Millions of us have been waiting for this month's opening of the most anticipated Star Wars movie of all time, The Force Awakens.
As the excitement reaches a peak, so does that value of old Star Wars toys that you may have tucked away at the bottom of your closet, hidden under the stuffed animals.
And you may be surprised at what yours is worth.
Seller Sees Sudden Interest
David Zussman and his dog Gizmo sell all sorts of vintage hobby equipment and toys.
But he says the holy grail of childhood collectibles right now is Star Wars. Collectibles from the movie series are flying off the shelves, both in stores like Toys R Us and Target, and in antique malls and flea markets.
Zussman showed us a Jabba the Hut figure in its original clamshell package from the 1990s....an X-Wing fighter from the 1980s....and a Millennium Falcon spaceship model that could be even older.
He says the new Star Wars Force Awakens movie is sending prices up on all of them, even figures that were worth just $2 or a dollar a few years ago.
"Basically a rising tide lifts all boats," he said.
Original Toys a Gold Mine
Zussman says if you have Star Wars items from the original 1977 - 1981 era, the Force is with you, because you may be sitting on a gold mine.
On eBay we found some amazing Buy-it-Now prices:
- A full set of action figures from the original movie listed for $2,700.
- A Boba Fett doll from the early 1980s, unopened, asking $1,600.
- Hundreds of small plastic spaceship models, that originally sold for around $10, now in the $200 - $400 range.
But not everything is valuable, as there are millions of Star Wars toys in people's homes.
So how do you know if yours is a collectible that can be worth big money down the road?
There are several things to check for.
What Makes Them Especially Valuable
Art and antiques appraiser Morgan Cobb of Bryson Estates has listings showing an actual model used in the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back, that sold for a whopping $180,000.
That's not a pie-in-the-sky asking price. That's a real selling price, at auction.
But she says your toy must in great shape, and very limited quantity.
"There's rarity, condition, many other variables. You really have to do your homework," Cobb said.
Original packaging is also key.
Zussman said "any time you have something in the box it can actually increase the value several fold."
No box? Sorry, it's worth just a few bucks.
Zussman, however, says you look on eBay you may be able to find just the box for sale, and if you put the toy and box together, you will then have a "collectible."
That's especially true for Star Wars action figures.
What to Check For
So here's what required for your old Star Wars toy to be worth hundreds of dollars or more:
- It is is excellent condition, not worn or broken.
- You have all parts.
- You have the original box or plastic clamshell packaging.
- It is ideally from the late 1970s or 80s. Items from the newer trilogy are gaining in value, but nothing like 30-year-old items.
- If it is unopened, with full shrink wrap, then it could be worth over $1,000. But very, very few items are in that condition.
With that in mind, Zussman says if you are buying Star Wars toys for a child now, buy two of them: one for him or her to play with, one for them to keep in the original package.
It could be worth a fortune when your child becomes a young adult.
Tip: Check Final Price
One last tip: If you are checking values on eBay, look for the selling price....not the asking price. Many people are now asking hundreds of dollars for items worth much less.
You can get the best idea of what your item is worth by seeing what others sold for, not the asking price. Search for "vintage Star Wars" and hundreds of items will pop up.
That way you have an idea of what yours is worth, and you don't waste your money.
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