07 December 2012
Bidders from across the globe interested in 199 figures, which had been given a tiny £150-250 estimate ...
With the exciting news that Disney is planning more Star Wars films after acquiring Lucasfilms, the production company started by the series’ creator George Lucas, it looks like the market for Star Wars collectables could last well into the future. One auctioneer that may be pleased to hear this is Hartleys in Ilkley after a particularly successful Star Wars-related lot realised £3,600 during the Toys and Collectors Sale on 6th October.
Before the auction a seller brought in an old shop box packed with 199 Star Wars figures but wasn’t sure how much they were worth. “It’s quite unusual not to get some advice from the vendor,” explained valuer Charles Hartley who was responsible for researching the items, “but he had acquired them without really gathering much knowledge about them. Also, our valuers tend to know everything there is to know about Corgi or Dinky models, for example, but Star Wars isn’t really their area of expertise.”
Originally it was believed the figures were fairly common examples from Kenner and, despite being exceptionally well maintained in their original boxes, they were given a moderate estimate of £150-250, which equated to around £1 per model. However, things quickly took a more interesting turn, as Charles explains.
“As soon as we released the catalogue, we had a call from an interested buyer who wanted a condition report for all 199 figures. To be honest, at first I was worried it might be a waste of time but upon further inspection we realised that some of the items were from Palitoy and Trilogo, which tend to be worth much more than the Kenner examples.
“We realised that rather than being worth around £1 each, some could be worth around the £20 mark, which meant it was certainly worth putting together the full condition report. In fact, that original interested buyer said he would have been happy to pay £2,000 for the collection so we knew we had something a bit special.”
Hartleys soon had a “snow storm of emails” from around the globe all asking for condition reports on the figures and, although none of individual figures were particularly rare, the fact they were in such fantastic condition attracted a lot of interest.
“Judging by the fact they were in a shop box,” commented Charles, “they could have been ex-shop stock that had fell into the vendor’s lap. It certainly looked like they had never been touched and although there was some yellowing on the plastic bubble, this was due to their age rather than any wear and tear.”
The collection sold for £3,600 and Charles is now interested in selling more Star Wars-related items. “Well, considering we’ve never sold this type of collectable before, we’ve now had other people calling in to enquire if we could sell their collection too because they’ve seen we can sell them for a good amount. Who knows, Star Wars could become our new speciality!”