AN Action Man outfit which is so rare experts were unsure it still existed has been found in a retired toy rep’s garage - and could fetch £20,000 when it goes under the hammer at a North-East auction house.
The pristine judo outfit boxed set dates back to 1969 or 1970 - and it’s so rare that experts cannot even be sure when it was first produced.
Action Man sporting kits weren’t a huge hit for producer Palitoy, as children preferred the figure to stick to soldiering.
The garage find also included a rare cricketing set, as well as Action Man football kits from major teams like Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton and West Ham.
The relative failure of the products ironically makes them more valuable now, as few remain.
And more collectors are looking for Action Man toys, as people who played with them reach back to their childhood.
A lot of the value is down to the packaging, they are very scarce in shop-stock condition.Valuer Kathy Taylor
The judo kit is so rare a collector’s book of Action Man and his accessories has no photo of the original packaging.
The Palitoy rep kept stock at home and some of it was stored in his loft and garage, untouched for decades.
His son read about the success of the Vectis auction house in Thornaby, Teesside, selling a Boba Fett Star Wars figure last month for £18,000, and got in touch.
Valuer Kathy Taylor went to his home and catalogued the items, which now fill a wall of the auction warehouse.
It took two trips with a white van to collect them all.
The pick of the collection was the judo set, still in its cardboard box with cellophane packaging.
She said: “There has been considerable interest already and a fever is building up for it.”
Even small Action Man accessories, such as the tiny medals he wore, can be collectable.
She said: “The bits and pieces are in short supply, as they tended to go missing when they got sucked up the vacuum cleaner.
“A lot of the value is down to the packaging, they are very scarce in shop-stock condition.
“These are very unusual in that they have come out of trade boxes, so they are shop stock.”
But she felt there may be other perfect examples out there in lofts and cupboards that have never been opened for more than 40 years.
“Maybe somebody bought it for a present and never gave it, there are still things out there,” she said.
The Action Man sale is likely to take place in May or June.