Retro fix–The ultimate Star Wars toy auction doubles as the ultimate toy catalog

Anyone who grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy also grew up with the Kenner line of action figures and other toys.  Eagerly awaiting kids learned about each new figure and each new ship and playset via commercials during Saturday morning cartoons.  They also learned about them in the Sears and JC Penney Christmas catalogs and mini-catalogs that accompanied certain ships, games and playsets–making checklists from the catalog for Santa was a key component of being a kid.  Over the next two days an auction house in Valencia, California is selling off a Star Wars fan’s ultimate dream collection.  At its Vintage Toys and Collectibles Live Auction, auction house Prop Store is auctioning off a spectacular collection of the Star Wars toys most kids from the era are familiar with, plus many of the rarer toys and prototypes that were known for decades to exist only through rumor and occasional obscure references.  Among the collection is a high-quality collection of nearly 100 pieces from Lucasfilm executive Howard Kazanjian.

Long before the latest Star Wars trilogy, Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill mentioned in interviews that certain Lucasfilm professionals received the line of new tie-in toy products as they were rolled out.  He mentioned that his kids enjoyed most of them, and he’s joked about wishing he’d saved some in the original boxes because of the sale prices some achieve today.  Kazanjian was also on that distribution list, and he maintained the toys he received in the mail for 40 years, some boxes were never opened and remain in near mint condition.  Prop Store’s auction catalog is incredible, a full color book of photographs and descriptive information almost as exciting as the auction itself–an extraordinary trip back through time even if you’re not able to drop $5,000–minimum–on a rare vinyl-caped Jawa or Yak Face variant action figure.

Bop bags, a Luke headset radio, Give-a-Show projectors, all the ships and action figures you remember, and trading cards are just the beginning,  The auction is featuring the rare Cloud City cardboard playset kids first saw in the Sears catalog–the only early playset that included four action figures (currently bidding at $400).  There’s the radio-controlled Sandcrawler (currently at $2,500), rare plush toys each starting at bids in the thousands of dollars, and all but the rare IG-88 figure in the large-sized version that was created for the key characters to match up with G.I. Joe and The Six Million Dollar Man.

But the 3.75-inch action figures make up the bulk of the toys hitting the auction block today.  The rare vinyl-caped Jawa even before the auction starts is already bid up to $6,000 (all bidders must pay the strike price plus more than 20% of the price for now-standard auction house fees).  An original R2-D2 is at $4,000, and if you want one of the rare “Power of the Force” Yak Face figures, it’s going to cost you more than $8,000.  At the end of the initial run of The Empire Strikes Back, I remember an entire wall of Yoda figures at my Target store being sold on clearance at fifty cents apiece.  That action figure type in this auction has already been bid up to $1,000.  In hindsight the figures on that clearance display were worth a small fortune.

Other Star Wars items include toy blueprints, bed sheets, the rare sleeping bag, lunch boxes, Burger King glasses, unused store displays, toy and box prototypes, proof sheets and trial card backs for figures.  The auction is by no means a complete set of vintage Kenner products (neither Death Star playset and many figures and vehicles are not in the auction), but it’s a great swath of what is one of the toy industry’s most successful production lines of all time.

The auction includes several lots reflecting items from other classic genre movies and TV shows: a rare large-sized Xenomorph action figure from the movie Alien, toys from Evel Knievel, small-scale G.I. Joes, and toys from Mork & Mindy, Beetlejuice, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, CHiPs, Clash of the Titans, Smokey and the Bandit, The Dukes of Hazzard, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rocky, Tron, Masters of the Universe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Star Trek (including prototypes), and the animated The Lord of the Rings.

Among the big prize pieces found in the auction are the ten Boba Fett 3.75-inch action figures in different variations and packaging–including one with removable rocket–with starting bids at $1,500 to $12,500.

You can download a pdf version of the bound Prop Store Vintage Toys and Collectibles Live Auction catalog and learn more about bidding in the auction here at the Prop Store website.  The printed, full-color, giant auction catalog is available for $35 as of the date of publication here.  The auction runs through tomorrow, Friday, March 1, 2019.

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