The Star Wars movies created a glut of spin-off merchandise, including a very popular line of action figures. Kenner toys scored a coup by making their figures much smaller than other dolls--only 3.75 inches tall--which meant that young children could purchase them with their allowance money. The toys turned into a phenomenon, and while they died down after the original trilogy ended, Hasbro (which bought up Kenner) revived them again the in the mid-1990s. They have become quite a prize for collectors and rare models can be worth quite a bit. A general pricing guide may help determine how much you can get for yours.
Star Wars action figures can be divided into three basic eras: the original Kenner line, which ran from 1977 to 1985, the "second wave" line from Hasbro which ran from 1995 to 1999 and the second trilogy line which ran from 1999 to 2009 and on. Pricing varies depending on the individual figure. Generally speaking, the rarer the figure, the more valuable it is. This tends to make the "vintage" Kenner collection more valuable than others, though not always.
Special Edition Figures
Other factors being equal, the most valuable figures were those from the vintage Kenner line produced as promotions. You couldn't get them in the stores; you could only get them by sending proofs of purchase through the mail. There are six among the most notable: the Emperor, the post-redemption Anakin Skywalker, Nein Nunb, Bossk, the droid 4-LOM, and one of the holy grails for collectors, the original Boba Fett with a missile shooting out of his jet pack. An eBay posting for the latter figure in June of 2009 had an asking price of $250.
Some collectors specialize in adding personal touches to given action figures: new sigils on the stormtrooper uniforms, for example, or cybernetic figures with human bodies and one or more droid limbs. Depending upon the skill and authenticity of such figures, they could be extremely valuable... or totally worthless. As of June, 2009, a number of custom figures on eBay are selling for $20 apiece, though the price of custom figures can fluctuate wildly (beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder in this case).
"Star Wars" action figures are graded on a pair of scales to determine their relative worth. Grading depends on the overall quality of the action figure, the existence of certain accessories (such as blasters and lightsabers) and even the box that they came in. The "C" scale is rated from C10 (a perfect figure) to C1 (a mangled piece of junk), with C8 to C10 being collector-worthy figures. The AFA rating uses a percentage scale: AFA 100 (perfect) to AFA 1 (chew toy for your dog), with AFA 70 or higher being collector worthy. Price differences vary more by percentage than amount--a C10 figure may go for $10 while a C8 figure may only be worth $3 or $4--but once the quality drops to C7 or below, it becomes much more difficult to convince anyone to buy them. Rarity and demand for a given figure may play a role too: a coveted C7 figure may go for $25 while a C10 copy of a less desirable figure may only go for $5.
As with any other collector's market, pricing fluctuates depending on the number of figures out there, the rarity of the figure and the overall demand. A number of different pricing books exist, as do sites that can provide accurate prices. The best indicators, however, are those in which active sales are taking place: notably eBay, which does a brisk business in Star Wars collectibles, and science fiction and fantasy conventions, where collectors price them to sell. Check the market, find a reliable buyer and know what your particular figure is worth before you choose to sell. A rare vintage Darth Vader with a telescoping lightsaber has fetched as much as $6,000, while a vintage jawa with a vinyl cape can sell for as much as $2,000. Most Star Wars figures sell for much less than that: $10 to $50, depending on the time, the rarity and the demand.
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