Around this time last year, a Star Wars collection filled with rare memoribilia sold for more than half a million dollars at a Sotheby’s auction.
The toys weren’t necessarily perfect – in the box, in mint condition, yes – but many had flawed packaging or had been recalled for safety or design issues. The most attractive Star Wars toys to collectors are often the toys that weren’t mass-produced, but rather were pulled from the market or released in very limited edition.
The most appealing trait? A toy that was never played with at all.
Take in these rare finds so you’ll know them if you see them at a thrift store near you.
Palitoy Death Star Playset
In 1979, Canada was one of the only countries opting to release a cardboard play set of the Death Star. The limited release makes it hard to find now, and the cardboard construction makes it hard to find in any kind of reasonable condition. At the time, it was a beautiful, detailed playset for imaginative play. But if you didn’t play with it, now, it’s selling for upwards of $3,000 at auctions.
Bib Fortuna + Colgate toothpaste
— Amy Ratcliffe (@amy_geek) January 15, 2012
A 1983 tube of Colgate toothpaste combined with a Bib Fortuna action figure from Kenner’s Return of the Jedi line is one of the rarest pieces of Star Wars merchandise on earth. Spot one at Rancho Obi-Wan, a museum in California operated by Steve Sansweet. Sansweet is recognized by Guinness World Records as being the saga’s top collector. Fan or not, you just read a paragraph filled with very strange facts.
R2D2 Nikko Projector DVD Player
Just 1,000 R2D2 Nikko Projector DVD players with Millennium Falcon remote controls were made in 2008, when they sold for $2,700. They projected images, charged iPods, and moved and danced. The average price on eBay for the loveable entertainment system is now selling for $4,000.
Star Wars Early Bird Certificate Package
Nobody really had any idea that Star Wars action figures were going to be such a phenomenon in 1977 when the first movie was released. That oversight led to Kenner not being prepared to supply toys in time for Christmas that year. Instead, they released a box – yes, a box – with a certificate for kids to mail in, in return for four action figures (Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and R2-D2). At the 2016 Sotheby’s auction, the empty box – one of only five known to still exist – sold for $20,000. What would be even rarer still? Finding one with a certificate still intact.
“The first edition of the novelization of "Star Wars". Released in 1976 months before the film. pic.twitter.com/lf1ZOBzQrx” I have this book!
— Dave Margers (@davemargers) January 1, 2014
Before the movie even came to theatres, Star Wars the book was popular enough to sell 125,000 copies. Ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, legendary Ralph McQuarrie created the artwork for the book (and later, was the concept artist on the film). The hardcover ranges in value from $450 – $700 for an unsigned version, to $1,250 if signed by Foster, and the paperwork is on average valued between $30 and $100.
Luke Skywalker vs. Wampa
The Wampa in 1997’s Luke Skywalker vs. Tampa collector series is white and fluffy, like in the movie, but also features a ring of yellow from thigh to armpit for no reason at all. The more yellow, the more costly the action figure was. Think that’s gross? Google “Money Shot Chewbacca.” Or don’t. Definitely don’t.
The Star Wars site brushed off the apparent extra appendage in this 1977 C-3PO Topps’ training card by calling it a “trick of timing and light.” One mint condition “obscene error” card listed on eBay is valued at $472, but on average it goes for about $20. Before catching the error, the card was printed in a full run and isn’t actually rare, nor is the follow-up corrected card.
Chewbacca’s family from the Holiday Special
Chewbacca and his family, as seen in the Star Wars’ Holiday Special, were modelled into prototypes, but scrapped before they made it much further. Kenner thought the toys would be a huge hit, but quickly realized the Holiday Special wasn’t as popular as they had planned. Attichitcuk (Chewy’s father)and Mallatobuck (Chewy’s wife) are revised versions of Chewy, while Lumpawarrump (Chewy’s son) was modeled on a Fisher-Price Adventure People figure named Johnny from the Wild Animal Safari set. The prototypes are just one known set in the world.
Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon LEGO set
In 2007, the 5,195-piece Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon was produced as the largest set ever created by LEGO. It sold for $500 in 2007 and included five mini figures and a 311-page instruction manual. It was discontinued in 2009, sold out in 2010 and included a certificate of authenticity – as a result, it now sells for about $4,000, but one lucky collector took it home from eBay for $16,000 in 2015.
Kylo Ren in a Captain Phasma box
#ForceFriday brought excitement to Star Wars fans wanting good deals on Star Wars loot in 2015, and then turned out to be even more thrilling with the discovery of ‘cosplaying Captain Phasma.’ A keen shopper found Kylo Ren, Star Wars villain, packaged in a box labeled for storm trooper Captain Phasma. The store manager had been told to not put the mishap merchandise out, but at least one shopper got her hands on it. Not long after posting a pic to her Instagram account, three commenters – surely collectors – offered to buy it from her. Let’s hope she resists the urge to play with it and saves it for the future.