What Is Bearbrick, Why Is It So Expensive And Where To Get It In Malaysia?

An icon for fashion and modern art
By: Balqis Ariffin
June 17, 2022

With its vibrant design and signature bear shaped figurine with a potbelly, you must have certainly laid your eyes on this vinyl bear somewhere on the internet. Bearbrick formally known as Be@rbrick is a collectable figurine that has thrived from the streetwear scene to major pop culture for over two decades. 

Dubbed as an adult collectable toy, Bearbrick has deftly weaved fashion luxury and modern art with plastic figurines, creating a long-lasting impression. In fact, the most coveted Bearbrick can be sold for over a whopping thousand of dollars during the auction. Despite their simplicity, these vinyl figurines have garnered immense popularity across the globe.

What  Exactly is Bearbrick?

Photo by Alex Moiseev on Unsplash

Bearbrick was created by Medicom Toy, a Japanese company founded by Tatsuhiko Akashi. Their earliest creation was an anthropomorphic figurine, Kubrick and as you guess it was named after the legendary filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick. 

The first Bearbrick was actually released in 2001 for the World Character Convention in Tokyo. The organiser requested hundreds of toys that can be gifted to the attendees. Inspired by the teddy bear which was celebrating its 100th anniversary back then, Akashi decided to place a bear head on the Kubrick figurine. Apart from the imprinted Be@rbrick logo, the figurine also measured at 70 mm which became the standard size of the Bearbrick later on. 

If you’re new to the scene, the Bearbrick is produced in several different sizes including 50% (35mm) which is usually released for keychains, 70% (50mm), 100% (70mm), 200% (145 mm), 400% (280mm) and 1000% (700mm). However, both 400% (280mm) and 1000% (700mm) sizes are usually more preferred by collectors. 

What Makes Bearbrick So Expensive?

With its hefty price tag, Bearbrick is more than just a vinyl figurine as it is perceived as a prestigious artefact that is worth investing in. Aside from its exclusivity, each of the figurines is handcrafted by artisans, adding more value to this timeless piece. 

Plus, the Bearbrick toy features an amazing design that is limited produced, so its price is often higher than the initial value. The price for collaboration editions is far higher as they are difficult to collect. 

Medicom Toy has collaborated with numerous artists, musicians, cartoon characters and fashion brands to create exclusive editions including Winnie the Pooh, Avengers, Star Wars, Chanel, Nike, X-Large, Hermès, Comme Des Garçons, Bape, CLOT, Levis, Stüssy, Yue Minjun, Takashi Murakami, KAWS, Hebru Brantley, Daft Punk and Sandaime J Soul Brothers

With the limited amount of Bearbrick vinyl bear available for each edition, it has become a prized possession for collectors. In fact, the most expensive figurine ever sold is from the Yue Minjun “Qiu Tu” Bearbrick edition. Released in 2008, the highly rated figurine was sold for a staggering amount of GBP 126,000. 

The Most Coveted Bearbrick Designs

Apart from Yue Minjun “Qiu Tu” Bearbrick, there are other rare collections that are highly sought after by collectors. If you truly want to splurge for some investment they are totally worth every single penny.

Source: Sotheby’s

The Chanel collection which was designed by the late Karl Lagerfeld is on the top of the collector’s list. Only a limited amount is available as 1,000 pieces were produced in 2007. The majority of the figurines were on display at the Chanel boutique. The Chanel x Bearbrick was designed in the signature tweed suit complete with a pearl necklace. Released for Hong Kong Blood Cancer Foundation, it was reported that a figurine was sold for over $30,000 during an auction. 

With a recorded selling price of GBP 14,000, the Swarovski x Colette Bearbrick is one of the rarest collections. Available in 40% and 1000%, the figurine is embellished with Swarovski crystals as part of the “White Crystal Christmas” edition. 

Ask any collectors and they will tell you that anything with Mickey Mouse is a collectable item. The Readymade x Mickey Mouse Bearbrick features a 1000% size figurine that fetches a high price. As part of the collaboration with Readymade, it can be dressed in a Ghillie suit, signifying the brand’s initiative in upcycling military garments. 

Source: Royal Selangor International

For local collectors, the Royal Selangor Bearbrick edition is certainly a must-have. It offers several variants including steampunk, arabesque, sorayama and pewter with stunning designs. The figurine was sold higher with a recorded amount of RM13,000.  

A BAPE collection is considered valuable for personal collectors, especially the Readymade  A Bathing Ape Bearbrick edition.  The collection was released in 2018 and what makes it stand out from other ranges is that the figurine was dressed in a real BAPE hoodie. The collection recorded a market value of $20,000 and even more.

How To Buy Bearbrick in Malaysia?

To start collecting your own Bearbrick, simply purchase the preferred item on Bearbrick official website. However the product available on its website is mainly the general collection, but if you want to get your hands on the rarest Bearbrick, they are usually sold at auction. Currently, they are offering SERIES 43 with new collections from the Pink Panther, Andy Warhol and Billionaire Boys Club.

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