A new record for any Star Wars toy is anticipated next month with the appearance at auction of a rare prototype action figure.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Roland Arkell
Pop culture and memorabilia specialist Hake’s of York, Pennsylvania estimate the J-slot rocket-firing Boba Fett could bring between $200,000-$500,000 when sold on November 6-7.
The story of the rocket-firing Boba Fett is legendary among Star Wars action figure collectors. Kenner’s prototype figure of the bounty hunter had made its debut at the New York Toy Fair in 1979 as part of the Empire Strikes Back range, only for the design to be pulled due to concerns about the safety/cost of the toy’s rocket-firing mechanism. The final production figure (itself a collecting rarity) came without the troublesome projectile.
Unknown to collectors until the mid 1990s was that there had been two types of rocket-firing Bobas – the L-slot with a firing mechanism resembling a backward L and the rarer J-slot design. While perhaps as many as 100 J-slot prototypes were made, most of the 20 or so survivors show the scars of heating, freezing and forms of stress testing.
This example, however, appears to have emerged wholly unscathed. Fully painted with country of origin and copyright stamps, the only evidence that it underwent evaluation are the index marks on the underside of the figure’s feet. It is pictured in two of the collecting bibles: Tomart’s Price Guide to Worldwide Star Wars Collectibles and Star Wars Vintage Action Figures: A Guide for Collectors.
A bid anywhere close to the massive estimate will mean a new auction record for any action figure. The current world auction record for a Star Wars toy is the $112,926 paid for a Boba Fett L-slot rocket-firing prototype that topped Hake’s sale in July this year.
The two-day auction on November 6-7 boasts an enviable array of over 400 rare and desirable collectables from across the Star Wars galaxy.
There are carded examples of the three Kenner ‘double-telescoping’ figures from the very first Star Wars ’12-back’ range. ‘Double-telescoping’ refers to the light sabre mechanism that was changed in slightly later models.
Figures of Darth Vader and Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi are estimated at $75,000-$100,000 each (they are among the few carded examples known to exist) while the double-telescoping figure of Luke Skywalker on an unpunched card, could reach the $10,000-$20,000 range. These are part of a recently discovered cache of early Star Wars production pieces that includes what it is believed to be the earliest and only known carded Sand People sample. Its pre-sale estimate is $10,000-$20,000.