SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
When it comes to pro wrestling managers, there’s Bobby Heenan, and then there’s everyone else.
Wrestling collectors have long had a soft spot for Heenan, whether it was getting his autograph at a fan convention or trying to track down old magazines, action figures and trading cards. Heenan’s passing earlier this week at the age of 72 garnered mainstream media attention and created a renewed interest in any merchandise with his likeness.
Heenan’s likeness has been a moneymaker since as far back as the 1960s, when newsstand wrestling magazines would use his bloodied face to sell magazines. One particularly grotesque cover can be found on the November 1970 issue of The Wrestler, with the headline, “My God, Bobby! What Happened to Your Face?” The October 1975 issue of Inside Wrestling features a similar gory picture, with the headline, “Bobby Heenan Isn’t Safe Anywhere.” These “bloody Bobby Heenan mags,” as they’ve come to be known, are still popular with collectors today. Copies in decent shape usually sell for about $20, with signed copies fetching around $50.
Heenan’s trading cards don’t date quite as far back as his magazine appearances. Heenan first appeared on a trading card in the landmark 1982 Wrestling All Stars set. Card #16 in that set features a color photo of a very young-looking Heenan. Ungraded copies can usually be found for under $15, while graded and signed copies sell much higher.
Heenan has appeared on WWF/WWE trading cards for more than 30 years, from the 1985 Topps WWF Pro Wrestling Stars Series 2 to the UK-exclusive 2017 Slam Attax 10 set from Topps. His autographs can be found in 2005 Topps WWE Heritage and 2006 Topps WWE Heritage Chrome. The Chrome version, which features Heenan’s signature on a sticker that is affixed to the card, is the easier of the two to find, usually in the $40-$70 range. The 2005 card, which features an on-card signature, surfaces so infrequently that it’s difficult to assign a value to. Ebay sellers have listed the card for around $200 in the days since Heenan’s death, but it’s unlikely the card will maintain that type of value.
Heenan appeared in a few WCW Topps sets as well. Most notably, his signature first appeared in the 1998 Topps WCW/NWO set. Recent sales of this card have been in the $75-$100 range.
Most recently, Leaf Trading Cards has included Heenan in a number of its wrestling sets. Heenan’s signature can be found in the 2012 and 2014 version of Leaf Originals Wrestling, along with 2016 Leaf Signature Series Wrestling. Basic autographs usually selling for about $25, with low-numbered parallels selling for more.
In 2015, Leaf produced a signed Heenan card that also includes a jumbo swatch of one of Heenan’s ring-worn jackets. That card was originally planned for the high-end, multi-sport Leaf Q, but was instead inserted in boxes of 2014 Leaf Originals Wrestling. It has gone on to become one of Heenan’s most popular cards, recently selling in the $40-$70 range.
Heenan’s first action figure was produced in 1986 and was included in the third series of WWF Wrestling Superstars from LJN. The figure has Heenan in a blue sweater with “BH” emblazoned on the chest, with thumbs extended on both hands. It’s a pretty easy figure to find these days; loose figures in decent shape sell for around $15, while packaged figures can sell anywhere from $75-$125.
Jakks Pacific produced several Heenan figures as part of its Classic WWE Superstars line. The mostly commonly traded Heenan figure from Jakks online is his figure from Series 6, which has Heenan in a black suit with an unbuttoned white dress shirt. You can probably pick up a loose figure for under $15, and packaged figures tend to sell for $20-$25. Heenan also appeared in a number of multi-figure packs with members of the Bobby Heenan Family, including the Brain Busters, Ric Flair, Mr. Perfect and even Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz.
One of the coolest Heenan figures of all time was distributed exclusively at the 2006 Toy Fair convention. It’s limited to just 100 pieces – and has Heenan in a removable weasel costume.
Mattel has made just one Heenan figure to date; it was included in the Heenan Family WWE Hall of Fame Four-Pack with Big John Studd, Mr. Perfect and Andre the Giant, sold exclusively at Target. Released in 2015, the four-pack originally retailed for $49.99, but many Target stores eventually marked them down to $14.99. Today the loose figure, which has Heenan in a white and gold tuxedo, usually sells in the $10-$15 range, while the entire box set sells for around $50.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Designer Brian Ubben Talks About 2017 PWG BOLA Trading Cards
PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.