Is it a toy, or is it art? Boasting boundary-breaking collabs with artists, designers and musicians, Medicom’s Bearbrick is in a class of its own. The bear-headed figurine is widely credited with sparking the modern madness for collectible toys, and for good reason: partnerships with creators like KAWS, BAPE and even Karl Lagerfeld have produced some of the most sought-after—and most valuable—toys of all time.
We can thank Medicom’s founder, Tatsuhiko Akashi, for the Bearbrick’s existence. Founded in 1996, Medicom burst onto the collectible scene with the Kubrick, a LEGO-like figurine with savvy pop-cultural tie-ins. Thanks to the Kubrick’s success, Akashi was tapped to create a handout gift for the 2001 World Character Convention in Tokyo, celebrating the 100th birthday of the iconic teddy bear. But the commission posed a logistical challenge for the then-fledgling company, with hundreds more orders than it could rapidly produce from scratch. Luckily, Akashi’s ingenuity carried the day. He cleverly modified Medicom’s flagship toy, replacing the Kubrick’s humanoid head with that of a bear—and the BE@RBRICK was born.
While the original Bearbrick stood 70 mm high, today Bearbrick sizes range from 35 mm (50%) to a whopping 700 mm (1000%). Collecting an entire series is a feat in itself: released only twice a year in limited runs, Bearbricks are sold in randomly distributed “blind boxes,” making the rarest models incredibly hard to come by. The resale market is the surest bet for completionists and hardcore collectors, and resale values for the most coveted toys have risen accordingly. Ahead, find five of our favorites for any collector, including an ultra-rare set of KAWS Bearbricks and a sneaker-inspired collab with Nike SB.
5 Bearbricks to Add to Your Collection Now
BEARBRICK x KAWS Chompers 100% and 400%
This KAWS Bearbrick from 2003 marks the second collab between the iconic toy brand and famed street artist KAWS, aka Brian Donnelly. Over the next 20 years, their creative partnership would go on to produce some of the most recognizable (and valuable) Bearbricks of all time. Released in an exclusive edition of only 500, the Chomper comes in its original box as a set of two, including a classic Bearbrick 100 and a scaled up Bearbrick 400. Nab this set to own a piece of collectible history: this KAWS Bearbrick paved the way for many subsequent collabs and set the stage for the high-end Bearbrick market that exists today.
BEARBRICK Mastermind x BAPE Yellow Camo Set 100% and 400%
Medicom hooked up with two of Japan's hottest streetwear brands in 2021 to make this split-identity Bearbrick. Featuring iconic imagery from both labels, the Mastermind Japan x BAPE Bearbrick is dressed in head-to-toe yellow camo, with BAPE’s infamous full-zip hoodie bisecting the form. One half of the Bear’s face is adorned with Mastermind’s skull and crossbones, while the other half is emblazoned with BAPE’s shark branding. The Mastermind x BAPE Bearbrick comes as a set of two, consisting of a Bearbrick 100 and a Bearbrick 400, new and in original packaging.
BEARBRICK Keith Haring #8 1000%
Created for the 8th series of Keith Haring and Bearbrick collaborations, this Bearbrick 1000 pays tribute to the legendary NYC street artist. Its body adorned with Haring’s rhythmically stylized imagery, the 70cm-tall bear cuts a striking figure. Black-outlined characters and red hearts vibrate with energy against the Bearbrick’s white base, in an oversized celebration of Haring’s unmistakable pop-graffiti aesthetic.
BEARBRICK Nike SB 2020 White 1000%
For this 2020 release, Medicom reunited with frequent collaborator Nike SB to create a limited edition Bearbrick set. Featuring laces up the body, a Swoosh along the side and at the back left leg, and “stitched” detailing, this Nike SB Bearbrick 1000 evokes the classic sneaker’s styling. Completing the look, the Bearbrick’s packaging mimics Nike SB’s Rainbow Box, used throughout the 2020 period.
BEARBRICK ADER error 400%
Collaborating with South Korean fashion brand ADER error, Medicom Toy released this visually striking Bearbrick 400 coated in a vivid royal blue. The 2021 release is adorned with ADER error motifs, including the brand’s logo at the chest, and its signature slogan—“But near missed things”—along the figure’s left leg. The eye-catching Bearbrick was released alongside a limited edition capsule of matching apparel, boosting its appeal among toy collectors and streetwear aficionados alike.