What are these Muppets figures called, and are they worth anything?
July 12, 2010 5:25 PM   Subscribe

I have two big Muppet Show figures: Kermit in a director's chair (~2 feet tall) and Animal playing the drums (~1.5 feet tall). Photos here and here. I would like to find out what the official term is for this kind of thing (e.g. figure, "Pre-Pro Sample", mock-up), so I can figure out whether selling them is more of an eBay/Craigslist/freecycle/trash transaction.

They are made out of a heavy, squishy, rubbery material. I believe that they are German manufacturer mock-ups for miniatures; they have labels on the bottom of their bases that say "Pre-Pro Sample" with handwritten dates and notes. My sister was given them about 5 years ago when she was temping for the Jim Henson Company (they were moving or shutting down one of their workshops and got rid of lots of stuff). Thanks!
posted by unknowncommand to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You need to check the forums at muppetcentral. They have a very active collectables area; I'm sure they could give you more info and a ball-park price - I suspect you may be able to sell them there directly to your target market, although I'm unsure if they allow direct transactions like this on their forums.
posted by anastasiav at 5:40 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

On the one hand, I know from experience that if the company allowed some temp to take off with them, they probably aren't very valuable.

On the other hand, you see people on Antiques Roadshow all the time with this sort of thing. A week or so ago there was this guy who had the original figurines used in Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer; he'd obtained them through similar means. They obviously turned out to be worth a lot of money.

Ditto anastaiav, also maybe try to get in touch with someone who might be qualified to appraise toy/pop culture memorabilia like this?
posted by Sara C. at 6:03 PM on July 12, 2010

They're cool! Definitely not freecycle/trash!
posted by kch at 6:14 PM on July 12, 2010

On the one hand, I know from experience that if the company allowed some temp to take off with them, they probably aren't very valuable.

In the toy business, that's absolutely not true. Collectors love this kind of non-mass-produced stuff. It's better than limited edition.

I think prototype or pre-production sample are fine, or you could describe them as maquettes or statues. What would help is if you could track down what the actual finished item was.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:02 PM on July 12, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the leads everyone, this is really helpful. I'll post to the Muppets board and see what they say.

MegoSteve, that's good to know. I think they are tied to the 25th anniversary (the Kermit has a tag saying as much, actually). So maybe something like this ? I don't see an Animal equivalent, but I'll poke around.

mireille, I didn't plan that at all! I'm not sure if that makes me a terrible photographer or an awesome photographer.
posted by unknowncommand at 9:15 PM on July 12, 2010

What you've linked to is one of the Palisades Muppets figures, which are around 6" or so tall. It is extremely unlikely what you have would be action figure prototypes given the size you're describing. Action figures are typically sculpted at twice the size or the same size as the finished product. Also, action figures would sculpted in a way that allows for articulation. If yours were a prototype for what you linked, it would look exactly the same as the finished product and about 12" tall.

It's more likely, given the size and the poses of your pieces, that they were statues of some kind or maybe even store displays.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:01 PM on July 12, 2010

Looking at this page makes me wonder if they aren't part of the a la carte AG line pictured near the bottom. They are nearly the same size as the figures you have, except the 25th anniversary was two years after the ones pictured on the page. This is purely speculation, but it's possible they are unproduced prototypes; according to this post on Muppet Central the company that produced the 2000 figures went out of business around 2001-ish.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:17 PM on July 12, 2010

Response by poster: Interesting. The handwritten notes on the labels of my figures say, "2nd IMA Germany, Received 12/18/02, Comments sent 1/9/03" IMA? or IMA? Neither really fit.
posted by unknowncommand at 12:04 AM on July 13, 2010

Response by poster: Posted. MegoSteve in the lead.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:01 AM on August 6, 2010

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