A prominent collector and Dubai resident is auctioning the world's rarest Star Wars action figure prototypes next month, a 33-piece collection which is estimated to sell for as much as $360,000 (approximately Dh1,322,352).
The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, pursued only the rarest examples of the toys released in the late 1970s at the beginning of Star Wars mania.
Officially titled 'The Dubai Collection', the auction will include 33 pieces
it includes figures for Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo in mint condition and includes pre-production prototypes never intended to be seen by the public. A hand-painted prototype of Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi, from 1977, is estimated to sell for $25,000. One of five known prototypes for a character named Bib Fortuna, considered the rarest of all Star Wars figures, could sell for $30,000.
"These early prototypes and test figures were made to perfect the stock eventually released to the public," said Aaron White, an expert in vintage comic books and original comic art at Heritage Auctions. "Star Wars action figures from the late 1970s and early 1980s are highly collectible, but these 'first shot' prototypes are glued and painted by hand, making them the most valuable figures you could ever own."
A "first shot" prototype was created to test the functionality of a toy's steel production molds. An independent third-party service graded the condition of every toy in the collection and deemed many of them to be the world's finest examples known to exist.
"The entirety of the collection is in near mint condition," White said. "Many figures are the finest existing examples ever graded - there are none like them anywhere in the word."
A rare 1977 action figure of villain Darth Vader (est. $25,000) features an early "double telescoping" lightsaber - a true rarity that is in high demand among collectors. A rare, 1985 Canadian edition of a character named "Yak Face," only released in Canada and Australia, is unopened and attached to a bilingual backing card (est. $15,000).
"Demand for vintage Star Warscollectibles has increased after the release of the new films," White said. "These figures have always been collectible, but in the last three years or so individual figures are now selling for five figures."
One unusual find features the original title of the space saga's 1983 sequel. A printer's proof card for the popular character, Boba Fett, refers to the movie as Revenge of the Jedi, which was ultimately changed to Return of the Jedi. It is expected the card alone may sell for $7,000.
Additional rarities from the collection include:
1. The single highest-graded example of the famous 1978 Luke Skywalker action figure, one of the most valuable of all Star Wars action figures.
2. An "engineering figure" of fan favorite Boba Fett, from an ex-Kenner Toys employee who worked in the internal department that did testing on figures and comparisons with production figures. Engineering figures were used in the final stages of pre-production.
3. The highest-graded example of a rare Jawa Star Wars action figure.
4. Rare, early action figures from Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe and Wrestling Superstars toy lines that have become hot collectibles.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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