In 1984, a new toy line and cartoon TV show hit the market. US toy company Hasbro rebranded the popular Japanese mecha figures Diaclone and Micro Change to create a new franchise: Transformers. In a new fictional world, aliens from the planet Cybertron are a blend of biology and technology, with the ability to transform between robots and vehicles.
These figures have generated over $25 billion in revenue over the decades. Here’s a closer look at how much your vintage Transformer toys could be worth today.
Shockwave – $7,100
Shockwave is the psychopathic military commander of the Decepticons, whose cool logic stands in contrast to Megatron’s emotional personality. In the PS2 games, he is described as “Megatron’s personal watchdog. With the ability to transform into a laser gun, Shockwave boasts a powerful attack!”
A 1986 Shockwave figure sold for a jaw-dropping $7,100 in May 2022. This toy is particularly prone to damage and breakages, so when eBay user wheeljackslab listed an unopened, unused and undamaged model, it soon drew a number of bidders.
Optimus Prime – $5,250
Tranformers’ best-known figure, Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots. In Generation 1, he can transform into a Freightliner FL86 cab over semi trucks. His combat deck doubles as a radio antenna to communicate with other Autobots during combat.
One 1984 Optimus Prime figure, featuring an unusual Pepsi-brand sticker, sold for $5,250 in June 2022 after drawing 32 bids. The secure packaging necessary to transport this valuable toy doesn’t come cheap, either – shipping alone was advertised at an estimate of $129.
Jetfire – $3,500
This red-and-white armoured Transformer first appeared in the TV cartoons, where he was trapped in a block of Arctic ice and freed by the Decepticons. The original toy had more impressive articulation than its peers, with three different modes: robot, jet, and the Gerwalk transformation.
Sold in a single bid, a 1985 version of this toy sold for $3,500 in May 2022. A “tiny crack” in one corner was the only damage over the decades that this unopened toy sustained. The seller was located in Eldora, Iowa.
Ratchet – $3,150
Ratchet is a frontline medic and engineer, loyal to the Autobots. He originally transformed into an ambulance, but in Michael Bay’s 2007 movie Transformers, this enduringly popular character featured as a Rescue Humvee.
A perfect example of this classic toy was offered on eBay by the same user who sold the above Jetfire and Schokwave: wheeljackslab.This 1984 Ratchet attracted five bids and sold for $3,150 in May 2022. It was graded professionally, and unlike the Jetfire, it showed no damage at all after nearly four decades in storage.
Megatron – $5,212
The leader of the Decepticons and one of their strongest fighters, Megatron was once Lord High Protector of Cybertron. Power-hungry and violent, he tortures and tricks his way to Earth, where he spends decades encased in Arctic ice and hidden inside the Hoover Dam.
Unsurprisingly, Megatron figures are among the most valuable collectors’ items today. Before one eBay user bought a Megatron for $5,212 in May 2022, the seller wrote: “[This] Transformer is factory sealed and has never been opened! This came from a former Hasbro employee and was never even mailed to a customer.”
Scourge – $4,272
In a zombie-like origin story, Scourge was built from the corpse of a Decepticon and became a tracker for the violent leader Galvatron. He rules over the Sweeps, a group of minions who are identical in appearance to Scourge himself.
Scourge toys transform into five different modes, including a hovercraft. They were first released in 1986, and thanks to the figure’s enduring popularity, they have been released in 13 different lines since. A 1986 Scourge in brand-new condition sold for $4,272 in May 2022.
Grimlock – $3,550
Grimlock is one of the heroes of the Transformer franchise – though his violent nature often conflicts with his alliances. He dislikes Optimus Prime and Prowl, but ultimately he and his Dinobot squad respect their comrades’ strength and battle tactics.
This menacing figure transforms between a robot and a dark grey armoured dinosaur. A vintage Grimlock sold for $3,550 after a May 2022 eBay auction. Listed for only a week, this treasured item managed to attract five bidders.
Silverbolt – $3,400
Five Aerialbot collectibles were released in 1986. They formed a specialist team of Earth-style aircraft and were named Silverbolt, Air Raid, Fireflight, Skydive and Slingshot. The Aerialbot leader Silverbolt has proven to be particularly valuable in eBay auctions.
Silverbolt sold for $3,400 in May 2022. The seller, who is based in Terre Haute, Indiana, noted: “He is factory sealed to the card. The tape is cut on the box. He has been graded an 80 overall by AFA.”
Skywarp – $3,050
Skywarp, who transforms into a plane, is unique among the Decepticons in his ability to teleport. However, the character is also goofy and fun-loving, meaning that he presents little threat without a villainous leader.
“Skywarp is the sneakiest of all Decepticons,” the toy’s packaging reads. “[He] enjoys playing cruel pranks on fellow Decepticons and appearing out of nowhere to attack Autobots.” Skywarp showed its lasting popularity in a recent eBay auction, as a sealed 1984 model attracted plenty of attention. After a bidding war between 18 collectors, it sold for $3,050 in May 2022.
Prowl – $3,001
Prowl is Optimus Prime’s loyal friend and battle strategist. He is clever, patient and soft-spoken, but any unexpected change of events can send him into a tailspin. The original toy, released in 1984, 1985 and 1989, came armed with an “acid pellet gun” and “wire-guided incendiary missiles”.
Prowl transforms into a Datsun 230ZX Turbo sports car, marked with the words “Highway Police Patrol.” One Prowl, unopened since it was manufactured in 1984, fetched $3,001 at an eBay auction in May 2022.
Swoop – $3,000
Swoop can become a robotic Pteranodon, and he is the most approachable of the Dinobots. He resists Optimus Prime’s leadership at times, but beneath his steely appearance, he is kind and warm-hearted. The toy has fold-out wheels within his feet and chest, which come out when the dinosaur form is activated.
The same ilk as Grimlock, an unopened model of Swoop earned $3,000 in one eBay bid in May 2022. Swoop’s fragile mechanisms mean that few have survived intact since the 80s, so undamaged examples are particularly valuable.
Motormaster – $3,000
Five figures make up the Stunticon squad: Drag Strip, Dead End, Breakdown, Wildrider and the leader Motormaster (also known by the nickname Motorbreath). These figures are wild and rebellious Decepticons, the natural enemies of the Autobot Aerialbots – but they are also a nightmare for Megatron to manage.
The group of five can bind themselves together to form Menasor. Motormaster, in particular, is a desirable collectors’ item today. In May 2022, a 1986 Motormaster in its unopened original packaging earned $3,000 (plus $75 shipping) on eBay.
Ironhide – $2,900
An ancient comrade of Optimus Prime, Ironhide is highly motivated to take action and spares little time for chatter. In a few universes, he combines with other Autobots to form Betatron and Optimus Maximus. But on his own, Ironhide benefits from a unique weapon: a “water gun” that can shoot any liquid.
In vehicle form, Ironhide is a Nissan Sunny-Vanette Coach SGL, created from the same mold as Ratchet of the same era. However, while Ratchet is white with a red streak, Ironhide is red with yellow and orange streaks. On eBay.com, a vintage Ironhide gathered four bidders and earned $2,900 in May 2022.
Blaster – $2,827
Blaster is a Generation 1 Autobot who loves rock ‘n’ roll music. His Decepticon nemesis is Soundwave, and these sworn enemies share sonic powers and the ability to transform into a boombox. Blaster’s minions are called the Autobot Mini-Cassettes.
According to his packaging, Blaster carries an “electro-scrambler gun that disrupts electrical devices.” A Blaster in brand-new condition earned $2,827 after attracting four bidders in May 2022.
Cyclonus – $2,800
“Compassion is the Autobots’ downfall,” Cyclonus is quoted on his toy packaging. He is unwaveringly loyal to Galvatron and the Decepticons. Despite his particular strength and intelligence, he never even considers a coup, instead repeating his motto to any dissenters: “All Hail Galvatron!”
Unlike the Transformers based on earthly vehicles, Cyclonus transforms into a purple fighter jet from the planet Cybertron. An eBay sale with a single bid in May 2022 saw a vintage Cyclonus fetch $2,800.
Skids – $2,125
Skids lives in his own world. He’s a quiet and thoughtful theoretician, and a long-time member of the Autobots. In toy form, he comes armed with a liquid nitrogen rifle, twin electron blasters and a rocket pod launcher. His vehicle form is a Honda City Turbo.
Unusually for an Autobot car, Skids has rear wheels that fold away into his feet when he enters robot mode. This toy from 1985 sold in unopened packaging for an impressive $2,125 in May 2022, with 13 bidders showing an interest.
Soundwave and Buzzsaw – $2,000
Blaster’s Decepticon counterpart is named Soundwave. He uses his sonic abilities to spy on both the Autobots and Decepticons, collecting snippets of conversation that he can use for blackmail. He can convert into a cassette player and was packaged alongside Buzzsaw, a flying ‘Mini Cassette’.
The packaging includes a description of both figures, with Buzzsaw’s paragraph stating: “He approaches his lethal tasks like a fine artist.” This 1984 two-in-one toy set sold for $2,000 on June 5, 2022.
Mirage – $2,000
With his posh accent and snobby attitude, Mirage used to belong to the upper classes of Cybertron. He owned mansions and went turbofox hunting on his private parks. The war forces Mirage to bond with ordinary Cybertronians, and he picks the side of the Autobots.
Mirage was released as an Autobot Car toy between 1984 and 1988. He comes with a rocket-dart hunting rifle and missile launchers. The delicate waist pivot makes this toy particularly prone to breakages. One Mirage model sold for $2,000 in a single bid in May 2022.
Slag – $2,000
“I have no need for friends, even less for enemies,” Slag is quoted on his toy packaging. Slag is a wildly violent Dinobot with the ability to breathe fire and melt his enemies. He takes the form of a Triceratops.
He was released as a second series toy in 1985. His rocket launcher nestles into his shoulder socket and he also came with a red sword and a silver “electro-blaster”. This classic Hasbro toy sold for $2,000 on eBay in May 2022, and was labelled as “a brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item.”
Snarl – $2,000
The perpetually miserable Snarl works for Grimlock, but he rarely interacts with his comrades. In the cartoon series, Snarl was granted the form of a Stegosaur by the Ark but he particularly dislikes this form. He fears that the earthly conflict will prevent him from ever returning to his home planet of Cybertron.
In robot form, Snarl is heavily armoured in gold vacuum-metalized armour plates. He comes with a red energo-blade and a trio of black missiles for his rocket launcher. In another offering from Wheeljack’s Lab, one Snarl Dinobot sold for $2,000 in May 2022.
Rodimus – $1,989
Hot Rod, also known as Rodimus or Hot Rodimus, is an overly-confident Autobot who was mentored by the veteran Kup in his youth. Hot Rod also has an alternative persona named Rodimus Prime, who is contrastingly full of self-doubt and worry.
Rodimus takes the form of a black convoy truck. On eBay, Rodimus is a somewhat rare sighting. One example. manufactured in China with Japanese packaging, earned $1,989 in an eBay auction in June 2022.
Snaptrap – $1,989
The Generation 1 toy Snaptrap belongs to the Seacon line, and is given the title “Butcher of the Bogs” for his violent behaviour as a mechanical turtle. He sold for $1,989 on eBay in June 2022.
The seller in Sweden wrote: “He has recently returned from grading and received an 80 with the very strong subgrades of 80 85 90. To be honest it was disappointing to get an 80 on this one and I can’t really explain why either. Perhaps it’s because of the lower left corner on the front of the box, maybe. This really is a beauty! It is tape sealed on both sides, no tape is cut or similar. There is also no flapcrease.”
Cliffjumper – $1,940
Cliffjumper ends up stranded on Earth when the Ark crash-lands during an asteroid field clearing mission. He comes back to life in 1984 and is placed under the command of Prowl. Cliffjumper is an accomplished fighter, with the battle-cry of “Lemme at ’em!”
Cliffjumper can transform into a Porsche 924 Turbo. In the 80s, the toy was available in either red or yellow. One factory-sealed yellow Cliffjumper sold for $1,940 in May 2022. The seller was located in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
Hoist – $1,800
The good-natured and merry Hoist is an accomplished medic. He has a British accent and gives routine check-ups to all of the Autobots off the battlefield. He is best friends with the architect Grapple.
Hoist can turn into a tow truck, and he has had 18 iterations in different countries and toylines over the decades. One eBay seller in Terre Haute, Indiana, sold a 1985 Hoist for an impressive $1,800 in May 2022.
Ultra Magnus – $1,708
Nicknamed Ultra Mammoth, Ultra Magnus has a steely soldier’s attitude and is particularly selfless among the Autobots. Much admired by his peers as well as the Decepticons, he is occasionally packaged alongside a small robot named Minimus Ambus.
One Ultra Magnus fetched $1,708 on eBay in May 2022. “[Ultra Magnus figures are] very hard to find graded these days,” the seller noted. “Painted Face and rubber wheels version… awesome piece. When I bought Magnus there were two little cracks on each side by the back… hardly noticeable, but I want to mention it.”