Hello Space Freaks!
Happy March everyone, welcome to our monthly installment of the General Update for the Marketwatch. This month we have a special treat for MOC collectors and fan’s of Vintage Star Wars Toys, by John Kellerman. A review of Jeff’s Collectible’s auctions of the Kellerman MOC collection! Not only is it special for the reason of seeing some great and iconic items, but these pieces truly stand out given the overall popularity of John Kellerman’s book and legacy in the Vintage Star Wars Community.
At the center of the Kellerman universe is his written contribution which is extensive, meticulous, but also very focused as a whole. “Vintage Star Wars Action Figures” by John Kellerman is the quintessential reference book of collecting for the Star Wars vintage community. The documentation style and use of large and vivid photos was at the center of the success of the book. It fed information to old and new collectors alike and offered so many data points it still stands as the most well documented printed reference 10 years after its initial release. With a second release pending the stock around John and the Kellerman collection as a whole is at an all-time high. Thus it’s a great honor to get to highlight some of the pieces featured in the first edition of the book here on the Marketwatch.
Before we get into the auctions I hand I had the opportunity to chat with Jeff Jacob (over email) earlier this month to get some of this thoughts on the auctions. Thus straight from the proprietor himself, here are Jeff Jacob’s thoughts on the Kellerman collection auctions.
Q: How did the auctions perform to your expectations?
A: The auctions did well, but there was a lot of time invested to get these to the market not to mention I paid way more than I would ever pay to buy something just to sell it.
Q: What was your favorite item up for auction and why?
A: 12 back Vader as I have never owned a 12 back Vader with the SKU( I have had around 25 12 back Vaders go through my hands but never with the SKU) so I had a feeling it would go for good money. All the Vaders did well. The only piece that did not get paid for was the 12 back Ben.
Q: Did you keep anything for the Museum?
A: Yes 21 back Luke with secret figure offer, Sand People 21 back with secret offer and, ds commander 21 back with secret offer, as these were the reason I wanted to look at all of them at celebration.
Q: A lot of items that were associated with the LFL collection haven’t held their value in comparison to some of the original going rates, do you think the items here will have a similar effect on value?
A: Lucas never collected the items that were sold so there was no connection but these figures were used in the grail book and they were part of John’s collection so I believe they will do well over the years to come.
Q: General thoughts on this, I’m guessing there was a lot of personal vested time here, thus I’m curious about any of your experiences that you had with the process that stand out for you.
A: Just that I will always remember CVI for a long time as it was fun to find these and have John document them and then sell them.
I just want to thank Jeff for taking some time to answer our questions on the auctions; it’s always a pleasure getting to converse with him.
Chiming in on his experiences as a buyer and general thoughts on the collection is my fellow Martketwatch cohort, Brisbane Brisbane Mike.
When I heard Jeff talking about these figures in his interview with Skye I was intrigued. The Kellerman book is most often looked at Star Wars reference book. Such a useful book, particularly if you focus on a character – great way to learn what’s the difference between a 48B and a 48C.
I honed in on a few of the ESB carded MOC’s Jeff had listed. The 48 back R2-D2 was my main objective. It had a good level of bidding, lifting up from Jeff’s opening price of $240 to its ending price of $355. There were no other 48 backs selling in recent times, but a 45 back sold for around $400 while a 41 back graded R2 sold for $242. I’ve found the 48A’s a little hard to come by, and for the more popular characters bidding can be quite strong. So all in all I’m happy with the R2-D2 and the little piece of vintage Star Wars collecting history he represents.
R2-D2 45 Back ESB
R2-D2 41 Back ESB
After I won the R2-D2 I jumped in on a few other ESB carded figures. I ended up being the only bidder and ended up with 3 of the MOC’s in total. They all have a distinguishing element, such as a price sticker, such that it will always be recognizable from the Kellerman book.
The auctions feature items that were highlighted and used in the production of John’s first book. Jeff purchased these items and brought together and executed on the idea of having these documented. Thus following the grading of the items Jeff worked with Todd Chamberlain the original seller of the items to produce a unique packet for each item. Each of the pieces is documented as to how it was used in the book on a letter signed by Todd, and John Kellerman himself. Additionally each item includes the original numbered baggie used to store the figure in the massive Kellerman collection.
Rather than reviewing each figure we have simply stated the vital statistics for each figure along with a link/image. We’ll cover off a few from each movie in the series with additional comments, where applicable.
The first section of the review is the Return of the Jedi line, rather than going chronologically I thought we’d go new to old which also turns out to be low to high in price. The Jedi series faired extremely well, and showed a tremendous premium to the market prices of normally realized by the “Non-Kellerman” versions.
Paploo – 79 Back AFA 85 – $222.50 – Paploo
Being part of the smallest figure release in an epic line like Star Wars is something to brag about, especially if you’re a 3 foot tall Ewok. Alas both Paploo and Lumat have the distinction of being 78 and 79 in the original release. Here we have a great example of the Paploo figure, I always thought he was one of the best molded and designed figures of the original Ewoks. This specific item drove a hefty price in comparison to a non-Kellerman example which would see $125-175 on the high end. But in the end this is a great example and for the ROTJ line one of the only examples used in first 79 section as opposed to a specific variant or backer as seen with Biker Scout and Ben Kenobi.
Klaatu – 65 back AFA 80 – $230 – Klaatu
Biker Scout – AFA60 Clipper 202.50 – Biker Scout Clipper
Lando Skiff – AFA 85Y – $226 – Lando Skiff
The Empire series continues to be one of the fan favorites, therefore it’s not surprising that we saw a lot of movement in the ESB auctions. Jeff offered up a lot of variety here doubling up on a few characters and expanding the total auction count drastically over the ROTJ listings. Here we see our first $1000+ ending price as well which also happens to be our first figure in the review.
Darth Vader – ESB 45 Back – AFA75Y – $1126 – Darth Vader
Darth Vader continues to be one of the most highly sought after figures in the original series, he was without any variation in comparison to his rebel counterparts and thus the iconic figure was released across all three lines in the same form. This particular example is one of the rarest cardback combinations out there and surely made the year for a Darth Vader focus collector. The final price of $1126 was really in line with what one would expect given recent values on other more difficult to find Vader examples. A great piece and a great peak in the ESB line auctions from round 1.
Princess Leia Bespin – Original Photo – AFA 85 41 D Back – $465- Leia Bespin
One of the only cardbacks to get a full change over the orginal Leia Organa Bespin figure is a vintage collector fan favorite through and through. Along with her brother Luke’s Bespin changeover this figure attracts collectors from all sides of the vintage hobby, variant collectors, MOC collectors, Leia focus collectors and of course ESB focus collectors. With that in mind it’s no surprise that this popular but not too rare figure realized a value of $465 a premium of about $150-200 over a non-Kellerman owned version.
Zuckuss Clipper AFA 80 ESB 48 Back – $390 – Zuckuss Clipper
The last figure we’ll review in the ESB series is the first Clipper auction to discuss. Given that John’s collection was so vast there was a lot of breadth in cardbacks and variants at hand. But one of the best segments that we saw arise from these auctions were the few Clipper figures that were sold off across the three OT movies. This particular Zuckuss figure is one of my personal favorites from the auctions given it’s condition and overall rarity.
Darth Vader – AFA 80Y ESB 48 Back – $620 – Darth Vader
Hammerhead ESB AFA80Y $255 – Hammerhead
Greedo – ESB $320 AFA 85 – Greedo
Bespin Security Guard White (Asian) – AFA80 – 32 Back – $260 – Bespin Security Guard
Chewbacca – AFA80 31 Back – $320 – Chewbacca
Luke X-Wing Pilot – AFA 75 48 B Back ESB – $232.50 – Luke X-Wing Pilot
R2-D2 Sensorscope – AFA70 48 Back ESB – $355 – R2-D2 Sensorscope
The last and final section covers off the Star Wars figures from the collection. Some of the most notable include the Darth Vader with a sku number variation, a 21 back Vader, and a pair of Death Star Droids.
As we move into the Star Wars auctions we find the price points of the auctions continuing to creep up. In this run we saw several auctions go for $1000 or more; in a few cases it’s driven by condition in others it’s driven by the rarity of the figures themselves. All in all this was the most fun set of figures to watch as we saw some really great prices realized across the board.
Death Star Droid – Star Wars ANH AFA90 – 21 A Back – $1525 – Death Star Droid 21 Back
Our first Death Star Droid auction is also our first auction to hit the $1000 mark in the series. The Death Star Droid isn’t exactly one of the most sought after figures in the series, but it is one of the most difficult to find in pristine condition in both the loose and MOC condition. This deals primarily with the fact that the figures’ paint rubs off extremely easily over time. Making 90 or better examples of the figure in either MOC or Loose form extremely tough to come across . Thus I believe condition is the overriding factor in the price realized here for this 21 back example, which isn’t the easiest to find, but for an 85 or 80 I don’t think you’d come even close to the price we see realized here.
Darth Vader – AFA85 12 Back A – $6100 Darth Vader- 12 Back A Sku Variant
Our last figure in the Star Wars series is also the crème del a crème of the series. Not only do we have a great condition example of one of the most high demand figures in the current market, we also have possibly one of the rarest cardbacks in the series as a whole. This segment of cardback collecting and MOC collecting isn’t breached that much, why you may ask; because there simply are not many examples to talk about when it comes to Star Wars figures with the sku variation on them. This piece has been exceptionally cared for and the realization of a selling price of $6100 puts this figure in a league with the rarest of the rare in the Star Wars universe.
Death Star Droid – AFA 85 20 Back – $1025- Death Star Droid 20 Back
C-3PO – Takara 12 C Back AFA90 Alt Head Sculpt- $920 – C-3PO Takara 12 Back C
Ben Kenobi – Gray Hair AFA 85 12 Back B – $1820.75 – Ben Kenobi 12 Back B
Walrusman – AFA 80 Rare 21 D Back Secret Figure Offer – $450 – Walrusman 21 D Back
Darth Vader – AFA 80 21 Back A – $1152.89 – Darth Vader21 Back
Jawa – AFA80 – 12 Back C – $570 – Jawa
Stormtrooper – AFA75 20 Back B – $420 – Stormtrooper
2nd Pass Auctions
As typical in the eBay universe, we didn’t see all the items go in the first round of the auctions. This is mainly due to the starting prices invoked on these in the first round, as they definitely moved when they were put up as .99 auctions with no reserve.
What surprised me about the second round of auctions was the prices realized on a few of the pieces. It’s truly supportive of what I refer to as the price/value perception phenomena \. This occurs when you set something to a full fledge open auction, .99 starting price with no reserve. It’s an oddity that produces higher results then when things are listed at a FMV starting price. It makes little to no sense conceptually, but its present in several of the auctions we see below. One quick example is the ROTJ Ben Kenobi that was originally listed at $199 and didn’t have any bids the first round. In the last round it actually demanded a price of $250 with bidding lasting up to the last minute.
Overall it was great to see the prices realized below. It truly shows that there is definite name recognition and prestige that are put with these pieces.
General Madine – $182 65 Back A Clipper AFA60 – General Madine Clipper
Ben Kenobi – ROTJ 65 Back 2 – $250 – AFA80 – Ben Kenobi Variant Backer
A-Wing Pilot – POTF MOC AF 80Y – $225.50- Coin Offer- A-Wing Pilot
Death Squad Commander – AFA80 – ANH – $375 – Death Squad Commander
Jawa – ANH – AFA75- 20 Back – H, $300 – Jawa
So overall we saw some great things happen here. We saw a lot of incredible above and beyond prices realized which enhances the overall persona around John and his contributions to the hobby. In closing this was a truly historic moment in Vintage Star Wars collecting and it’s great to see such a positive outcome from the listings as a whole.