With new “Star Wars” movie due to land, old toys go galactic

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Ahead of the eagerly awaited “Star Wars – The Force Awakens”, the force remains strong at an auction house in north east England, which is seeing high demand for original action figures. Rough cut. No reporter narration

With new “Star Wars” movie due to land, old toys go galactic

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” debuts in December to a global wave of fan fervour and merchandising, but a warehouse in northeast England is already in a galaxy far, far away, having sold a vintage “Star Wars” toy for a colossal 18,000 pounds ($27,000).

The toy, which 35 years ago cost 1.50 pounds, was not a movie prop, like the blockade-runner spaceship that California-based auctioneers Profiles in History sold for $450,000 — said to be the most expensive “Star Wars” item sold at auction. The firm also sold Princess Leia’s slave costume for $96,000.

What collectible toys specialist Vectis Auctions Ltd sold in January on behalf of British collector Craig Stevens was a 3-3/4″ (9.5-cm) molded plastic figure of bounty hunter Boba Fett, a cult character from “The Empire Strikes Back”.

Now various collectors’ hordes of “Star Wars” memorabilia, including items so rare they may be unique, are piled up in Vectis, ready for auction.

“It isn’t anything that’s just a toy. It’s actually a way of life and a cultural thing. People even look at some of these cardbacks that we sell as works of art. They’re encased in plastic. They’re set in beautiful display situations within their houses,” Kathy Taylor, Vectis’s “Star Wars” expert, said, adding: “It is a different sort of area to anything else really.”

The most valuable toys are those that are sealed in their original packages, having never been used, one of the most sought after lots includes 24 “Imperial Death Squad Commander”figurines, still in its original packaging and boxing, made by now defunct British toymaker Palioy.

With items ranging from “Death Star” pencil sharpners, to a wind up R2-D2, Vectis will hold another in a series of online auctions of about 700 pieces on Dec 8.

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