Episode 52: Leia (Hoth outfit)

The months trickle on as we vacillate between background character and main character in different outfits. Leia Hoth is a great figure. The cardback is great, it works so well with the actual figure standing next to her. It’s like that was the photo they used to sculpt the figure from.

I wasn’t sure what I’d find this month, a main character but just not sure how hard she is to find. I’m sure there will be a few crazy prices – given the state of the market.

Let’s begin …..

Empire Strikes Back

41A AFA80 (C75/B85/F85) $306.88 – eBay listing

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41A AFA70 (C80/B60/F85) $200 – eBay link

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Now here’s a few 41D’s. The price increase as the quality improves is quite marked ….
Ungraded (clear bubble) but rough card $82.88eBay link

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Ungraded (yellow bubble) $150 eBay link

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As we move to a graded version we get a decent price bump …

41D AFA80 (C80/B85/F80) $365.66 eBay link

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And now it gets crazy … Got to love the AFA85 pieces !!!
41D AFA85 (C85/B90/F85) $1,075 eBay link

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So we’ve gone from under $100 for an ungraded, rough but clear bubble to over $1k, having straight 85’s or better really pushed the price on this piece. Personally I thought the $360odd for the AFA80 looks like much better value. Each to their own.

45 AFA80Y approx $299 – eBay listing

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47A ungraded $177.50 eBay link

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Return of the Jedi

65B ungraded $182.50 – eBay link

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77A ungraded $139.99 – eBay link

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77A ungraded – eBay listing

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Loose graded

AFA90 NM+ $99.99 – eBay listing

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All in all a nice selection. The AFA85 41D was pretty crazy, but that’s the theme these days – high grade + main character = big price. But with all the hype and big prices, there are still a number of decent pieces at reasonable prices to be had. Certainly researching, and not being hung up on an “AFA85” piece will put you in a decent position to pick up pieces at a much more affordable price range.

Till next month……

Episode 42 – Imperial Snowtrooper (Hoth battle gear)

39740 Imperial Stormtrooper (Hoth Battle Gear)

As I work my through these figures for the Market Watch I keep learning (correcting mistakes from my childhood). I would have bet this figures was the “Snowtrooper” but all the cardbacks I came across for the MW have him clearly labelled as “Imperial Stormtrooper”. Oh well – correction made !! It’s also interesting that the word “Imperial” is used, but the traditional Stormtrooper didn’t get the “Imperial” pre-ceding his name. Anyway – just some observations.

In this month’s summary I couldn’t help myself and branched out a little to some Imperial Stormtrooper related items. This was the only figure I had as a kid in multiples. I also had the Imperial Attack Base, so its a natural favorite of mine. The selection was pretty good, and as Pete and I have been reporting, the market is certainly continues to power, the 31 backs for the “Snowtrooper” attracted some very decent pricing.

As always here’s the summary, with the detail to follow:

31A AFA85 – $695.88

32B (ungraded) – $250

41A (ungraded) – $163.55

41E AFA80 – $261.00

47 (ungraded) – $280.00

48C AFA85 – $482.53

77A ungraded – $91.00

Empire Strikes Back

31A AFA85NM+ (C85/B85/F85) $695.88 – eBay auction

Straight 85’s – always attracts the ‘high rollers’. I still wonder if these buyers remain happy with spending so much on one figure. I can only imagine they only buy 85’s or higher, so they really don’t know what they are missing. Many 80’s are in great condition, and the 75’s can often be very reasonable condition.

31A AFA85 NM+

31A AFA85 NM+

31A AFA85 NM+ cardback

31A AFA85 NM+ cardback

31A AFA85NM+ (C85/B85/F85)$660.00 – eBay auction

Very nice piece, though I personally wouldn’t be paying that kind of money for a card that has been punched. Each to their own though.

31A AFA85 NM+

31A AFA85 NM+

31A AFA85 NM+ - cardback

31A AFA85 NM+ – cardback

31A AFA80NM (C80/B85/F85) $670.00 – eBay auction

This is an auction listed by Jeff, from Jeff’s Collectibles. His auctions are great to watch (unless you actually want to buy the item) as he starts them low and almost always gets a solid to high price. His auction ending times seem to be well timed and the low auction start is a great idea. Pete listed some eBay / selling thoughts a few months ago – anyway serious about selling MOC’s / AFA items really should watch how Jeff does it. And his shipping / packing is second to none.

31A AFA80 NM

31A AFA80 NM

31A AFA80 NM - cardback

31A AFA80 NM – cardback

31A ungraded $79.95 – eBay auction

The back of the card has a tear, but compared to the high prices of the graded versions, this was a steal. The auction lasted 15 minutes as a BIN – the seller left a few dollars on the table. Again, best to run auctions starting at 99c, I’m sure he would have got more than $80.

31A ungraded

31A ungraded

31A ungraded - cardback

31A ungraded – cardback

So in summary I’d say there has been a fair inflation of this item in the past few months. Whilst I don’t have specific data, apart from my own 31A (AFA80) that I purchased back in 2006 for $200, these prices are well above what we would have seen a year ago.

Other ESB cardbacks

32B ungraded $250 – eBay auction

32B ungraded

32B ungraded

32B (ungraded) cardback

32B (ungraded) cardback

32B ungraded $99 – eBay auction

32A (ungraded)

32B (ungraded)

32A figure

32B figure

32A ungraded (cardback)

32B ungraded (cardback)

41A ungraded $163.55 – eBay auction

41A ungraded

41A ungraded

41A ungraded

41A ungraded

41E  AFA80NM (C85/B80/F85) $261.00 – eBay auction

41E AFA80 NM

41E AFA80 NM

41E AFA80NM

41E AFA80NM

47 ungraded $280 – eBay auction

47 (ungraded) cardback

47 (ungraded) cardback

47 (ungraded) figure

47 (ungraded) figure

47 (ungraded)

47 (ungraded)

48C AFA85NM+ (C85/B85/F85) $482.53 – eBay auction

48C AFA85 NM+

48C AFA85 NM+

48C AFA85 NM+ - cardback

48C AFA85 NM+ – cardback

Return of the Jedi

77A ungraded $91.00 – eBay auction

77A (ungraded)

77A (ungraded)

77A (ungraded) cardback

77A (ungraded) cardback

Playsets / Mini Rigs

Whilst not specifically Imperial Snowtrooper items I have added in a few items where the figure gets a run in the packaging. I’m sure the multiple instances of the figure on multiple playsets / vehicles resulted in a lot of multiple purchases of the figure. As I kid aI had quite a few Imperial Snowtroopers, but only one Stormtrooper, I’m sure this was linked to the fact I had the IMperial Attack Base and I “needed” to have multiple instances of the figures.

Imperial Attack Base AFA75 EX+/NM $228.50 – eBay auction

Imperial Attack Base - label

Imperial Attack Base – label

Imperial Attack Base

Imperial Attack Base

Imperial Attack Base

Imperial Attack Base

Imperial Attack Base

Imperial Attack Base

Canadian Imperial Attack Base $175 – eBay auction

Just for Skye, so he can pronounce “imperial Attack Base” in French and so he can drool and wish he’d bought it (and I’ll admit I would have loved a Canadian version of this kit)

Canadian Imperial Attach Base - contents

Canadian Imperial Attach Base – contents

Canadian Imperial Attack Base

Canadian Imperial Attack Base

INT-4 ungraded $40.50 – eBay auction

The box is in great condition, its not that easy to find these without the front flap having been folded. The rebate offer is also a nice addition to the pack and helps push the price up a few $$.

INT - 4 ungraded

INT – 4 ungraded

INT-4 back

Fratastic Pete’s November Market Watch

Happy November Space Freaks!

This month we’re going to change gears a bit and do a focus update. I like doing these periodically as there are just some months that don’t yield much for discussion. To go with this there are always pockets of different focus areas in the hobby that come about in waves. It might be a character, a series or a type of product, whatever the flavor these waves can be game changers for a lot of different focus collections and from time to time I want to highlight these quick trends.

This month I’m sharing a short run over 3-4 sellers that occurred in the early fall late summer. There was a huge run on different catalog packing variants that were all direct mail pieces. For this article we’ll cover off a sub section of this in detail that being our focus, Catalog Mailers. The figure multipacks have become increasingly popular over the past few years, however with the short supply of these items overall it’s difficult to find these in steady availability on any forum. Popularity has gone up along with overall focus collecting which supports the higher demand that is present in the market today for these items, thus this was a rare opportunity to highlight so many in one article.

Before we get into the items I want to encourage those not familiar with this area of the hobby, or those who haven’t seen the articles below, to check them out at some point. This area of the hobby can be a bit ambiguous and examples and references are important as documentation in this area is spotty. Part of this is due to rarity, part of this is due to the breadth of what could be out there.

For reference I highly encourage everyone to review John Kellerman’s book “Vintage Star Wars Toys” specifically for the matrixes on the area of Catalog Multi Packs. These are the most comprehensive documents on the area of the hobby and answer the key question of what was produced and is possibly still out there. In addition to the book a key area of the figure mailer arena is the baggie types, therefore it’s key to review the SWCA article on baggie types by Todd DiMartino and Bill Wills Kenner Baggie Article. Lastly one of the most important pieces of information is reference photos, you can find a ton on the Archives, and eBay as things come up for auction. But one of my favorite types of references are other collections. Thus looking for character focus collections is a great reference, but there are also focus collectors for this type of product as well. One of my favorite belong to RebelScums Andy_R, who has covered over half the catalog mailers in the Kellerman Matrixes, his collection can be viewed here: Catalog Mailer Collection.

Now for the auctions themselves, we cover all three episodes of the original trilogy. In regards to the rarity scale, there’s a little less true data to support some of the numbers here, in most cases it’s the best we can do with limited information on quantities for these. Hope you enjoy!

Item: Darth Vader – Stormtroopers 3 Pack ANH Catalog Mailer: eBay link
Why: This item is proof that the characters in the set drive the overall price more than any factor. The ANH Series had a few different box types that were used for catalog mailers. Here is the first of a few examples in the more common brown box. This piece is really nice, at a fair price, with a marginal price premium to the other similar sets in our post this month. We attribute the premium to the figures as this is very consistent not just within the range of a movie series we are looking at here with Episode 4 but over series as a whole.
Rarity (Scale of 1-10) – 8
Price (Scale of 1-10) – 5
Price of this auction: $725

Darth Vader – ANH Mailer

Chewy, R2/3PO 3 Pack ANH Catalog Mailer. eBay link
Why: Another great example from the original movie. This piece features another very popular group of figures, but it didn’t quite get the same fiscal attention as the aforementioned bad guys. Nevertheless, this is a great piece with only a handful in existence.
Rarity (Scale of 1-10) – 8
Price (Scale of 1-10) – 5
Price of this auction: $612

Chewbacca / R2 / 3PO Mailer

Luke Han Death Squad 3 Pack ANH Catalog Mailer. eBay link
Why: Par for the course we have our third of the series from the original Star Wars picture, two A players with a D still is B average… And thus why we refer to this one as par for the course, it’s a great item but the strange combo of figures doesn’t get quite the attention that our last two did.
Rarity (Scale of 1-10) – 8
Price (Scale of 1-10) – 5
Price of this auction: $662

Luke / Han / DSC Mailer

Jawa Tusken Raiders 3 Pack ANH Catalog Mailer. eBay link
Why: And to close out the original run we have my personal favorite of the four, a set of desert roamers. I thought this was a great combination of figures, but overall due to the background nature of all of the characters it generated the fewest dollars out of the run we have here today.
Rarity (Scale of 1-10) – 8
Price (Scale of 1-10) – 5
Price of this auction: $515

Jawa / Tusken Raider Mailer

ESB 4-Pack Hoth Figures Stormtroopers/Hoth Rebels
Why: Our only ESB set is quite the average piece for the ESB series of mailers. It could easily be the most diverse run of mailers as it offered the most diversity in packaging types, including the only series to have line art boxes. In this case we have a fairly standard item for the run with figures that were released during the actual movie it was supporting. This would carry over to the Jedi line as both the ESB and ROTJ series focused mainly on the newer figures for the theatrical releases, driving up the price of items with the original 21/48 figures included.
Rarity (Scale of 1-10) – 6
Price (Scale of 1-10) – 3
Price of this auction: $261

Hoth 4 Pack

Item: ROTJ Original 4 Figure Set. eBay link
Why: The ROTJ line is the most consistent of the three series. Known for its staple sticker featuring the most random sampling of figures from the series, the line features the same design on every package with the exception of a very rare line of mailers from Montgomery Wards. It was a unique concept and probably driven from a branding or efficiency perspective.
In this case we have a great cross sampling of figures from the original 12 release. It’s one of the most popular in the ROTJ series, but also one of the most common.
Rarity (Scale of 1-10) – 7
Price (Scale of 1-10) – 4
Price of this auction: $355

Luke / Han / Leia / Vader Mailer

Item: ROTJ Darth-Emp-ERG Mailer Set eBay link
Why: Right behind our set from the original 12 we have a set from the Empire featuring two of the most in demand from the ROTJ release that being The Emperor and his Royal Guard. This three pack is one of the few that combines figures from multiple eras in the ROTJ release of mailers. A very cool concept that usually drives up price, in this case this one went for a steal.
Rarity (Scale of 1-10) – 7
Price (Scale of 1-10) – 3
Price of this auction: $271

Item: ROTJ 3-Pack Sealed with Darth Vader and Two Hoth Stormtrooper eBay link
Why: And we’re off, this one was off the charts. Sealed mailers can be very tough to come by, but they usually don’t drive demand like this piece. The figures were a key piece here as we have seen this combination drive a premium in the past. Ultimately this could literally be one of a kind, it’s tough to say, there aren’t any graded sealed versions out there. Overall a very cool auction to see and at the end of the day there is a Darth Vader or Stormtrooper focus collector out there who is very happy with themselves.
Rarity (Scale of 1-10) – 9
Price (Scale of 1-10) – 6
Price of this auction: $1325

ROTJ Sealed Vader / Stormtrooper Mailer

Item: Montgomery Ward’s Mailer Set Boba Fett-Squidhead-Bib Fortuna eBay link
Why: Remember that rare run of mailers I mentioned about 5 items back, well it just happens that we have the rarest and highest demand item from that series to close off this month’s post.
This is truly one of the holy grails for Catalog Mailer collectors. This short run of mailers was featured in a Montgomery Wards flyer and abandoned the ROTJ sticker adorned to the rest of the line. This series is by far the shortest run to be released to the public and therefore the demand is through the roof. Throw in Boba Fett and all bets are off on how high one of these auctions will go. Here I think we find a relatively good deal for the buyer as this could have easily run into the two to three thousand dollar range. One of the rarest items in the Vintage Star Wars universe
Rarity (Scale of 1-10) – 9
Price (Scale of 1-10) – 6
Price of this auction: $1,247

Montgomery Wards Mailer