Yesterday, I was lucky to attend an auction of the estate of a local collector (hoarder). Everything in the auction was Star Wars related. Fortunately, I am not a Star Wars collector, because if I was, I would have come home with a way too much and a much lighter wallet.
I went to the auction because 1. I love auctions and 2. this one was obviously made for guys like me. I didn’t plan to buy anything based on what I saw in the auction’s online photo gallery, so I went mainly to observe and maybe learn a thing or two.
The sheer volume of items in this auction was proof that the seller must have had an absolute house full of stuff. There weren’t many high-value items, other than a couple of prop replicas, but you certainly could have stocked an eBay store for a year! The items were selling for less than any collector would want to receive for his items, and I started to feel bad for the seller. I hope he wasn’t in the room!
If you are a collector, I would highly recommend attending an auction like this if given the chance. It can be a sobering experience to see that all those items you bought, coveted, and stored away, surely thinking they would fund your retirement, usually end up being basically worthless.
The auction was not that well-attended, there were probably only 15 bidders present. There were a few dealers and a couple of women who were there for the Barbies and Madame Alexander dolls that were mixed in for some reason. That left maybe eight or nine collectors. One was there for just the trading cards, another woman was there for the toys, most likely buying them for her kids to play with rather than as a collectible, and then there were two guys that only seemed to want the expensive model kits and life-size replicas.
These statues and props were the big ticket items, and brought the best prices of the day. The Chewbacca head sold for $200, and Yoda was $300.
With so little competition, the prices were very, very low. The auctioneer was clearly out of his element and seemed almost annoyed that no one was bidding against each other. If I went with the intent to buy Micro Machines, I could have come home with 40-50 sets for under $250, but I was a very good boy that day, and stuck to my non-Star Wars collecting guns — for the most part.
I was familiar with Rumph mugs because they made an incredible one for King Kong that I have been wanting for years, and when I saw these two mugs, I had to try for them. I really only wanted the Chewie one, but the auctioneer put them up in a lot, so I ended up paying more than I wanted to, but still totally worth it. These mugs were one of the few items that actually had a minor bidding war.
Unlike the mugs, this ceramic Darth Vader bank from 1977 garnered zero interest, and I scooped it up for just two bucks! I love collecting things like this because their shelf life is shorter than durable toys and items made out of plastic. How many kids do you think ended up dropping their Vader bank and shattering it into a million pieces?
These vintage iron-on transfers were a huge kick in the nostalgia pants. I remember watching my mom iron on transfers like this when I was a kid. These aren’t a high-value item, so I think I might just make myself a Han Solo shirt — and maybe I’ll make a couple for my kids. Maybe.
These were the two prizes of the day for me. An original folded one sheet for the Empire Strikes Back and a New Hope poster signed by the Hildebrandt brothers. These posters were sitting in a pile of posters and comics and almost weren’t auctioned that day, but when everything else was sold, the auctioneer was about to call it a day unless someone saw something else they wanted to bid on. I brought these two up and got them for the opening bid (it was low) — the auctioneer knew he gave these away and wasn’t too pleased, but by that point, there were only a few bidders left, and many of them had already checked out and couldn’t have bid anyway. I would have loved a shot at the rest of the posters but just wasn’t sure if they were originals — Star Wars posters are the most faked posters out there, and you have to be very careful, but I would have taken a chance, knowing that these came from the collection of a serious Star Wars collector.
So, for not being a Star Wars collector, and not going to the auction with the intent of buying anything, I spent a fair bit of money and wish I had bought more. Such is the life of a collector.
John Gaither says
My buddy Scott would of had a blast at this i bet.
Dex (@Dex1138) says
I have that iron-on book scanned. You can buy transfer paper at a hobby store and make an infinite number of shirts while preserving the book!
I even used them to make a couple of custom designs
Nice! I know you would have enjoyed this auction Dex!
The Chewbacca mug was given to me as a present from a friend back in the 70s and I’ve had it in a cabinet at home for all these years. Last year I finally bought the other two to complete the set. I think the Chewie is a great piece. Nice find!
It really is a fun, hefty mug (stein? tankard?). I think I’ll probably end up using it on my desk as a pencil holder. 🙂
Rich (The Nerd Nook) says
Great scores! Really dig the mugs. I’d totally use them!
Paxton Holley says
Yeah, those mugs are a great find. They look great.
That A New Hope poster was a nice find too. It’s from the 15th Anniversary in like 1992. I think they sold two versions, one with the Star Wars logo and that one you have with the A New Hope logo. I think your version was only sold on the Home Shopping Network which makes it a little rarer.
Nice haul, Brian.
Thanks for the tip Pax! I’ve been trying to nail down the exact origins of this poster. I see that the Hildebrandt brothers had it for sale on their own site at one time:
There was a QVC version which was the “lost” art that did not have R2-D2 and C-3PO in the lower right corner, and the logo is centered in a wide white border. I did find a reference to a HSN anniversary poster but have yet to find a photo of it to confirm that its the same. Regardless of where it came from, it’s an amazing poster, and I’m happy to have it. 😉
Lee Revier says
I have this exact poster. I purchased it in 1993 when I saw that QVC was hosting the Hilderbrant brothers who were signing Star Wars Posters. There were two of these “new hope” posters offered that day. One signed in gold pen and the other signed in silver pen. I have the silver pen one. I kept it in the tube all these years and finally had it framed where it now hangs next to my desk. I think I paid $300 ish for the poster in 1993. I have no idea what it is worth today because they are so hard to find. mine is number 000236 and I still have the original shipping tube that it came in with the QVC logo and inventory number on it.
Great info Lee. Thanks!
I want to follow your advice and attend a similar auction. Where did you hear about this one in particular?
I heard about this one on estatesales.net.
George (GI Jigsaw) says
A bit depressing. I keep thinking I can fund my daughter’s college with my collection but will end up selling it pennies on the dollar. I still love to collect so oh well.
I’m right there with you George, but I have found myself being a lot more discriminative in the last few years, trying not to overload the shelves with too much new stuff and trying to focus more on the older and rarer items.
Those are some interesting finds. The mugs are awesome, but I think I like that bank even more – I love that kind of merchandise.
Sorry, Brian. Just catching up.
This is just fantastic! You got some really great pieces. I’m an Obi-wan guy so, I dig that mug. Love the posters too.
While I have a house full of Star Wars/Trek/DrWho, I never though of my “collection” as an investment. Most of these things make me happy. I have been donating/selling off the smaller action figures as I really don’t have the space any more. Have let go of my hoarding ways (kinda miss those early mornings at Walmart…)
I only have a few really highend items which include an Revenge of the Jedi poster that I got verified – exicited to know it is realy and worth something but I’m not going to sell it anytime soon.
Iron-on transfers!!! I wish I could find them on markets now. Mom had a couple of “The Lady and the Tramp” transfers and ironed them on some pillowcases almost 30 years ago… I still have one of them 😀