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