When director George Lucas chose to forgo a large lump sum payment for making Star Wars in 1977 in favor of a 40% cut of box office receipts and full merchandising rights to the movie, film studio 20th Century Fox thought they had pulled off something of a financial coup. Little did they know that the unrestricted right to produce merchandise – widely regarded as worthless at the time – would allow Lucas to build a multibillion dollar industry on the back of Star Wars toys. Over the years, these toys and games have provided countless hours of joy to both children and adult collectors alike. A savvy few, however, realised that rare Star Wars games and toys would gradually appreciate in value over the years and decades after the release of the original films. Today some of these items change hands for hundreds and even thousands of dollars, making a small fortune for those lucky – or clever – enough to have invested in them in the first place. Others, while not as highly valued, are treasured as beautifully constructed toys in their own right and are a testament to the impact of the classic film trilogy.
Here is the top 5 Star Wars toy memorabilia:
5. Star Wars Pez Dispensers
Although not worth as much as the other items on this list, Star Wars Pez dispensers are amongst the most collectible items available for many Star Wars aficionados. Although many dispensers are still widely available today for little more than the price they were originally sold at in the 1980s and 90s, a number of limited edition models were produced made from special materials and packaged complete with a special stand and collector’s box. These models, featuring the heads of Darth Vader and C3PO now sell for anywhere up to $100.
4. Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer
The first Lego Star Wars games and toys launched with the release of the prequel The Phantom Menace in 1999 but it wasn’t long before Lego started to release kits based on the original movie trilogy. The large-scale Star Destroyer set, model number 10030, must surely count as one of the most impressive pieces of Star Wars merchandise ever produced. Containing over 3000 pieces, the assembled Star Destroyer ship is over a metre in length and reputedly takes many hours to construct. Costing around $100 on its release just a few years ago, this discontinued kit now sells for upwards of $500.
3. 1985 Power of the Force Action Figures
After the conclusion of the original Star Wars movie trilogy in 1983, toy company Kenner continued to produce action figures for several years. In 1985 they released a new ‘Power of the Force’ line containing several reissued models and new toys of minor characters from the films. This was the last line of figures for nearly a decade and rare models like Yak Face and Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper armor are worth in excess of $2000.
2. 1979 Millennium Falcon
The Millennium Falcon, perhaps the most iconic spaceship in the Star Wars series, was also one of the most sought after toys during the late 1970’s. Many thousands were produced between 1979 and 1984 but the original 1979 models with Star Wars, rather than Empire Strikes Back branding have become sought-after collector’s items in their unused boxed condition.
1. 1978 Star Wars Action Figures
The range of action figures that launched in the months and years immediately after the release of the first Star Wars film have become a holy grail for many devoted collectors. Some rare models – such as Darth Vader carrying a telescoping lightsaber – are worth up to $6000 still in their original packaging and as much as $1500 loose.