Collecting Treasures: ‘Star Wars’ fan collected 10,000-plus rare, vintage pieces

Star Wars piecesA trilogy of Star Wars memorabilia auctions was truly out of this world

OK, I’m exaggerating. But for us, this trilogy of Star Wars memorabilia auctions was truly out of this world. We had never seen or heard about a collection of this magnitude.

The consignor contacted our auction house in late November. He had inherited the massive collection of more than 10,000 items and wanted to sell them quickly. I wish I could have videotaped my crew’s reaction when they arrived to pick up the collection.

This Star Wars fan collected everything from rare vintage toys, posters, die-cuts and lunch boxes to fast-food restaurant receipts and soda lids with the Star Wars logo. He had duplicates of many items and saved dozens of empty toy and figurine boxes — one of these alone could sell for $40.

My team packed a 26-foot truck from floor to ceiling with the collectibles and made their way back to the auction house. I called in a Star Wars toy expert to help us sort through the pieces and determine which items were the rarest. It took us approximately three weeks to photograph and catalog everything.

Fortunate timing

I wish I could take credit for choosing Saturday, Dec. 17, as the date of the first auction. Honestly, I didn’t realize that “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was opening the night before.

On auction day, we had bidders show up in their Star Wars T-shirts and even more action online. Some of the pieces that did well that day included a Star Wars Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon that sold for $590 and a 1977 Kenner Star Wars Radio Controlled Jawa Sandcrawler that sold for $450.

Our second auction took place on Dec. 31, four days after Carrie Fisher died. We watched as fans gathered for a memorial lightsaber walk at Tempe Town Lake the night before our auction. Clearly, this was a huge loss and we wanted to be sensitive to that.

We did see an uptick in online bidding, and we had a steady crowd of bidders throughout our auction on New Year’s Eve.

Some of the items that did well that day included a set of 79 original Star Wars action figures that sold for $1,000, a box of 1970s-80s Star Wars figure weapons and accessories that realized $950 and a 1978 Kenner Star Wars Princess Leia 11.5-inch figure that realized $275.

Our final Star Wars memorabilia auction took place Jan. 7. More vintage pieces were auctioned off including a group of 11 Star Wars 12-inch figures that sold for $530 and a 1978 Star Wars X-Wing and Tie Fighter that realized $225.

Big attraction

Overall, our Star Wars trilogy of auctions did a whopping $50,000 plus, attracting more than 5,000 live and online bidders.

Today, I read that George Lucas will build a $1 billion museum in Los Angeles that will include Star Wars memorabilia from his personal collection. Earlier this week, I saw that “Star Wars: Episode VIII” will open Dec. 15 this year.

People can’t get enough of Star Wars memorabilia, and this is a phenomenon that I don’t see slowing down any time soon.

Erik Hoyer owns EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale., or @EJs_Auction on Twitter.

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