Collectibles Column: What is WWF Merch from 25 Yrs Ago Worth Today?

By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles specialist


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

Flipping through an old WWF catalog can be just as entertaining as informative as reading a past wrestling magazine. These catalogs offer a lot of information – which wrestlers had the most merchandise available, how costs today compare to those in the catalog, the fashion of the time, how the quality of merchandise has changed, and which items are still popular in 2015, just to name a few.

The spring/summer 1990 WWF merchandise catalog from 25 years ago features a bright green cover with orange stripes and lettering, and the old WWF logo. Take one look at the Ultimate Warrior-inspired color scheme and there’s no doubt you’re looking at something from the late-80s or early-90s.

The first two pages are dedicated to the WWF’s top two stars of 1990, Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. At this point in history the WWF was taking a break from its Hulkamania merchandise, instead pushing new “Hulk Rules” items. There’s a Hulk Rules t-shirt, bandana, car shade, beach towel, painter’s cap, and more. The red bandana with yellow lettering is regularly traded on the wrestling collectibles market today. It originally cost $4.95, and sells today for $20-35, depending on the condition.

Warrior looked like a real-life action figure, so it’s hard to think of another wrestler who would’ve been a better fit for the WWF merchandise machine. Page 3 of the catalog has a Warrior pillow for $14.95, wristbands for $5.95, and a screen-printed polyester jacket for $44.95. The white jacket with Warrior’s image on the back has been one of his most popular items since his death in 2014. Jackets free of any rips, tears or stains regularly sell for more than $125.

The “novelties” section of the catalog offers things like a Rockers night shirt, Ultimate Warrior bib, inflatable Damien snake, plastic drinking cups, and a Million Dollar Man bank. For $3.95 fans could by the “WWF Superstars Autographed Picture Set 3,” which featured photos of Warrior, Hogan, Dusty Rhodes, and Roddy Piper. The catalog does not state if these autographs were authentic or preprinted. If they’re real, anybody who bought them 25 years ago could be sitting on hundreds of dollars today.

Of all wrestling merchandise, t-shirts have always appealed to the broadest audience. The spring/summer 1990 WWF merchandise catalog offered t-shirts of Hogan, Piper, Rhodes, Warrior, the Rockers, the Red Rooster, Jake Roberts, Brutus Beefcake, Bret Hart, Tito Santana, Jimmy Snuka, and the Bushwhackers for $12.95 each, far cheaper than the $30-plus that fans often pay today. The purple Rockers t-shirts sold in this catalogue can be found today for $15-30, depending on the condition.

The WWF also made a lot of money off posters, and this particular catalog offered 23-inch by 35-inch posters of Hogan, Beefcake, Warrior, Snuka, Red Rooster, the Rockers, the Bushwhackers, and Jake “the Snake” for $4.95 each. Snuka posters have recently sold for $4.99 and $14.99, and more obscure posters like those of Terry Taylor as the Red Rooster can sometimes fetch hundreds of dollars because of their scarcity.

The WWF also sold cloth wall hangings of Hogan, Warrior, and Beefcake. The Hogan was $11.95 for a full-color, rectangular wall hanging, and Warrior and Beefcake were $9.95 each for black and white square pieces.

There’s not much demand for the Beefcake piece today, as it usually sells for $5-10. But the iconic Warrior wall hanging is still a popular item with collectors, usually selling in the $25-40 range.

If you ever bought a unique item from a WWF (or other company) merchandise catalog and would like to share it with other Torch readers, feel free to send your store to michaelmoorewriter@gmail.com, or share it on Twitter @MMooreWriter.

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