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More than two decades after his passing, Owen Hart remains one of the most beloved wrestlers among fans and collectors. In 2020, Pro Wrestling Tees partnered with Marth Hart and the Owen Hart Foundation to produce the first Owen merchandise in more than 20 years, including T-shirts, banners, and one rare figure. Owen’s figures, trading cards, magazine covers, and more remain popular items.
Owen Hart started his career in Calgary in 1986, and rose to prominence among newsletter readers and tape traders in 1987 for his work there and in Japan. During his early days, Owen was as hot as anyone within the tape trading community.
“The first time I saw Owen Hart in Calgary, I was literally blown away with just how amazing he was,” said wrestling historian Barry Rose, who cohosts the “Breaking Kayfabe with Bowdren and Barry” podcast and was a prominent tape trader in the 1980s. ”I’d seen all the Harts wrestle, but Owen was so mind boggling spectacular that he stood out from the rest of his brothers. When he started working in Japan, his tapes were a hot commodity and for good reason. I think I still have a couple of his Japan comp tapes lying around somewhere.”
Owen got the occasional mention in the newsstand magazines of the era, but magazine covers were typically reserved for Hulk Hogan, the Road Warriors, Dusty Rhodes and the Four Horsemen. One of the earliest feature articles on Owen and Bret can be found in the August 1998 issue of “The Wrestler,” titled, “Look Before you Leap: Owen Hart Must Steer Clear of his Brother Bret.” It’s a typical Apter mag-style article of the era, with a fictitious interview with Stu and Helen Hart describing how Bret used to bully and pick on his younger brother. The magazine has Barry Windham and Lex Luger on the cover, and can usually be found for less than $10.
By 1994, Owen was one of the WWF’s top stars, and regularly appeared on magazine covers. His first “WWF Magazine” cover came in September 1994, with brother-in-law Jim Neidhart cackling in his ear. Owen and Bret also graced the cover of the Spring 1994 issue of “Wrestle America,” with the headline, “Who’s Better? Does Owen Have More Hart than Bret?”
Owen lacks a definitive rookie card, but his trading cards date back to at least 1992. His first cards are in the 1992 WWF Merlin Gold Series Part 1; card number 37 has him pictured in those baggy pants he used to wear and identifies him as, “The Rocket Owen Hart of High Energy.” This card can usually be found for $5-$10, occasionally selling for more. His 1994 Action Packed WWF card is also popular with collectors, as it features an embossed picture of Owen along with a gold foil facsimile of his signature, usually selling for less than $10.
One of the holy grails for many collectors of wrestling trading cards and autographs is Owen’s signature from the 1998 WWF Superstarz set from Comic Images/DuoCards. Autographs were randomly inserted 1:100 packs, and are very tough to find. The card features a color shot of Owen applying the Sharpshooter, with his autograph in bold silver ink. The card typically sells in the $400-$500 range, but it’s often hard to find a collector willing to part with one at that price.
Other signed items from Owen regularly pop up on eBay, including 8×10 photos, trading cards, napkins, action figures, and more. These items can be pricey, so if you’re willing to spend the money, make sure to get one with a signature that has been certified by a third-party authenticator like PSA or Beckett Grading Services.
Hasbro produced the first Owen Hart action figure in 1993 in the seventh series of its WWF toy line. This was part of the yellow card set, and Owen is decked out in baggy purple pants with a red waistband and neon green boots. Loose figures typically sell in the $50-$60 range, with carded figures fetching $130 to $160.
Jakks Pacific included Owen in its second series of WWF Bone Crunching Action Figures in 1996, and produced many more through 1999. A “Best of 1997” figure had Owen dressed in his “two-time Slammy Award winner” gear with a removable plastic Hart Foundation vest. In 1999, Jakks produced the first figure of the Blue Blazer, complete with a blue cape with furry white trim.
Most of Owen’s Jakks figures don’t sell especially high, with most loose figures selling in the $10-$20 range. The Blue Blazer figure sells higher, usually in the $25 to $30 range for a loose figure or $40 to $60 for a carded figure.
Owen’s final action figures came out in 1999 prior to his death, and fans have been clamoring for a more modern figure ever since, said Scott Toon, who hosts the Fully Poseable Wrestling Figure Podcast with brother Jef.
“If (Owen Hart) is not the number one name that Jef and I hear, it’s easily the number two name,” Toon said. “He is at the top of most collectors’ wish lists.”
During late 2020, Owen was included in the Micro Brawlers series of figures sold through Pro Wrestling Tees. The figure was limited to 250 pieces and sold out immediately and regularly sells on eBay in the $125 to $160 range.
The Stuff of Legends is a new feature from longtime PWTorch.com Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore. Each column 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.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: The Stuff of Legends – A Collector’s Guide to Pat Patterson
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