that are collectors’s favorites.
Dusty Rhodes’s first action figure wasn’t released until early 1991, more than 20 years after his pro wrestling debut. Hasbro included Dusty in its second series of WWF action figures that year, and since the mid-1990s it has been one of the most popular figures in that entire line. The figure has Dusty in a black and yellow polka dotted t-shirt, black trunks, and white and yellow boots.
Dusty’s Hasbro figure is relatively easy to find loose, and sells anywhere from $18 to $50, depending on the condition. Packaged figures are tougher to find and considerably more expensive. On June 12, the day after Dusty’s death, a carded figure sold for $315.
Jakks Pacific produced a few different figures of Dusty for its Classic WWE Superstars line in the mid-2000s. The Classic WWE Superstars Series 10 figure captures Dusty during his days in Jim Crockett Promotions, with black trunks, red kneepads, white and blue boots, a white cowboy hat and the Big Gold Belt. The Series 13 figure presents a slightly different Dusty that is more reminiscent of his days in Florida, with red trunks and black boots. Both figures carry about the same value, selling for $20-25 packaged and $10-15 loose.
Jakks also produced a limited edition figure (3,000 figures) of Dusty in his black and yellow polka dots that sells for about $50 packaged today. Dusty was also included in Jakks’s Adrenaline Series 29 two-packs with son Cody; this figure is slimmer than most others and has Dusty in a black shirt and blue jeans. This figure can usually be found for $10-15 loose or $20-25 for the two-pack.
Dusty’s only Mattel WWE figure to date was included in WWE Legends Series 1 in 2010. This figure also has Dusty in his black and yellow polka dots. It was already a hot figure prior to Dusty’s death, and has continued to increase in value since. A packaged figure sold for $107.50 on June 13. Mattel re-released this figure in different packaging in 2011 in its Kmart-exclusive WWE Hall of Fame line. This version of the figure sells for slightly less, usually in the $65-85 range.
Dusty has appeared in most Topps WWE sets over the last several years, but he has surprisingly few vintage trading cards. His earliest trading card is a black and white 1978 Wrestling Annual card that was released by London Publishing Co. in the summer of that year. It is larger than a traditional trading card, measuring 4x5.5 inches. It is difficult to price because of its scarcity, but an ungraded copy shouldn’t cost you more than $20.
Dusty was also included in the landmark 1982 Wrestling All-Stars Series A trading card set, which was available through a mail-in offer in The Wrestling News magazine. Many copies of these cards have been submitted for grading, with most receiving an excellent to excellent-mint grade, such as a PSA 5 or PSA 6. Cards that receive this type of grade usually sell in the $20-25 range. A gem mint copy of this card (BGS 9.5) is currently listed on eBay for $450 or best offer.
Dusty’s autograph has appeared in both TNA and WWE trading card products. Pacific Trading Cards included Dusty’s signature in the Legends & Superstars insert set in its 2004 TNA trading card set. This card can be found for $30-40 and is the cheapest of Dusty’s certified autographs, but also his only on-card autograph.
Dusty’s signature also appears in a couple of WWE products from Topps. His autograph is paired with son Cody’s in the 2009 Topps WWE Legacy Autographs set, and a solo autograph can be found in 2013 Topps Best of WWE. Both of these cards have been extremely volatile since Dusty’s death, with some auctions ending at $100 or more.
PWTorch Collectibles specialist Michael Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.
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