The "Star Wars" saga has been more than just a big-screen phenomenon for four decades. It’s been a merchandising force that has earned billions of dollars. Walk through any grocery store and you’d be hard pressed to find a product that doesn’t have a "Star Wars" character tie-in. Even if you’re not a hardcore fan, you probably have some "Star Wars" collectibles lying around…and some of them can be valuable! What hidden "Star Wars" treasures do you have hiding in your basement?
Here’s a countdown of some of the most valuable "Star Wars" collectibles you might already own!
In 1982, the first poster to tease the highly anticipated final chapter of the "Star Wars" trilogy hit theaters. The movie was called “Revenge of the Jedi,” and fans immediately pointed out that “revenge” was not the way of a Jedi. George Lucas must have agreed, because the title was changed to “Return of the Jedi” soon after, making the original poster worth a cool grand.
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Given out during the release of the "Star Wars" prequels, these in-store displays were probably thrown out most of the time. If you were smart enough to ask the store manager to hold it for you, it’d be worth a few hundred dollars!
The first wave of action figures was released in early 1978, and the characters who had light sabers had a unique variation. Their weapons “telescoped," to simulate the light saber growing in length. Toymaker, Kenner, felt it was too complicated (and expensive) and changed the design. If you have a Luke, Darth Vader or Obi-Wan with this variation, you might be able be to cash in.
When Kenner made “Snaggletooth” part of its action figure lineup, designers only had a black and white reference photo. Thus, the first Snaggletooth wore a blue suit, gloves, boots and stood as tall as Chewbacca. Once the film came out, Kenner realized Snaggletooth actually wore a red outfit, didn’t have boots or gloves and was the size of R2D2. Future versions were corrected making the “Blue Snaggletooth” a valuable find.
In 1976, fans attending the San Diego Comic Con were given the chance to buy a poster for a movie that was still a year away from being released. The poster featured a group of bizarre characters and a logo that said “Star Wars." It only cost a dollar, but few people were interested. They ended up giving away the majority of the posters. Today, it's worth thousands.
The first version of the Jawa action figure featured a vinyl cape, similar to the ones on Darth Vader, Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Because of the small size of the Jawa, Kenner decided to have future versions wear a cloth outfit. Many consider the vinyl-caped Jawas to be the most desirable to find, which is why they can sell for so much.
By the time “Yak Face” was released, interest in "Star Wars" was fading, and the figure was only released in Canada and Europe. It was literally the last in the line of Kenner’s insanely popular toys and because of its rarity, it's a high-dollar item.
While most people finish off boxes of their favorite breakfast cereal, if you happen to have an unopened box of C3PO’s (“A New Force at Breakfast!”), you could be a little bit richer.
When George Lucas pitched "Star Wars" to the big toy companies, most turned him down. Movie tie-in licenses were rare, especially for a science fiction film. The only company to show an interest was Kenner Toys in Cincinnati. They were completely unprepared for the success of the film. Kids of all ages wanted toys for the coming holiday season, but it would be early 1978 before they could deliver any action figures or space ships. So, Kenner decided to sell the “Early Bird Certificate." For 10 bucks, kids would get stickers, a poster and a certificate that promised they would be the “first to get a set of four 'Star Wars' action figures: Luke, Leia, R2D2 and Chewbacca." It worked. The problem is that most kids sent in the necessary paperwork, making an unopened Early Bird Certificate a true rarity and worth more than $4,000!
You definitely won’t find this in your basement, but with luck, you can snag an issue of Marvel Comics “Vader Down” No. 1. Rumor has it that only four copies of this variant cover (featuring a character from a 1978 issue of Marvel’s Star Wars series) and two have sold on eBay.
With 5,000 pieces and a 311-page instruction book, this Lego version of the Millennium Falcon is the largest set the company ever released. It was also the most expensive. However, a $500 price tag is nothing compared to the thousands it’s worth now.
Lastly, the holy grail of serious "Star Wars" collectors is the Rocket Firing Boba Fett. This was a free preview figure from the yet-to-be-released "Empire Strikes Back," and to get one, kids had to send in four proof-of-purchase icons to Kenner. Not only did Fett look cool, he had a rocket that could be fired from his backpack. The problem was that someone discovered that the rocket could be a choking hazard, so at the last minute, the design was changed and kids ended up with a non-firing rocket. Some people have claimed that they were mailed the firing version. But, more than likely, only a series of prototypes exist. If you had an uncle who worked at Kenner in the late 1970s you might want to check his attic too!