Star Wars premiered in the USA in 1977 and the licence to produce the toys was acquired by Kenner. The company were unable to build sufficient stock for Christmas of that year so they instead produced an ‘Early Bird Certificate Package’, an envelope that amongst other things included a certificate that, when posted to Kenner, guaranteed that the first four action figures would be sent to the buyer as soon as they were available. Beginning in February 1978 excited children received Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, R2-D2 and Chewbacca. Kenner, and Palitoy in the UK, continued to produce Star Wars toys until 1985 producing over 100 assorted 3 ¾” action figures, as well as vehicles, various playsets, and other toys including 12” figures.
Some of the rarer and more valuable Star Wars action figures include variants, such as the earliest versions of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker with a double telescoping lightsaber, which was changed to a single telescoping lightsaber and a Jawa with a vinyl cape, as opposed to the more commonly found cloth cape. The Palitoy version of the Death Star, very different from Kenner’s plastic version, is highly desirable as the fragile toy did not always stand up to enthusiastic battles!
Though they were often found in bargain bins in 1980s, the last 17 figures to be released are now popular with collectors, particularly Yak Face, the final figure of the vintage Star Wars line.
Vintage Star Wars toys do not always need to be in their original packaging to be valuable, though of course unopened items always attract a premium. Weapons and accessories contribute hugely to the price of loose toys, as small items like blasters were easily lost.
Posted on 24 January 2020