Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Your Star Wars Toys Will Not Make You Rich.

With the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming this week, many people are eagerly digging through their basements and attics looking for old toys. Star Wars has been a perennially popular toy series for many decades. Ranging from action figures, die-cast vehicles, puzzles, video games and dolls, nearly every possible type of toy has at some point been sold under the Star Wars banner. As was the case with the prequel film The Phantom Menace in 1999, many are yet again interested in making a quick buck off the Star Wars phenomenon.

Rest assured, your Star Wars toys are probably worth very little. You will not get rich off them.

A selection of various Star Wars figures from the 1980's.

Earlier this evening, I read an article posted by my local CBS News television affiliate (which you can see here). In it, the author irresponsibly describes all the ways in which your Star Wars toys can be worth a fortune. Though, the piece is just vague enough so that many of the most important details about which specific Star Wars collectibles are left obscured or omitted altogether. Photos highlighting a Micro Machines Millennium Falcon play-set were used, as were other common Star Wars items from the 1990's. Honestly, I loathe articles like this. They encourage a false sense of value with people whom know very little about the collectible toy market. Considering I deal in collectible and vintage toys, I witness first hand the ripple effect such nonsense can cause. That aforementioned Millennium Falcon play-set? Yeah... only worth $45 sealed in the box. Not played with, not with missing pieces... sealed in the original box. Yet, the next time I'm conducting a potential transaction with someone looking to sell their old Star Wars toys, they'll probably want double that price, if not more.

Your Star Wars toys have value, just not nearly as much as you might think. Let me illustrate.

Probably the most recognizable and popular Star Wars character is Darth Vader. If you want to own an original Darth Vader from the 1977 Star Wars toy series, a loose action figure without any accessories will set you back a whopping $7. That's it. Seven whole dollars. If you want a Darth Vader figure with the cape and lightsaber, you won't have to pay any more than $17 to $20. The price is low because so many figures were produced. The demand is moderate, but the supply is high, thereby reducing the value. Let's move ahead in time to 1995 and the Star Wars: Power of the Force action figure series. Darth Vader without accessories from this series is worth about $2. If you want a complete Darth Vader with cape and lightsaber, then expect to pay $7. The demand is low and the supply is high, so the value is quite little. This trend runs across the board with nearly all Star Wars items. Why? Because they were sold in massive quantities, flooding the toy market and making their supply for future collectors plentiful.

A promo poster released at Walmart in the 1990's featuring the Power of the Force line of figures. While they're great little action figures to play with and display, they're extremely cheap and easy for collectors to obtain.

Sure, in some rare instances, there are a few Star Wars toys that demand a hefty premium, reaching in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Yet, these items are few and far between. The most valuable Star Wars toys are those that were produced in extremely limited numbers, had small parts or pieces that were usually lost, or were released with a production error. A toy simply retaining its packaging or being sealed in the box will only add extreme value in the case of already rare items. The deciding factor in value is almost always the presence of a low supply. Thereby, anything released in high volume will never be worth a fortune.

There you have it, folks. Pack away your C-3PO ($6) and Jar Jar Binks ($7) action figures. Better yet, give the figures to a child and let them be used for their intended purpose -- play! The only thing you could potentially finance with the majority of your Star Wars toys is lunch.

Meesa' hardly worth anything, even sealed in package!

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