‘Star Wars’ toys still going strong 20 years later

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    By JENNIFER SVENDSEN

    The year 1977 brought the beginning of what would be the production of 104 types of “Star Wars” figures in less than a ten year period. “Star Wars” toys from all three of the films are still collected and valued by many.

    The figures are now worth anywhere from twelve dollars to hundreds of dollars.

    “The average cost would be from anywhere to $40-$75 on the old ones,” said Jim Esparza, a certified appraiser that works in his wife’s store, First Class Antiques Mall, in Midvale. “One of the largest collectors collectibles in the market today is ‘Star Wars.'”

    “We have the largest collection of ‘Star Wars’ in the state for sale,” Esparza said. “We have a lot of carded figures which are the hardest ones to get.” (“Carded” means that the figure is still intact under plastic.)

    Among the store’s treasures are over a dozen of the old time ships hanging from the ceiling, a life-size Darth Maul, an actual-size Yoda, and thousands of figures. Esparza also said the store has the A-wing ship, Imperial Shuttle, Amanaman A-wing Pilot and the Blue Snaggle Tooth — items that are very hard to come by.

    “The average age of the people that are buying ‘Star Wars’ is 18-50,” Esparza said. “It’s the hottest thing on the market…it’s here to stay.”

    Esparza said it is not uncommon for customers to come into the store 2 to 3 times per week.

    “We have at least 50 or 60 regulars that come down here all the time,” he said.

    He said the store had an especially big crowd last Saturday night due to their first annual creature dress-up contest. The grand prize was five hundred dollars in Star Wars collectibles. The winner was a man who came dressed as the character Darth Maul.

    “Man this guy did a great job,” he said. “They worked on his face all day long prior to coming down here. He had actual contacts in there [his eyes] that glared.”

    “I can’t impagine how many people were here,” Esparza said.

    Some fans waiting in the line of hundreds at Wynsong movie theaters in Provo had quite a few collectibles of their own.

    “I have the ten-inch storm trooper…and Luke Skywalker…I lost my Chewbacca,” said Patrick Ludlow, who is near the front of the line for tickets. “If they were in the box, my Luke Skywalker would have been worth like five thousand dollars.”

    Brian Young is number one in line. He has been waiting for the film for 28 days.

    “I don’t remember not playing with the toys,” he said. “I’ve got original toys from all three films.”

    Young said he collected the figures from either first or second-hand stores, pawn shops, antique shops, swap meets or flee markets.

    “Personally I believe that there’s no point in me saving it for monetary value because I have no intentions of selling it anytime during my life,” Young said. “Basically as soon as I get it, I’ll play with it for a few minutes and then put it up on a shelf.”

    Young said he has about 30 toys and 2 vehicles which “isn’t that many when you consider the hard core collectors and stuff.”

    “For mine, they just look cool,” Young said.

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