VECTIS massive Star Wars toys auction includes early play set building magazine collection

Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls - Sample Image
Star Wars wooden play sets sets combined for Woman’s Day magazine

On Black Friday – a day of commercial discounting and special offers that originated with Amazon, it’s perhaps worth remembering that once, a long time ago in decades far, far away there were times when toys were expensive and often only bought for special occasions, like birthdays and Christmas.

Cast your mind back then, to 1978, when Star Wars was the latest thing to hit the cinemas. Woman’s Day, a US-published magazine ran regular articles to help family budgets run further, with DIY projects to make playthings from scratch.

Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls - Sample Image

Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls - Sample Image
Star Wars “Living Quarters” model
Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls - Sample Image
Luke Skywalker escapes again!

Star Wars 3 3/4″ figures were affordable at little more than £1 each and there are some excellent play situations using these diminutive characters within the 1982 edition Woman’s Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls, which reprinted the original 1978 article from the magazine.

Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls - Sample Image
Star Wars “Park” (with drawbridge)

Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls - Sample Image

The sets were especially created for the publication and were far better than anything available officially licensed back then, and designs for them all were included. A copy of the book goes under the hammer at a very reasonable starting price next week, through UK auction house VECTIS (along with many other Star Wars items, full list of lots starts here). Neither the original magazine article or follow-up book were endorsed by Lucasfilm, but the photos that appeared were crammed with the original Kenner Star Wars figures, presumably so that readers would gain a feeling for how the toy could be used within play scenarios.

The photographs include eleven of the twelve original debut figures; the only one missing is the Sandperson or Tusken Raider. The rare vinyl cape Jawa features extensively, with nine of the little chaps together in one scene upon a conveyor-belt bridge made from wood, screws and glue.

Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls - Sample Image
Star Wars Conveyor Belt – complete with rare Jawa figures

Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls - Sample Image

“As most collectors know, the vinyl- or plastic-cape Jawa was available only briefly at retail before being replaced by the much more common cloth-cape type,” notes collector Ron Salvatore in an article about the book. “Since genuine examples of the earlier figure can sell for up to $300 on today’s collectibles market, it can rightly be said that upwards of $2500 worth of Jawa figures were photographed by Woman’s Day for this feature!”

Also featured within the book are Kenner X-Wing and TIE Fighters, as well as Mego’s Micronauts and super hero figures. The photos that Woman’s Day used within this book presented their home constructed playsets as a fun, colourful environment, which could be used as a play area for a wide variety of action figure toys. You can bid on it here

Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls - Super Hero City
Super Hero City

Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls - Super Hero CityAlso under the in the auction are some rare Star Wars printer proofs. Some collectors don’t just search for forgotten toys, they’re also interested in such things, along with memorabilia associated with the production of packaging. The process shows changes made along the way, from mock-ups to cromalin proofs, printers proofs (sometimes with notation and instructions of changes to be made). VECTIS even have a set of French Meccano square card back transparancies for the four printing process.

This is exceedingly rare as many of the items “back in the day” ended up in the trash bins. These are mostly “one-off” and unique historical pieces relating to the production of the packaging. Some of these have the title Revenge of the Jedi before creator George Lucas changed the title of the film at the last moment to Return of the Jedi.

There’s also some Boba Fett-related Ken Simmons themanwhoshotlukeskywalker samples of design artwork, and orginals for the iconic twelve back card artwork, and three mini-rigs he actually used to photograph the shots for the Return of the Jedi box photography.

The cover of Woman's Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls. Note this is not the copy in the auction. Earlier editions of this book did not include the Star Wars section, so if you're looking out for it online make sure you get the right edition!
The cover of Woman’s Day Book of Best-loved Toys and Dolls. Note this is not the copy in the auction. Earlier editions of this book did not include the Star Wars section, so if you’re looking out for it online make sure you get the right edition!

• The full VECTIS sale next Tuesday 29th November 2016 is here and includes Star Wars figures, early proofs, Star Wars Meccano, Palitoy trade catalogues and more

• Read Ron Salvatore’s article on the Woman’s Day Book of Best-Loved Toys & Dolls on the Star Wars – Power of Collecting web site

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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