As the Celebrations get under-way this week there will no doubt be a myriad of exclusive merchandise available only to those who attend. But waylay your envy, for there are still opportunities to gain some rare Star Wars memorabilia that doesn’t even involve having to leave your house and stand in a line! But granted, you will have to pay a substantial amount of money for them. As there are a large amount of collectible items available, let’s concentrate on the one area that contains some of the most highly prized items and arguably means the most to the fans: Action Figures.
We all know the Star Wars action figures that have been released over the years, from the Original 12 Kenner line released in 1978, 1985s improved Powers of the Force line and the following 1995 POTF2 line, all the way up to the modern highly articulated series such as The Legacy Collection and the newer Black Series. We’ve all collected them, all played with them enough to loosen the arms and legs, all displayed them proudly in hermetically sealed cases, all salivated at that one figure that you don’t have yet but are feverishly holding in your shaking hands at your local toy store. And through this excitement and adventure some figures became slightly more obscure and sought after due to a number of reasons such as company recalls, mail-in exclusivity and popularity of the character. Undoubtedly Kenner Toys orchestrated this perfect storm of collect-a-mania by having the rights to production for the Original Trilogy and were responsible for producing five of the rarest action figures, as listed below:
Released in 1978 as part of a few creatures seen in the Cantina, Snaggletooth (Zutton to his friends) was modelled by Kenner from a black & white still sent by Lucasfilm. Without any colour or height reference they made a figure the same height as the human figures wearing a blue spacesuit. However, once released the movie showed a much shorter character wearing a red suit, and the figure was immediately recalled and remade, leaving the blue suited model to be forever clawed at by collectors and fans alike. He has since had an updated Hasbro remake still in the blue suit!
Average selling price: $400
When Kenners Powers of the Force line came to a close in 1985, they had just modelled and released a number of figures from Return of the Jedi. Of these, Saelt-Marae was not considered to be a popular choice for gaining final profit, so Yak Face (as he was known on his backing card) was shipped overseas to Europe and Canada. Few models made it back to the U.S. and he is now demanding high prices as one of the last Kenner releases from their original production run.
Average selling price: $1000
Vinyl cape Jawa
Released as part of the Early Bird Original 12 in 1978, the first Jawa figure came with a vinyl cape similar to the ones worn by the Obi Wan and Vader figures. Kenner felt that the figure wasn’t substantial enough for the asking price and buyers would feel cheated, so for the second wave of the figures they introduced a cloth robe to replace the vinyl one. The vinyl version suffers from damage to the cape and would do well to stay in its original packaging.
Average selling price: $2000
Double-telescoping Lightsaber figures
Also part of Kenners 1978 Original 12, the first iterations of the Jedi wielding their iconic weapons came at a price: fragility. The telescoping lightsabers would pop out of the hand of the figures, having a large tube with a smaller one in the middle that would flick out to extend the blade, but due to the size of the blade it would often break and be difficult to repair so a fixed blade was added to the second wave figures. Of the three released (Vader, Ben and Luke) Vader commands the highest price, partly because he’s awesome!
Average selling price: $6000
Rocket-firing Boba Fett
Chances are, you’ve probably heard of this one already. The ever elusive bounty hunter remains as ruthless in the galaxy as he does in the hands of collectors. Kenner planned to release this toy as part of a mail-in offer but the figure itself only ever made it to prototype stage as the rocket-firing backpack was considered too dangerous for children, so copies of the prototype now are in a non-coloured blue tone along with the bright red rocket. Finding one of these commands a level of reverence and respect as it is reported only a dozen exist in the world!
Average selling price: $10,000
Obviously these numbers reflect the average asking prices on auction and fan club websites, and the value of each figure will only ever increase with time, but these five are still the most highly sought and revered by toy collectors. Finding mint versions of these figures is the goal for most, but any condition would still fetch a decent price. If you think you recognise one of these figures, there are antique experts that can help authenticate them for you, so keep an eye out in your garage/attic/box room for that blue suited ugly guy that you never played with!