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Discovering the World‘s Most Expensive Funko Pop Figures

Since their debut in 2010, Funko Pop vinyl figures have become a global phenomenon, captivating collectors with their charming style and ever-expanding variety. With over 8000 different figures produced so far, Funko Pops allow fans to own a small piece of their favorite pop culture icons, from movies and TV to video games and sports.

While the average Pop figure retails for a modest $10, the most sought-after collectibles have reached astronomical values on the secondary market. In this deep dive, we‘ll explore the elite tier of Funko Pops that command five and even six-figure price tags, and examine the factors that make them so valuable.

As an avid Funko collector and digital technology expert, I‘ll provide insights on how online marketplaces and social media have shaped the Pop collecting landscape, and share tips for authenticating rare figures. We‘ll also take a data-driven look at the overall Funko market, and consider both the investment potential and personal value of collecting these coveted vinyl treasures.

The Top 5 Most Valuable Funko Pops

5. Freddy Funko as Jaime Lannister (Bloody) – $19,330

Exclusive to San Diego Comic-Con 2013, this blood-splattered Jaime Lannister variant is one of the rarest Game of Thrones Pops ever made, with only 12 units in existence. While there are few confirmed sales, POP Price Guide estimates the value at over $19,000 based on collector demand.

4. Stan Lee Superhero Metallic Platinum – $18,000+

Released in 2021 as an exclusive lottery prize, only 10 of these special chrome Pops were made, each hand-signed by the late, great Stan Lee himself. Beyond its rarity, this figure‘s unique metallic finish and connection to the legendary Marvel creator make it a true collector‘s item.

3. Freddy Funko as Venom – $19,090+

With just 24 units given out at the 2019 Funko Fundays event, this Venom/Freddy Funko mashup has become a holy grail for Marvel fans. One sold at auction for over $30,000 in 2021, though more recent estimates place the value around $19K.

2. Clockwork Orange Alex DeLarge Glow-in-the-Dark Chase – $32,400+

This haunting glow-in-the-dark figure of the iconic Clockwork Orange antihero was never actually released due to licensing issues, making it incredibly rare. In 2022, one sold for a staggering $32,435, setting a new record for the most expensive Funko Pop.

1. Freddy Funko as Willy Wonka (Golden Ticket) – $100,000

The current reigning champion, this one-of-a-kind 24K gold chrome Freddy Funko/Willy Wonka mashup was the grand prize in a special Golden Ticket contest. The single-run figure sold for an astonishing $100,000 in 2021, solidifying its place in Funko history.

To put these values in perspective, consider that the average price of a Funko Pop across all categories was $21.64 in 2022, and even a high-end "grail" Pop typically sells for $150-$200 according to PopPriceGuide. So what makes the rarest of the rare soar in value?

"Exclusivity and scarcity are two key driving factors," explains Top Pops, a leading Funko news source with over 90K followers. "Many convention or ‘con‘ exclusive Pops like the notorious Alex DeLarge were never made available to the general public and had extremely small production runs. Combined with the popularity of their source material, these Pops took on an almost mythical status."

The Power of Digital in the Funko Market

Over the past decade, e-commerce and social media have completely reshaped how collectibles like Funko Pops are bought, sold, and valued. Online marketplaces like eBay and Facebook groups made it easier than ever for collectors to connect, trade, and discover new releases. Dedicated appraisal sites like Pop Price Guide emerged to track aftermarket sales data and provide real-time value estimates for tens of thousands of figures.

At the same time, social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok enabled collectors to showcase their hauls, share unboxing videos, and even livestream shopping trips. According to a survey by MRC Data, nearly half of Funko Pop collectors are active on collector-focused social media weekly.

This digital-first culture has been a major boon for the Funko business. The company‘s net sales topped $1 billion for the first time in 2021, and is on track to surpass that in 2022. Funko‘s own e-commerce sales skyrocketed 53% year-over-year. Limited edition drops and "con exclusive" pre-sales have become reliable drivers of hype (and server crashes) for the Funko site.

Yet the rise of online marketplaces has also opened the doors to bad actors looking to cash in with counterfeit figures. With ultra-rare Pops fetching such high prices, scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in their fakes.

"Authentication is so important when you‘re dealing with grail pieces that might cost as much as a car," advises Popcast co-host Sully. "Always buy from reputable sellers, and look for verification photos of all angles, including the foot stamp, box, and any special stickers or markers. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is."

Funko Pops as an Investment – Crunching the Numbers

The headline-grabbing sales of the most expensive Pops have understandably fueled interest in "flipping" new releases and holding figures long-term as financial investments. But do the numbers support this as a viable strategy?

Looking at historical Pop Price Guide data, the average year-over-year appreciation of the top 1000 most valuable Pops was a solid 18% between 2021 and 2022. Of course, averages can be skewed by outliers, and not all Pops are created equal. Figures from extremely popular fandoms like Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney tend to hold their value the best, with the most exclusive convention Pops having the highest potential upside.

However, Funko collecting experts generally advise against buying Pops solely as an investment, especially for those just starting out.

"I always tell people to collect what they love first," says Caitlin, curator of the popular Funko News Network. "Very few Pops are going to make you rich, and banking on a new release to shoot up in value is extremely risky. The market is so fickle and fast-moving. Build a collection that reflects your interests and brings you joy, and think of any appreciation as a bonus."

With over 1000 new Funko products released each year, only a tiny fraction will end up being "grails." And just like traditional investments, collectible values can go down as well as up. According to Pop Price Guide, nearly a third of Pops valued over $20 in 2021 actually lost value in 2022.

Funko Pop Value and the Nostalgia Factor

So if collecting Funko Pops isn‘t a surefire path to riches, why has the hobby exploded in popularity over the past decade? For many fans, it‘s less about the monetary value than the emotional value of the characters and memories the figures represent.

"Funko Pops tap into the power of nostalgia," explains Dr. Clay Routledge, a leading researcher on nostalgia and pop culture. "Collecting these figures is a way for people to reconnect with the stories and characters that have shaped their lives and identities. In an increasingly digital world, there‘s something especially compelling about having a physical totem of those memories."

This nostalgia factor also helps explain why Pops from legacy franchises like Star Wars, Disney, and DC Comics remain among the most consistently popular and valuable. It‘s the multigenerational appeal and staying power of the IP that makes a Pop collectible gold.

Yet as Funko‘s portfolio has expanded, the company has also tapped into niche fandoms and more unconventional licenses, from drag queens to NFTs. This "something for everyone" approach has helped fuel Funko‘s impressive growth, with second quarter sales up 33.7% in 2022.

"We‘re not in the business of curating pop culture – we‘re in the business of reflecting it," said Funko CEO Andrew Perlmutter in an interview with ICv2. "Our fans are passionate and diverse, and we want everyone to be able to find a figure that speaks to them."

Final Thoughts

The rise of the Funko Pop from humble origins to a pop culture juggernaut has been nothing short of remarkable. What began as a quirky riff on nostalgia has grown into a global collecting craze and billion-dollar business.

While stories of record-breaking sales for the most coveted Pops rightfully garner attention, they can distort perceptions about the hobby. For the vast majority of collectors, the joy comes not from a six-figure payday, but from the simple pleasure of surrounding themselves with beloved characters and connecting with fellow fans.

"At the end of the day, collecting is about what makes you happy," reflects Lucy, known as The Pop Queen on Instagram. "The numbers and value tracking can be great tools, but it‘s easy to lose sight of why you started in the first place. Whether you have 10 Pops or 1000, the best collection is the one that puts a smile on your face."

As we‘ve seen with other cultural crazes from baseball cards to Beanie Babies, collectible markets are unpredictable by nature. Today‘s record-breaking grail could be tomorrow‘s garage sale fodder. But for the legions of devoted Funko fans who hunt for Fundays tickets or brave the San Diego heat for a Comic Con exclusive, monetary value may be beside the point.

Ask a hardcore Funko collector the most expensive Pop they own, and they might quote a dollar amount. Ask them their favorite Pop – the one they‘d run into a burning building to save or hold onto in a Marie Kondo-style purge – and they‘ll tell you a story. A story of a favorite movie, a childhood memory, or an unforgettable gift. Because that‘s what collecting is ultimately about – stories. And that‘s the real magic of these unassuming little vinyl figures.

From the first Big Boy Pop in 2010 to the latest virtual Freddy Funko NFT, the Funko story is still being written. As the pop culture landscape continues to evolve at a frenetic pace, Funko will evolve with it, adopting the latest technologies and reflecting the zeitgeist in plastic pop art form.

But what won‘t change is the beating heart of the hobby – the passionate, generous, slightly obsessive community that has made Funko Pops a cultural force, one $10 figure at a time. Whether you‘re a casual window shopper or a grizzled Pop veteran, there‘s room for everyone on this wild ride. So grab your favorite Pop, and let‘s see where the road takes us next.