Tomorrow's Collectibles Today!
Vintage Kenner Star Wars Figures
The original Kenner Star Wars figures are often refferred to as the Vintage Star Wars figures and were released between 1977 and 1985.
It is these figures that have become highly collectible and sought after with some of the rare figures selling thousands of dollars.
However many of the later Hasbro figure are next to worthless.
What you need to remember is that back in the mid seventies people didn't "collect" action figures and certainly no-one would even have considered leaving them in their boxes (well, at least not many people) and that's why they are worth so much now.
By contrast there are thousands of collectors now who buy and horde their Star Wars figures, guarding them jealously like mythical dragons guarding their horde of gold.
When Star Wars: A New Hope opened in the latter part of 1977 a phenomenon that would last for more than three decades was unleashed on an un-expecting audience.
With little to no pre-marketing and a small PR budget, the movie opened in a few select cinemas only.
Even the original movie posters were sub-standard and consisted of "artist" impressions rather than photographic images.
But despite this Star Wars fever spread like the plague and not only beat but annihilated all previous box office records.
I remember everyone at school talking about this new "must see" movie.
And queueing for hours outside the local cinema to see it.
And boy, what a ride it was!
I must have gone back at least three time to see it over the following weeks.
But many of the toy companies and merchandisers were caught with the trousers down.
One such company was Kenner who realized that they couldn't get their Star Wars toys into stores in time for Christmas.
So what did they do?
They did the next best thing and sold a cardboard display for the forthcoming figures and a mail in certificate that guaranteed the holder a set of the first four figures and good to their word in early 1978 Kenner sent out thousands of mailer boxes containing Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, Chewbacca, and Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2).
This is why the first series of the Kenner Star Wars figures are dated as 1977 when in fact they didn't come out until 1978, but unfortunately they were ALL dated 1977 so these have no sgnificant ralrity.
This legacy heralded a new era in action figures and the beginnings of what was to become an increasingly popular hobby.
Up until this time "action figures" had consisted of mainly of your G.I. Joes and Action man figures
The vintage Kenner Star Wars figures were approx 3 3/4-inches in height with approx five points of articulation, i.e. moving parts, and ran from 1978 to 1985.
During this time Kenner released 115 figures, excluding production variations under the titles of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Power of the Force.
Later, in 1997, this line was re-introduced to coincide with the theatrical release of the Special Edition movies of the original trilogy.
It was at this time that Kenner were "absorbed" by Hasbro and although they continue to produce a variety of toys and play sets relating to all six Star Wars films, the original Kenner toys are still the most sought-after by collectors
Kenner also supported the comic books and animated television programs in 1985 with figures and play sets under the titles Droids and Ewoks.
The figures in these sets, with the exception of the Boba Fett and A-wing Pilot figures, were sculpted exclusively for these releases and each character featured a specific collectors coin.
All in all Kenner enthralled millions of kids who immersed themselves in a world of aliens, rebellion and evil for more than a decade and their legacy continues to this day, even more than three decades after the first Star Wars toy hit store shelves.
How Rare is your Kenner Star Wars figure?
Some of the "rarest" Kenner Star Wars figures sell for thousands of dollars and one off the most obscure, talked about and famous one of them all is:
The missile firing jet pack Boba Fett that has become almost "mythical" or at least until it was featured in an eBay auction last year (July, 2008) with a starting price of $100,000!
So why is this one worth so much?
Well first off many people and even Star Wars "authourities" insist there aren't any, yet all agree their existence is not only possible but probable.
It is a well known FACT that at the time Kenner were going to release a Boba Fett figure with a rocket firing back-pack.
The fact that he used his back-pack to fly, not for shooting missiles was obviously lost on the design team at Kenner.
In fact a prototype was even made of the figure.
Now in theory this means that some DO, or at least DID exist and so in theory are still out there SOMEWHERE, but...
So what happened?
Well it seems the CEO was worried about possible law suits brought about the mothers whose little darlings had lost an eye because of them and so the idea was canned.
Another weird Kenner Star Wars figure is the:
So everyone knows that Snaggletooth was a a midget in a red suit who was a patron in the Mos Eisley cantina, so were did the BLUE Snaggletooth come from?
Well back in the 70's and early 80's Sears used to run some exclusive Star Wars promotions and Snaggletooth came in the Creature Cantina playset.
There were two versions of the playset, a wider, completely national release and the Sears version.
But the Sears version was made of flimsy cardboard which could barely last ten minutes, much less 25 years, so its a rare piece to find today in any type of good condition.
And as for Snaggletooth he only appeared on screen for about 3 seconds before disappearing and they only had a black and white still picture to work from so...
They made their best interpretation of what they thought Snaggletooth looked like based on this.
The end result was Blue Snaggletooth which despite its obvious errors is still a pretty cool figure.
Despite never being sold in packs, and probably due to his low "appeal" this figure has never reached the heights that some of the other Kenner Star Wars figures have but it still remains one of the rarest.
The next figure up in the Kenner Star Wars Hall of Fame is the:
Everybody knows and loves the Jawas, and in fact they are only one of two figure that appeared in every Kenner Star Wars series (the only other figure to achieve this accolade was Luke Skywalker).
The original and earliest Jawas produced came with a VINYL cape, but this was quickly replased by a cloth cape.
But these figures are extremely rare and hard to find BUT...
They are VERY easy to fake, so if you're offered one be very careful and check its authenticity.
Lastly with have what is probably one of the ugliest Kenner Star Wars figures ever, yet one of the most valuable:
The Yak Face figure was never released in the U.S. and was pretty rare even in the countries it was released in.
Apparently Yak Face was one of the aliens who appeared in Jabba's court and looks like a giant camel with an odd penchant for scarves.
Yet he isn't as popular as some of the other Kenner Star Wars figures despite its rarity and as a result can be picked up for a reasonable price (at least compared to other figures of the same rarity).
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