November 19, 2023
November 19, 2023
They say good things come in small packages, and that’s definitely true if you’ve got one of the rare micro machines from the 90s in your attic! Created by San Franciso toy company Galoob (now part of Hasbro), Micro Machines were miniature vehicle playsets aimed at boys, similar to what Polly Pocket toys were for girls. Galoob’s flagship toy was also well-known for licensed playsets featuring vehicles from franchises like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Transformers. 20+ years later, vintage 90s Micro Machines are now a collector’s item, with some pristine-condition playsets worth thousands of dollars to the right buyer. But which sets are selling for the big bucks? Get ready to shrink down and strap in for the ultimate rare Micro Machines value guide.
There’s something about fine European cars that motorheads can’t resist, even on the micro-scale. Galoob seemed to know this fact when it released this exclusive European Double Pack in 1990. The set features the Micro Machines “Eurocar Collection” with eight cars representing different countries, from the Union Jack emblazoned Aston Martin to the sleek and shiny Porche 130.
Only five sets are known to exist, which isn’t surprising considering how tempting it would be for a kid to tear this set open as soon as they got their hands on it. This is regarded as a ‘holy grail’ Micro Machines set. Recently, one sold on eBay for a whopping $3906!
If there’s one thing 90s toymakers had in common, it was the belief that making things shiny made them more collectible, and we’ve seen this in every brand from Pokémon to Crazy Bones. This belief extended to Micro Machines, and the 1992 Reflectors sets (originally called “Shiners”) have since become some of the most highly sought-after.
All Micro Machines collectors agree that Reflectors #3 is the rarest, with only two sealed sets known to exist. One of these two super rare Mico Machines sets sold for nearly $2000 in July 2021!
Emergency vehicles have always been a staple for Micro Machines. After all, kids love to pretend they’re saving the day chasing down bad guys in a police car or racing to a burning building in a firetruck. Kids get every emergency vehicle they could dream of with this 1992 set, including a police car, ambulance, firetruck, SWAT van, and tow truck. Oh, and there’s even a bonus dump truck (for garbage emergencies?)
With only two sealed sets known to exist, Emergency Collection #8 ranks as one of the rarest and most valuable Micro Machines sets. As of writing, one has recently sold on eBay for $1225!
In the early 1990s, Galoob released “Deluxe” sets that featured vehicles with opening doors, hoods, and trunks. This added level of interactivity allowed Galoob to charge a bit more without having to engineer a vastly more intricate product.
The original 1990 Deluxe Collection was notoriously difficult for collectors to complete for many years. That was until cases of sealed sets were uncovered in Paraguay. Unfortunately, many of these were sold for cheap and opened before they could be appraised. Of all these sets, number nine (IX) is considered the rarest, and in August 2022, one sold for an impressive $911.
The extra-terrestrials have landed! Luckily, it looks like they’re too small to pose much of a threat to humanity.
This extra-special set features everything a kid could want to imagine what really went down in New Mexico in 1947. You get a scientist and their disguised “Roswell Public Works” alien-hunting van, a classic green, opal-eyed alien with a finned flying saucer, and a flatbed truck to haul it away to Area 51 (for public safety, of course.)
Being a quirky departure from the standard Micro Machine sets of sports cars and emergency vehicles, it’s easy to see why Secret at Rosewell is so valued by collectors. As of writing, the highest individual sale for this set was $599 in September 2021, although a set of three did sell for $825 in November 2022.
Certain sets from Galoob’s crossover licensing deals with franchises like Star Wars can fetch a similar price to the rarest Micro Machines sets. For example, the Star Wars Micro Machines Mini Action Transforming Playset VII (1997) is featured in our list of rare and expensive 90s Star Wars toys and generally sells for between $300 to $800 on eBay.
Here are a few other standouts that sold recently on eBay:
Who could forget Jabba’s notorious
sacrificial party yacht sail barge from Return of The Jedi? Part of Galoob’s Star Wars Action Fleet series, Jabba’s Sail Barge features an opening rear deck with “removable Jabba The Hutt”. Apart from Tattoonie’s slimiest crime boss, you also get figures of R2D2 (in his serving droid role) and a yak-faced alien called… “Yak Face”.
Star Trek has always played second-fiddle to Star Wars in terms of popularity, so the crossover Micro Machine sets aren’t as highly sought-after. However, this special collector’s set is a standout featuring fifteen unique ships from the various Star Trek TV series and films, including the USS Voyager, a Cardassian Warship, and even the humble Miranda-Class Starship. The set comes with special display stands for each ship. Oh, and did we forget to mention that it comes with a bonus ship – the USS Enterprise itself!
With all of their diverse and modular vehicles, the Power Rangers are perfect for Micro Machines! Galoob knew this when they licenced Mighty Morphin Power Rangers right at the height of its popularity in the early 1990s. This rare set features the five main Power Rangers and each of their unique Dinozords, all of which can transform. The set is also the only way to get your hands on a micro version of the Green Ranger.
While the international man of mystery is famous for his heroism, ingenuity, and romantic escapades, he’s just as well-known for his iconic vehicles and gadgets. Released to tie in with the 1995 release of Goldeneye, this set features characters and vehicles from the (then) new movie, as well as from 007’s other adventures in Moonraker (1979) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
Compared to other 90s collectibles like Beanie Babies and Furbies, the collecting interest for Micro Machines is much smaller. Unlike Beanie Babies, few people purchased Micro Machines with the intent to preserve, display, or sell them. Packs of Micro Machines were almost always immediately torn open by kids eager to play with their new toys, and you can hardly blame them (after all, that’s what they’re really meant for). This means that many Micro Machines collectors have extensive “loose” collections as there are so few sealed ones left.
Micro Machines were first launched in 1986, making the toy brand over 36 years old!
The original Micro Machines began to disappear after Hasbro bought Galoob in 1996 (for $220 million, no less). As of 2006, the only reference to Micro Machines was in the die-cast Star Wars and Transformers sets.
Yes! Micro Machines have had several revivals over the decades, with the most recent in 2020. Right now you can buy assorted sets of Micro Machines at most major retail and toy outlets.
Most Micro Machines did not have a consistent scale when manufactured, so it depended on what set you had. Most vehicles were between 6-10mm scale.
Lee is curator of nostalgia and a long-time collector of loveable junk. An 80s baby, 90s kid, he knows he had it good when it came to Saturday morning cartoons. Spends his life trying to recapture the dopamine hit of playing Game Boy for the first time and believes Beanie Babies will make a fortuitous comeback. Obsessed with everything (and anything) retro, he is your trusted guide to a world of 90s toys, games and collectables.
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November 19, 2023
November 19, 2023