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Author’s note: The Stuff of Legends is a new feature from longtime PWTorch.com Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore. Each week, the Stuff of Legends will present a collector’s guide to action figures, trading cards, magazine covers, autographs and other memorabilia of a specific wrestler or topic. Contact Michael Moore at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.
The term “legend” gets overused and abused in professional wrestling. In WWE, “Legend” with a capital “L” is basically used to describe any ex-wrestler who is still on good terms with the company.
But make no mistake: Pat Patterson was a legend in every sense of the word. As a wrestler, Patterson was a headliner everywhere he went, from San Francisco in the 1960s to the WWF in the early 1980s.
As a top star, Patterson graced the covers of numerous local programs and posters, along with national magazines. A quick search of eBay will reveal listings for several Patterson programs from throughout the years, including his stops in Boston, San Francisco, the AWA and the WWF. Many historical programs can be found for less than $10.
One of Patterson’s most recognizable magazine covers is from the November 1979 issue of “The Wrestler.” The cover shows a dejected, bloodied Backlund looking at Patterson holding a WWF title belt above his head with a headline that reads, “WWF in turmoil: Pat Patterson Beats Bob Backlund!” Depending on the condition of that particular magazine, a single copy typically sells anywhere from $10 to $25.
“Accepted,” Patterson’s autobiography written with the help of Bertrand Hebert, has been lauded by many as a tremendous read. New and used copies can easily be found on eBay or Amazon, with most new hardcover copies selling for under $20. Signed copies are tough to come by, currently selling for around $50.
Patterson has been featured on a variety of trading cards over the last 40 years. According to a search of the comprehensive checklists atwrestlingtradingcards.com, Patterson’s earliest traditional trading card is from the landmark 1982 Wrestling All-Stars Series A set. Ungraded copies of this card sell anywhere from $10 to $50, depending on the condition.
Only four copies have received a grade of PSA Gem Mint 10 from Professional Sports Authenticators, three of which are owned by super collector David Peck.
Patterson’s autograph was included in a handful of products from Topps and Leaf. His cards from 2014 Leaf Legends of Wrestling start at around $20 and go up, depending on the picture of the card, the color variation and the serial numbering.
Patterson’s autographs from 2015 Topps WWE Heritage and 2016 Topps WWE are especially eye-catching. The 2015 Topps Heritage card has Patterson in his trunks in the ring ready for a fight, with a great looking autograph in orange box provided. The 2016 Topps autograph has a big, bold signature and features a famous pic of Patterson standing with his arms crossed in a white polo shirt. Most recently, a red parallel of the 2015 Topps Heritage autograph serial numbered 1/1 sold for $103.50, and a black parallel serial numbered to 50 sold for $40.
Despite Patterson’s storied wrestling career and his prominence in WWE, his first action figure was just released in 2020. The Walmart-exclusive chase figure captures Patterson from his role in the Attitude Era, with complete with a white T-shirt that reads, “1st IC Champ, Rio de Janeiro.” The shirt and pants can be removed to more resemble Patterson in his trunks as a wrestler.
The figure’s popularity has increased since Patterson’s passing, with most selling for around $45-$50.
“I really liked the figure,” said pro wrestler and action figure collector Brian Breaker. ”I thought it was cool that Pat was included in the Elite line, and the fact that you could have the figure represent his in-ring days, or his days as one of the stooges.”
Much of Patterson’s glory years predate videotape and mass merchandising, so there’s not as much memorabilia as some may hope for. It may take a little digging, but there are still some pretty cool items from Patterson’s years in wrestling.
“Pat was a lot of fun and his public image was a direct parallel to how he was in real life as well,” said “Breaking Kayfabe with Bowdren and Barry” cohost Barry Rose, who hosted Patterson at the 2018 Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF) Fan Fest. “The night before our event, Pat held court in the hotel lobby for almost two solid hours, sitting and sharing stories with fans, all while displaying the passion and enthusiasm that he was known for.”
PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.
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