“May the Force be With You” Star Wars Collectables
by John Talbot
In 1977 Star Wars was released in cinemas all over the world. The film
revolutionised the cinema industry, and the two sequels, The Empire Strikes
Back, and The Return of the Jedi were equally sucessful. The films have all been
digitally remastered with new footage added and re-released to mark the 20th
anniversary. Around the films has been built a massive merchandising industry
which seems set to grow as a new generation of fans arrives willing to buy figures,
comics, posters, autographs, cells, games, puzzles, light sabres, masks, stationary,
videos of the films, videos of the making of the films, display pieces, promotional
material, Pez dispensers, Tazos etc etc etc.
As the appetite for Star Wars collectables continues, the values of rarer objects
and hard to find pieces increases. In the last few years prices of Star Wars toys
have risen markedly. This is partly due to the increase in Star Wars collectors
as a whole, and also due to a growing awareness among the general public as to the
investment value of collectables. The appearance of new Star Wars novels such
as ‘Heir to the Empire’, the 20th anniversary and the re-release of the films
has also fuelled collectors and speculator interest.
Toys that could be bought for a few $ or back in 1977 now fetch many hundreds of $ or .
Kenner were a fairly new company back in 1977 and were able to buy the toy license
for the Star Wars trilogy of films. They produced hundreds of figures, vehicles and
accessories for the three films up until 1984. The first series
of Kenner figures produced from 1977-1979 included a Jawa with plastic cape which
can now fetch around $1,000 if in mint condition. Collectors pay a premium for
boxed figures, upto 10 times as much for certain figures. Kenner began producing Star Wars
toys again in 1995. Some of the newer figures are becoming very sought after already.
Exclusives and mail aways have always been sought after. These are often limited editions
so are difficult to get hold of. Sears had an exclusive Cantina Adventure Set to tie
in with the original Star Wars feature which can now fetch nearly $500. There have been
several new exclusives including a translucent Obi-Wan Kenobi available with
Lay’s Potato Chips, and a Star Wars Insider exclusive of Figrun D’An. These are almost
certain to become very collectable, especially outside of the US where these figures
are more difficult to find.
Aside from action figures there has been a great deal of interest in Star Wars comics.
The original comics were produced by Marvel, and until a couple of years ago it wouldhave been possible to buy a complete run fairly cheaply. Prices for these comics
have sky rocketed, although interest in the slightly larger format produced for the
UK market has been considerably less. Dark Horse have been producing the new Star Wars
related comics for the last couple of years, with an ever growing array of titles
including R2-D2 and C3PO in their own Droids mini-series. The Dark Empire series produced
by Dark Horse was a sell out and already risen in value to be about four times its cover
The present demand for merchandise looks here to stay, but the market is very fragile
and people should collect things they like and not because one day it might be valuable.
Items that are available only in certain countries are always popular in
other countries. Part of the fun of collecting is having something that your friends
and other collectors want. With the first of the new Star Wars films set for release in
the next couple of years, the range of characters and merchandise will also rise.
So start saving!