May the force be with you if you are looking at buying these Star Wars collectables
Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn takes a look at all things Star Wars
Did you celebrate Star Wars Day? “May the Fourth be with you!”, a play on the Jedi greeting, was started by fans, and has since grown into annual events, celebrations and film showings.
While many times over the last year we may have wished to be in a galaxy far, far away, a nice diversion for many has been sci-fi films, figures and collectables, led by the box-office smashing Star Wars.
Going to see the first film in 1977, I remember thinking the craze wouldn’t last- how wrong I was! Becoming a movie phenomenon, Star Wars also kicked off the demand for movie memorabilia, making George Lucas, who had taken a relatively low salary in return for all merchandising and sequel rights, a multi-billionaire.
Every child who went to see it wanted their own Luke Skywalker, light saber, or Millennium Falcon. Between 1977 and 1978 alone Star Wars sold $100 million of toys, and to this day a ‘Star Wars movie year’ generates $5-$7 billion total merchandising revenue. So the lesson is, if you believe in your idea, keep the rights!
Not all Star Wars items were created equally: much merchandise out there is effectively worthless, including many pieces that people have carefully held on to in hopeful expectation!
Highest prices go to costumes and memorabilia from the film sets themselves, but there are rare and valuable items worth looking out for, as you might just find. These include 1977’s ‘Jawa’ model with rare vinyl cape rather than cotton, and 1980’s ‘Boba Fett’ with functioning rocket launcher (withdrawn due to health and safety concerns!).
Complete and in good condition, these fetch thousands of pounds today, as do editions of the Star Wars Marvel comic issue No.1 which were briefly trialled at 35 cents before being dropped back to 30 after only a few hundred issues; not a bad return for those extra 5 cents.
While, sadly, most of the pieces you or I might have in our loft won’t fetch more than a few pounds, it’s worth checking. Even a relatively common Star Wars figure from the late seventies like Luke Skywalker could be worth £75.
Most mass-produced modern memorabilia is unlikely to accrue even this much, and, much as it’s the collecting rule, I always feel sorry for toys stored in pristine boxes.