In today’s collectible toy scene, Star Wars is by far the largest collecting community in my opinion. The love for the force is multigenerational and worldwide, especially since Disney acquired the brand in 2012 and accelerating its growth with multiple movies, series, cartoons, and immersive theme parks in California and Florida. It is incredible to think how far Star Wars has come since “A New Hope” premiered in theaters forty-six years ago.
The film was released in 1977, but the merchandise was not available in stores until 1978. When Star Wars action figures first hit shelves, there were only twelve characters offered. These included: Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, a Jawa, a Storm Trooper, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Death Star Commander, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Sand People. In today’s market, they are some of the most valuable Star Wars figures in factory sealed condition.
To entice kids to collect every action figure, each carded Star Wars action figure displayed all the available characters on the back of the card. Hence the collector terminology of “12 back,” (starting in 1978), all the way up to a “92 back” in 1984-85 with “The Power of the Force” toy line. Just like with all collectibles, condition is the most important with Star Wars and factory sealed is always best. There is value in loose figures too, but who kept their toys sealed? Odds are even if you told a child their toy would be worth big bucks someday if they never opened it, they would’ve torn into it anyways – the toys were just too fun to ignore, and that’s why near-mint factory sealed “12 backs” sell for thousands of dollars today when professionally graded!
If you have nothing to do on Saturday, May 6th stop by and visit Bruneau & Co. in Cranston. We are hosting a cataloged auction focused on professionally graded comic books, video games, and toys – including a large collection of Star Wars action figures, and even some CAS 85 graded 12 and 20 backs! It might blow your mind to watch what was once child’s play hammer for serious money today.
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