Star Wars collectors splashed out tens of thousands of pounds on 90 toys including £2,100 for a small plastic spaceship which had been languishing in a Leicestershire loft for nearly 40 years.
The rare Tie Bomber Authentic Imperial Spacecraft toy from film The Empire Strikes Back, owned by a man who worked at a Palitoy factory where the toys were made in the 1980s, was among star lots in a Toy Auction at Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers on June 20, 2019.
Its estimate of £200-£300 was smashed to smithereens before the auction even started with advance bids catapulting the price into orbit before it finally sold for £2,100. Overall, Star Wars bidders paid hammer prices totalling £24,000 for 90 Star Wars lots.
Steve Fulford, toy valuer at Hansons, said: “It was unbelievable. We had high hopes for the auction because the popularity of Star Wars is huge worldwide but these results have taken us into another galaxy.
“For example, lot 227, a Return of the Jedi Greedo figure made in Hong Kong, sold for £1,000 from an estimate of £80-£100, and two Empire Strikes Back Boba Fett figures made £2,300 and £900 respectively, the lower price due to a slight bubble in the packaging. Their original estimates were £300-£500 each.
Other top sellers included lot 241, a Star Wars Storm Trooper from 1980 which made £1,000 from an estimate of £300-£500, and Lot 215, a Jedi Yak Face toy, which sold for £900 from a low estimate of £700.
Mr Fulford said: “The appeal of Star Wars just keeps getting bigger. Plus, toy nostalgia moves with the times as people grow older and new collectors come along who want to invest in childhood nostalgia from the 1970s and 80s.”
Hansons, in Etwall, near Derby, succeeding in sourcing several Star Wars toys thanks to its close proximity to Coalville, a Leicestershire town once home to a Palitoy factory where the toys were made.
For example, the Tie Bomber spaceship, which made £2,100 due to its rarity, was found at a free valuation event at Marlborough Square Methodist Church in Coalville.
The 77-year-old owner of the Tie Bomber, from Coalville, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “I was a clerical worker at Palitoy for 12 years from 1983 to 1995 and, from time to time, surplus stock was sold to staff.
“My son used to like Star Wars and I often bought toys home for him. For some reason, this one was never opened and I found it in the loft. If I bought it in 1983 it’s been there for 36 years.”
David Wilson Turner, head of Hansons’ toy department, said: “We’re over the moon with this result. Vintage Star Wars toys, particularly if they’re untouched and in original packaging, are unmissable for collectors. We initially hoped to make around £10,000 from our Star Wars lots but they more than doubled that figure to reach £24,000.”
The Star Wars lots were sold at a specialist toy auction at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, on June 20. To find out more or to arrange a free toy valuation email: [email protected].
Free valuations in Leicestershire
Hansons holds regular free valuation events in Leicestershire. Upcoming dates include July 2, 10am-1pm, at Marlborough Square Methodist Church, Marlborough Square, Coalville, LE67 3WD (with sports memorabilia expert Alistair Lofley); July 8, 10am-3pm, The Dew Drop Inn, 49 Loughborough Road, Hathern, LE12 5HY, and July 9, 10am-1pm, The Manor House, Woodhouse Road, Quorn, LE12 8AL.
To find out more, or to enquire about Hansons’ free home visits, house clearance or downsizing services, email [email protected] or call 01283 733988.