February MarketWatch Overview Monthly Update

Happy February 2014 Space Freaks!

This month on the MarketWatch Monthly Update we’ll touch on a subject we introduced last year, The Economic State of the Hobby.    In addition we’ll showcase the new format of the MarketWatch Monthly Update with the reoccurring sections we’ll be featuring this year, Open to the Public, The Seal Show, and Pete’s Picks.

So last year I proposed a big question, “how do we measure the economic state of our hobby?” I gave a few things that I think are really critical to the hobby from an economic standpoint, and would be driving factors at the long and short term outlook for the hobby:

  • Appreciation of items over time
  • Demographic trends
  • General Collection Trends (Toys, Action Figures, Vintage vs. Modern etc)

A year later I don’t think there’s that much of a difference in how you can we should be looking at the economic future of the hobby.   At this point there are a lot of factors that will impact the hobby on a more macro scale, the main one being the release of another set of movies.    This will be the biggest driving factor in terms of growth of the hobby in totality as it will be attracting new collectors in, and driving the prices up.    Not a bad situation for a current vintage collector, but for those who are still enamored with finding new acquisitions it will be a tough market in the coming years. 

The change will be welcomed by most as the expansion of the hobby from its evolution in the early days, to the Celebrations of years past has lead to greater knowledge amongst collectors, relationships and a grander appreciate of the hobby on a global scale.

Like a game of musical chairs we are in a hobby of diminishing supply and each new collector brings new opportunity for growth of the hobby, but also fewer items to go around.  Long term this may result in a plateauing or downturn in fair market values if lack of supply drives more collectors out of the hobby.   Do I think we’re there or will be in the near future, NO.  The supplies of production as fortunately when a toyline makes a run of 7-8 years there’s plenty of variety and supply for the general collector.

So a year later the market is still very hot, not much of a change year over year, maybe up 5-10% as we were already seeing incredibly high prices of items in the Sumer of 2012.   The hobby remains one of the biggest in terms of toy collectors and is growing at a strong pace given the strong demographic and age diversity of collectors on a global scale.

Seal show – the items that never made it out of the package.

For the first time we segment the show based on whether it’s open or sealed. A pretty cut and dry aspect that separates collectors and collections.   With the only variant being the last segment, what the MW Monthly Update has become known for, the rare and expensive.  My hope is to get the highlights focused more on the two major segments of collectors out there, with price and rarity diversity, while still giving a few high priced and rare highlights each month via our closing segments.    Please let us know what you think of the new formats.

This month we have a short run of ROTJ sealed MOC figures.  I chose this selection as it was a good month for high quality items in the series and here we have a full sampling of what good ROTJ figures fetch these days. A lot of these have clear bubbles which drives up pricing drastically for the series.  I think most of these are par for the course in terms of value vs. historical trend.  As usual with MOC items the character really drives the value, and we’re lucky enough to have some of the rarer ROTJ figures including several SW release characters that you seldom see in good condition.

Boba Fett ROTJ MOC – AFA80Y – $559 – Boba Fett AFA 80

Boba Fett ROTJ AFA

Stormtrooper 48 Back Kenner with Palitoy Sticker – AFA80 – $202 – Stormtrooper 48 Back Palitoy

Stormtrooper 48 Back Palitoy

Han Solo ROTJ MOC 48 Back – AFA85 – $371 – Han Solo 48 Back

Han Solo 48 Back

Power Droid ROTJ MOC 48 Back – AFA85 – $256 – Power Droid

Power Droid 48 Back ROTJ

Bespin Guard ROTJ MOC 48 Back – AFA80 – $150 – Bespin Guard 48 Back

Bespin Guard White 48 Back ROTJ

Luke Skywalker ROTJ MOC – AFA80 – $401 – Luke Skywalker Tatooine ROTJ

Luke Skywalker ROTJ Tatooine Picture

Yoda ROTJ MOC – AFA80 – $222 – Yoda ROTJ MOC

Yoda ROTJ MOC

Han Solo Glasslite – C6 – $242 – Han Solo Glasslite MOC

Han Solo Glasslite MOC

Open to the public? – Loose and Opened items.

This moth we have a focused loose update with a set of three Lili Ledy Figures and a set of 3 Catalog Mailers.  Across the board prices are up as these are two extremely hot niches in the hobby.   Loose LL figures are at an all time high, even compared with other vintage items.  Catalog mailers has always been a unique niche and with focus collecting at an all time high we really are seeing some crazy prices out there.  The most notable is the 4-Pack ESB Lineart Set that is missing three figures but saw an incredible price realized, why? It’s RARE, we may never see another on market for years to come, thus the interest in an incomplete piece.

Lili Ledy Boushh – C9 – $293   – Lili Ledy Boushh

Lili Ledy Leia Boushh

Lili Ledy Red Cape Squidhead – C9 – $265   – Lili Ledy Red Cape Squidhead

Red Cape Squidhead

Lili Ledy Orange Cape Squidhead – C9 – $282   – Lili Ledy Orange Cape Squidhead

Catalog Mailer 4 Pack – C8 – $809 – ESB Catalog Mailer 4 Pack

ESB Mailer - 4 Pack Luke Bespin

Catalog Mailer 4 Pack – C8 – $465 – ESB Catalog Mailer 4 Pack #2

ESB Mailer - 4 Pack Han Hoth

ESB Lineart Mailer Missing 3 of 4 figures – $1550 – C8 (Packaging and Catalog) – ESB Lineart Incomplete Catalog Mailer

Lineart ESB Mailer - 4 Pack

 

Pete’s Picks – The rare and/or super expensive….

This month there are three specific auctions I wanted to highlight.  They show a bit of diversity in collecting for some items that are relatively rare and one that’s just in really high demand.  Each of our 3 items this month was picked for a unique reason and each is ultimately cool in its own way.

Cloud City – AFA85 – $2247 – Cloud City AFA 85 = Rare and Expensive

The set is simply one of the coolest pieces of cardboard to ever be produced in my mind, thus I’m always a bit biased as I love this piece.   A tough to find piece, it’s extremely difficult to find sealed, with only a few existing in collections that are of this quality today.   The pieces short supply is represented by some quick AFA data as roughly 10 graded examples exist and only a few that received an 85.   A great idea that I wished would have extended into ROTJ with a Cardboard Imperial Bunker or Sarlacc Pit.

Cloud City Playset AFA

Boba Fett SW MOC – AFA85 – $5200 – Boba Fett SW MOC = Expensive

Fett drives prices like no other, not even Vader comes close to seeing costs as high as sought after Fett pieces.   This shows this theory in kind, this is an astounding price even for a SW back Fett, thus we had to showcase a top end price for a staple in the line.  What’s crazy is that this is par for the course with some of today’s prices as AFA85 SW Fetts are seeing prices of  $4500-5000 on eBay.

Boba Fett Star Wars AFA

Han Solo Bespin Revenge Proof  – AFA85 – $590   – Han Bespin Revenge Proof = Not Common

With Revenge proofs we see no more than 50 of each character, if you were to try and translate that to rarity of carded figures for any of the series/character combinations you would be astounded how rare Revenge proofs tend to appear.   Thus we’ve included a Han Bespin that is par for the course to a little high given where Revenge proofs and that character specifically have performed over time.

Han Solo Bespin Revenge Proof

Overall the economic state of the hobby is one of the few things in the world that is looking up and up, we see values increasing, we see interest getting larger and ultimately we see economic factors that support that vintage will not only continue to be relevant; but that it will thrive in the coming years.  With the stock market returning less and less to shareholders and our 401Ks, investing in vintage may be one of the best places to “invest” your money.

Let me finish by saying, I know that the primary focus of most collectors isn’t to invest into Star Wars and get more out of it in the long run.   This is at the core of why this segment continues to grow, as people have an emotional attachment and investment into their collections, the memories, the thoughts and the good feelings we get from our hobby are really at the heart of why, this hobby will continue to thrive in the near and long term future.

Wampa Wampa:

FB24

 

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December General Update – Collect All 21 “The Original Star Wars Toyline”

December Marketwatch – Star Wars Episode 4 A New Hope

As we close out 2013 so do we close out our movie focus on the general update.  This month’s focus on the Star Wars line is a fitting end to the series and item for item released it’s our most comprehensive figure coverage to date with all 21 figures being represented.

The toyline for original Star Wars movie was iconic and epic in every way and really created the 3 ¾ inch action figure genre as it was the first successful line in that scale.   The line was as mass produced as any, however early lack of availability made demand shoot through the roof and it never caught up.   Thus the original line of figures in the vintage series remains extremely sought after and in high demand amongst novices and beginning collectors.

With the first release of the Early Bird set to the release of Boba Fett the line had several   monumental steps as it recreated the Star Wars universe.   With our review I’ll cover all the main production categories and detail out the line to the fullest extent based on recent auctions and online BIN prices.

MOC:

The original first 21 figures form the base of the Star Wars vintage toy universe.  They have the unique distinction of being released with each series in their original form.   Thus the figures touched a huge span of children through the late 70s and early 80s, with these seeing a retail lifecycle of 7 years and up to another year and half of closeout shelf life.

With the update this month I bring you a full showing of the first 21 MOC, with some extremely high grade examples that drove some insane prices.  Overall the usual suspects of Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker Tatooine, and Han Solo all saw incredible prices for first release versions of each figure.  Surprisingly R2-D2 was the next highest priced auction with an AFA85 seeing a $1933 price tag.   With that here’s the rest of the line and what we saw each achieve in recent auctions.

Ben Kenobi 12 Back – AFA80 – $615 – Ben Kenobi MOC

Ben Kenobi MOC

Boba Fett – $4438 – Boba Fett MOC

Boba Fett MOC

C-3PO 12 Back  – $388 – C-3PO MOC

C-3PO MOC

Chewbacca 12 Back – AFA80 – $900 – Chewbacca MOC

Chewy MOC

Darth Vader 21 Back – AFA80 – $689 – Darth Vader MOC

Darth Vader MOC

Darth Vader Takara- $511 – Darth Vader MOC Takara 12 Back

Darth Vader MOC Takara

Death Squad Commander 12 Back – AFA85 – $760 – Death Squad Commander MOC

Death Squad Commander MOC

Death Star Droid 21 Back – C9 – $181 – Death Star Droid MOC

Death Star Droid MOC

Greedo – C9 – $825 – Greedo MOC

Greedo

Hammerhead  – $679 – Hammerhead MOC

Hammerhead MOC

Han Solo 12 Back – AFA85 – $2550 – Han Solo MOC

Han Solo MOC

Jawa 12 Back  – $338 – Jawa MOC

Jawa MOC

Luke Skywalker  12 Back – AFA85 – $2000 – Luke Skywalker MOC

Luke Skywalker MOC

Luke Skywalker  12 Back – AFA85 – $2000 – Luke Skywalker Palitoy MOC

Luke Skywalker MOC Palitoy

Luke X-Wing – C9 – $712 – Luke X-Wing MOC

Luke X-Wing

Power Droid – AFA80  – $499 – Power Droid MOC

Power Droid MOC2

Princess Leia 12 Back – AFA85 – $1200 – Princess Leia MOC

Leia MOC

R2-D2 12 Back – AFA85 – $1933 – R2-D2 MOC

R2D2

R5-D4 – AFA85 – $1025 – R5-D4

R5-D4 MOC

Sandpeople 12 Back – AFA85 – $665 – Sandpeople MOC

Sandpeople MOC

Snaggletooth – AFA85 – $550 – Snaggletooth

Snaggletooth

Stormtrooper 12 Back– AFA85 – $1237 – Stormtrooper MOC

Stormtrooper MOC

Walrusman  – $607 – Walrusman MOC

Walrusman MOC

12 Inch Action Figure Line

As many know the 1:6 Scale or 12” Action Figure was the initial direction that was intended for the main offering in the Star Wars vintage toyline.  However the inability, to make vehicles such as the Falcon and X-Wing pushed Kenner to go to the 3 ¾ Inch version vs. the large scale format, given the enormous price points for large scale vehicles.   Thankfully, Kenner did produce a line of large format figures featuring 11 very detailed versions of some of our favorite characters.  The line spanned from 10 characters in the first movie and even went into Empire with the early release of Boba Fett, following his release as a small scale figure.  With our coverage this month we have a few sealed examples of boxed items to show the top end of what we’ve seen in the past few months on eBay. The biggest callouts this month have to be the Boba Fett and Meccano Darth Vader Figures not only given the price tag, but also given the rarity of Darth and the condition of Boba Fett.

Jawa 12 Inch Figure MISB – C8 – $211 – Jawa 12 Inch

Jawa 12 Inch MISB

R2-D2 12 Inch Figure MISB – C7 – $163 – R2D2 12 Inch

R2D2 12 Inch

Boba Fett 12 Inch Figure MIB – C9 – $1525 – Boba Fett 12 Inch

Boba Fett 12 Inch MISB

Darth Vader Meccano 12 Inch Figure AFA75 – $1525 – Darth Vader Meccano 12 Inch

Darth Vader 12 Inch Meccano AFA75

Boxed Items:

From the vehicles of the first line to the large scale toys such as the Laser Pistol, the boxed items from the original installment of the Star Wars line were ground breaking.    Not only did we see incredible replication of the items from the movie, we also saw Kenner go into new space with ancillary items for the series such as playsets.   The vehicles are some of the most recognizable toys in the world and are truly ahead of their time in design and detail.     Overall the first movie only brought us roughly 12 items in this realm, but the success would lead to an expansion of these products with subsequent movies.

Tie Fighter – AFA 75 – $1100 – Tie Fighter AFA 75

Tie Fighter AFA 75

X-Wing – AFA80 – $1350 – X-Wing AFA

X-Wing AFA80

Cantina Adventure Set – Open – C7 – $938 – Cantina Adventure Set

Cantina Adventure

Laser Pistol – AFA85 – $895 – Laser Pistol

Laser Pistol MISB

Landspeeder AFA85 – $1200ish –Landspeeder

Landspeeder

Mailers:

Like most toy-lines of the day the Holiday Catalogs and the Catalog Channel as a whole was a major part of the overall distribution strategy for any retail manufactures.   The Catalog Channel played an integral role in not only the distribution of the product, but also in creating unique offerings for the consumers, specifically in the way of Figure Multi-Packs.  By creating unique offerings of figures they created their own sub genre in the hobby which albeit a niche, is still popular today.

Boba Fett Mailer – AFA80 – $550 – Boba Fett Mailer Graded

Boba Fett Graded Mailer

ANH Fett Luke X-Wing two pack – $1153 – Fett Luke Two Pack

ANH Han, Luke, Chewy, Leia, Jawa 4-Pack Mailer – AFA85 – $895(BIN) – ANH 4-Pack Catalog Mailer Han Chewy Leia Jawa

4-Pack with Jawa

Greedo Blue Snaggletooth Two Pack – AFA85 – $1358 – Greedo Blue Snaggletooth Two Pack

Greedo Blue Snaggletooth 2 Pack Mailer

Greedo Red Snaggletooth Two Pack – AFAU85 – $260 – Greedo Red Snaggletooth Two Pack

Greedo Red Snaggletooth 2 Pack Mailer

Blue Snaggletooth – AFA90 – $1100 – Blue Snaggletooth

Blue Snaggletooth AFA90

Die Cast

A quick mention on the Die Cast line, it was a short lived venture that started with the Star Wars line and continued on through the early stages of the ESB line.  The run had some success, especially given the dynamics of that niche at the time.  Here we have a few items that came out in that first run with the Star Wars toyline.

Darth Vader Tie Fighter  – AFA85Y – $361 – Darth Vader Tie Fighter

Darth Vader Tie Fighter Die Cast

Tie Fighter- AFA85 – $439 – Tie Fighter Die Cast

Tie Fighter Die Cast

Millennium Falcon MISB – C8.5 – $316 – Millennium Falcon

MillFacon Die Cast

Y-Wing MISB – C8 – $240 – Y-Wing

Y-Wing Diecast

Pete’s Picks

This month we have a three special items that I wanted to give some attention to.   A super rare item, a cool and unique but not so rare item, and finally an auction that brings some of the crazy MOC prices back into perspective.

Jawa 8 Pack of MOC Figures – ANH – Foreign? – $2800 – Jawa MOC Set

Well not exactly the most rare item, it’s definitely not overly common to find a sealed set of Meccano Jawa figures.    These particular items are unique in their own way and really don’t fit into any categorization amongst collectors.

Jawa 8 Pack

X-Wing Prototype with Instructions and Box – $8000 – X-Wing Prototype

The most intriguing piece to come up on the market in quite some time, this version of an X-Wing prototype is really unique given how close it is to the finished product.  With most of colors represented it’s very close to the production run of the X-Wing.  A very interesting piece to surface and quite the price it demanded in the market thus making it one of my personal favorites to appear on the MW in sometime.

X-Wing Prototype

Set of 12 Back MOCs – C6-C8 – $10,500 – 12 Back MOC Set

12 Back MOC Set

Lastly we have perspective….

A set of the original 12 in decent condition going for a strong retail price, nothing too out of the norm but at the same time these figures weren’t really cheap either.    It’s a great way to close out our items for the month as it brings us full circle from the$4000 Boba Fett we covered off at the beginning of the post.

That’s it for this month’s edition, happy holidays and be sure to check back for the update on Yoda, and the upcoming general updates, in January reviewing the Holiday rush, and in February looking at the state of the hobby in 2014.

Wampa Wampa,

FB24

May Marketwatch General Update

Happy May (Okay early June) Space Freaks! As Spring turns to Summer we have a great line up of high end and rare auctions on this month’s general Marketwatch update.    I mention the change of the seasons because it truly signifies a change in the market as well.   Spring is typically one of the slowest times of the years in terms of overall transactions and variety of available pieces.  It’s easy to say that there is greater focus on selling and buying from June to August given the number of auctions and drastic upward trend in prices realized.   Thus we start my favorite season of the year, this my friends is hunting season for us!  Before we see the turn it’s amazing to see some of  the great deals for items that have hit the market in late April and May.   Across the board we saw great deals on items that seldom come up on the market as well as some staples of the hobby that saw great deals for buyers in the market. One set of auctions that I’ve neglected to touch on was the series listed by a seller on eBay with the username Earlyretiree, very aptly put if this was truly someone that had been storing these through a number of years.   I’ve copied a link to the auctions here –Early Retiree Auctions   You can see for yourself some of the great items that were up at one time, this was  a very cool and infrequent occurrence, although prices seemed  to wane on the high side. We really had to narrow down the items for this month to a handful of individual auctions, each of which is unique in its own way.  With that I hope you enjoy the findings.

Han Solo Bespin ESB Spain – $5611 – Han Solo Bespin – Spanish Wow, another piece of Spanish goodness for us to savor.  This particular piece along with it’s other Spanish brethren fetched seem to be fetching hefty retails as of late; and this one is no exception at $5611.  Quite the nice appreciation from the 200 Pesetas  this would have gone for at retail back in the 1980s.

Han Solo Bespin - Spain

Han Solo Hoth – Spanish – $4500 or less…. – Han Solo Hoth To go along with our Spanish Han Bespin auction, we have the same Spanish version but this time for Han Hoth.   Like the aforementioned auction this item saw a BIN price of $4500, with an actual price that more then likely wasn’t too far off the mark.   Both of which eclipsed the selling price of the Luke Jedi version we covered in April.  Leaving all of us to wish we grew up in Barcelona in the 1980s.

Han Hoth - Spain

Chewbacca Palitoy – AFA75 – $5549 –  Chewbacca Palitoy One of the highest price Palitoy MOC auctions of recent past, this Chewbacca saw an incredible price realized.   Rare and in high demand, this piece is one of the most difficult MOCs for focus collectors to find.  Chewbacca while a fan favorite doesn’t seem to command the prices that we see with several other characters such as Fett and Vader, but this example was definitely the exception to the rule.  A great piece with a great character that lead to an incredible price.

. Chewy Palitoy

Popy Factory Sealed Figure Set of 12 – $5225 – Popy Sealed Figure Set When it comes down to my favorites auction of the month, I have no problem singling out this auction for a set of Popy figures sealed as a set from Takara.  A line that has truly grown in popularity over the years, the Popy line of figures is truly a unique line given its spread of distribution and the fact that it’s one of the only successful “boxed figure” lines.   This particular set features some of the most popular figures from the vintage line in sealed package straight from the factory.   A truly unique item that I couldn’t find on the SWCA or through any of my auction history, thus this could be a one of a kind item.  However I’m hesitant to give it that title given every time I state that a new example comes up within a year:)

Takara Set Factory Sealed

Luke Skywalker Double Telescoping MOC – AFA85 –  $13,500 – Luke Double Telescoping MOC Auction Keeping up with high end MOC auctions we move into the highest price item of the month.   Although we’ve banished the loose figure to the HOF, the MOC version of Luke Skywalker with a Double Telescoping Lightsaber will remain a featured item when we see them arrive on the open market.    This particular item is in pristine condition with an overall grade of AFA 85, which helped this item realize a  price of $13K+.    The carded Double Telescoping Lightsaber figures are quite the rarity in the overall scheme of Vintage Star Wars.   Along with Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader (Both rarer in DT format), this piece is truly a grail to a many collectors and fans alike.   Thus it’s important to document and showcase this item for future reference.    Maybe we’ll see one pass the $15K mark in the near future.

Luke Double Telescoping2

Jawa Vinyl Cape – AFA85  – $5900 – Jawa Vinyl Cape MOC Auction Not too far from the HOF the Vinyl Cape Jawa has become a regular on the MarketWatch, between the rarity, the demand and the price it gets covered quite often and this may signal the last time as it’s the third appearance on the Marketwatch in the last year.   Regardless it’s always nice to highlight a VC Jawa on the MarketWatch update, and with that let’s push this one to the Hall of Fame!

Jawa Vinyl

ESB Vinyl Case – AFA 85 – $560 – ESB Vinyl Case One of my personal favorites the Empire Strikes Back has several personal favorites when it comes to releases unique to that movie.   You have the introduction of the At At and Scout Walker, Slave 1 and so many unique backdrops that were made into toy associated items.  Something associated with each release is the vinyl carrying case with imagery from the movie on the front. This particular one does an incredible job at capturing all of the unique situations that we saw unfold in Empire.   The artwork is exceptional in detail and truly one of the best cases put out by Kenner during the vintage run.   This one sold for a fairly high price given the market this time of year, however it’s a high grade example and other AFA80 examples have seen prices of $300+ in the past few years.

Empire Strikes Back Carrying Case

ROTJ 3 Pack Darth Stormtroopers – ROTJ Catalog Mailer – Darth/Stormtroopers I wanted to quickly highlight this piece as it’s one of the rare occasions when we have something of this rarity come up on the market twice in a one year span of time.  The original auction last summer went for $1375, quite a bit more than what we have here.   However this supports a few ideas about selling and buying in the hobby:

  1. Timing of auction is everything (Seasonally and Hourly/Daily)
  • Seasonality – Here we see an item sold in the Spring (Down Season) vs. Summer (High Point)
  • Day of week = Thursday one of the worst days of the week to sell based on historic prices realized.
  • Time of day = Not the worst considering it was in the afternoon in the states, but later in the evening would have been best.
  1. Niche markets and ultra-rare items like this have some volatility.
  • More than anything what I want to land with this point is fairly simple, it’s rare, one of the rarest things to come up on eBay in the last year.   But rarity isn’t always a good thing as this also limits the number of people who would bid on this.  In this case the collecting community that would purchase an item like this is fairly limited to focus collectors and mailer collectors for the most part and thus there is greater volatility in pricing as one of the few collectors who would spend big dollars on this item
  1. Condition is everything and the difference between the best of the best and 2nd best is quite a rather large span.
  • Simply put there aren’t many variations in condition but the tape is yellow and the box is a little more beat up then the example we saw last year.    Thus I wouldn’t put this as the main driver of variance in price between the two auctions, but it definitely impacts the price overall.   This auction probably isn’t the best example to support this point I wanted to convey, but what I want to convey is that the price difference between an 85 and 90  is consistently greater than that of the price variance between and 85 and 80.   And when you’re dealing with high demand examples this holds true as well.

All of these components work together to the advantage or disadvantage of the seller/buyer depending on which side of the coin you’re on.   And they’re key to the environment that we collect in, thus if you take nothing else away from this update (outside of the great items), take these three points to heart.

  1. The time (Season-Day-Hour) that you sell an auction has a tremendous impact on the price.
  2. The price variance from the best condition to 2nd best condition is usually the biggest price variance in terms of overall condition.
  3. Niche items have more volatility in pricing due to the limited number of collectors in the market.

ROTJ 3 Pack Darth and Stormtroopers

Check back next month later this month as we review some high grade examples of some of the most sought after pieces in the world of Vintage Star Wars collecting, a few ESB and SW 3-Packs and a pair of AFA90 Droids Boba Fett figures. Wampa Wampa

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