Monday, August 6, 2007

Keeping the Star Wars flame alive...

I got very lucky this weekend. My neighbor of the last eight years has decided to move. That's not why I got lucky; he's a great guy and we'll certainly miss him and his wife, but in the process of cleaning up his home, where he's lived for forty years, he discovered some vintage Kenner Star Wars figures. The figures were his son's, who's around my age. Saturday afternoon, in the midst of a nap, the phone rang. It was Ralph next door. 'Might I take a look at some of these Star Wars figures that he had?' My wife had mentioned earlier in the week that Ralph had said something about Star Wars figures, but I had forgotten about it. 'Sure, I'd be over in a little while,' I said. Before heading over I took a look thru a recent issue of Toyfare magazine to get an idea of what some of the vintage 12" figures and 3 3/4" figures were going for in loose shape. I figured these might be a bit beat up and missing weapons (which they were). The prices listed were a bit too high for reality, as I used a better judge and went onto Ebay, checking some ongoing and recently completed auctions. Unless the figures were mint and complete, or in boxes/carded, they weren't going for too much. I took the 30 second walk over to Ralph's place and followed him down to the basement, where laid out on the pool table were Kenner Star Wars carrying case boxes, filled with figures, as well as three large scale figures, of a Stormtrooper, Darth Vader and Chewbacca. They were all without any weapons or accessories, and kinda dirty (especially the Trooper) but they weren't broken (aside from a loose arm on Darth). I figured on Ebay the lot of large figures, cleaned up, might sell for $25 or so. Add in Ebay and Paypal fees and you're not making a killing. The small figures were also almost all missing their weapons, but the figures were intact and just in need of a bit of cleaning. (Funnily enough, the R2-D2 was in better shape than mine!). I figured you could get a couple of bucks each on Ebay. In addition to the figures, there was a loose Tauntaun (c. 1980) and die-cast Snowspeeder. But there was more. There were a few boxes of Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars as well, all in carrying cases. There was even a Corgi Superhero cars carrying case that was pretty cool. A few of the Corgi diecast superhero cars were there, but most all of the cars were pretty beat up. One last bit of stuff was in the best shape. A full box filled with maybe thirty vintage Burger King glasses for The Empire Strikes Back and a few for Peanuts and a couple of other comic titles. These were all in pretty much perfect unused condition. I remember having some of the glasses and they were used in our house...and dropped, as well. It's funny how you can have an emotional connection to a glass, but my Burger King Star Wars glasses meant a lot to me. At this point, Ralph's son, Greg, had come down to the basement and I gave him my assesment of the worth of the figures. I didn't really know the value of the cars (not much, at least based on condition) or the glasses and I told him this. I offered some money for the Star Wars figures, but he was not willing to take any money and offered the lot to me for free. Wow..great..sure - Thanks! I could see there were a number of the smaller figures that I didn't have and I'd always wanted the 12" (the Darth and Chewie are more like 14") figures. Cool! Ralph had mentioned he was just going to throw them away, but I assured him that there was no need for that! He said he'd box them up and bring them over later. Later in the evening, after getting home from dinner, I saw Greg's wife, Vicki, in front of Ralph's house. I recounted the story about the figures and said Greg will be welcome to 'visit' his old toys whenever they might be in town (they live in Saratoga, NY). She then mentioned she'd heard about my collection and would love to see it. So I invited her over. A little while later, she and Greg came by, with Greg bringing over the SW figures and carrying cases. It was really quite a cool thrill to be handed over his childhood toys. Even though he hadn't remembered the figures, you could see he got a lot of play value from them. Now, they'd stand beside some of my own vintage figures and fill out the collection. All told, there were 31 figures, including about 11 or so 3 3/4 inch figures that I didn't have, all from Empire. A bunch of Cloud CIty guys, like Lobot and some of their security guys. The figures went up to Jedi, as there was even a Leia Boush helmet, but, alas, no figure. The top pic here includes some of the new additions. See if you can notice the new ones from the last blog entry pic!

4 comments:

jason quinones said...

you lucky bastard you!

i had that same 12" inch chewbacca figure. i believe i already told you i cracked poor chewy in half! i played rough with them old toys. those carrying cases look sweet too! the smell of that cheap rubbery plastic that they made so many toy products with always bring back childhood memories.

i had a bunch of matchbox cars as a kid as well but i remember selling those off in a garage sale..probably for comic book money!

i really didn't do well at saving toys! the last childhood toy i held onto before giving it away was an old transformer...jetfire! i remember it had some weight to it as it was pretty big and made mostly out of die cast metals and hard plastic!

The Keeper's Notes said...

Yeh, I did luck out on this one!

Man, you really did play rough with those guys...cracked him in half? Damn! I know that smell you're talking about....shit, I get high on that every night! Ahhhh...breathheeee deeepppp.

Those old Transformes, if they're in good shape, bring in some nice cash...never had any, though.

There are so many toys that disappeared over the years..I guess they went in the garbage...still, makes me wonder why I've got what I do...mainly my Japanese die-cast stuff...a lot of them broken...I've even got a bag of misc. pieces..missles and crap like that. I've also got a tire carrying case filled with Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Japanese cars...most of those are pretty darn beat up. That's the beauty of it, though...we got to play with this stuff! And that's what they were originally meant for! It's cool to collect it now, but the best part was being a kid and playing with it all!

CamChes said...

Man does that bring back memories... Totally cool listening to your "vintage" voice recording too... Wish I still had some of mine...

The Keeper's Notes said...

Hey, thanks, Cam! Yeh, I had other recordings that got lost with time...I have a little more on the tape that had the Star Wars stuff, but you will NOT be hearing my rendition of You Light Up My Life anytime soon!