Auction house Vectis have released details of the second auction of mint on card Star Wars figures, owned by the former Club Chairman of the UK Star Wars Fan Club, Craig Stevens, which takes place next week – and there has been a buzz of excitement among collectors since the full details were posted.
The second half of the Craig Stevens Palitoy Figure Collection at Vectis Auctioneers takes place on Tuesday 24th February. Although the majority of the figures were sold in the first auction (detailed here), the remaining 15 items have the potential to raise by far the bulk of the value. The first of the sale was an astounding success, raising over £40,000.
“Most of the figures that are up for sale in this auction are from the same set as the Boba Fett which made headlines for selling for £18,000. They appeared in the shops at exactly the same time in May 1980,” says Craig Stevens. “All of them are from The Empire Strikes Back, which is regularly voted the most popular of the Star Wars films. These figures are beautiful pieces which are drawing world-wide attention.”
We’re told that collectors will be falling over themselves to have the opportunity to bid for iconic characters in their debut British Palitoy packaging including Lando Calrissian, Han Solo in his Hoth Outfit and Luke Skywalker in his Bespin Fatigues. The auction estimates are in the region of £5,000 per figure which could well be conservative. All of the figures are in what could be described as “factory fresh” condition as have only the slightest of wear since coming off of the Palitoy factory production line in 1980.
Yet it is an unassuming minor robot character which may set the auction alight as Craig explains. “The character F-X7 was one of the medical robots in The Empire Strikes Back and had one of the shortest screen times of all of the Star Wars action figures. Yet collectors have realised that it is one of the rarest Star Wars figures around.”
According to Craig, there are other rarities up for grabs. “Lando Calrissian had an unsightly smile painted on his face on later releases of the figure. The debut figure that I am selling is the only time he was released without the smile and he was available in the shops for less than a year. Also the pictures on the backing cards of Luke Skywalker in Bespin Fatigues and Princess Leia in Bespin outfit were changed forever, mere months after these particular figures were released. Collectors are beginning to realise that the chances to add these figures to their collections are becoming ever more remote.”
The publicity surrounding the first sale was featured on major news programmes, national newspapers and all over the internet. Interviewed by the Clacton and Frinton Gazette, Craig’s mum Rosemary said of the Star Wars figures, “For a while, I had them all stored in my lounge behind the sofa. I knew they were priceless to Craig, but I had no idea that they were worth that sort of money. It’s absolutely amazing.” Craig has a strong connection to the area as he ran the “Rosemary’s” toy shop and studio in Walton High Street with his mum until 2013.
Craig is currently searching for a publisher for his book Star Wars: Made in Britain. “I have encountered a clamour among fans for the story of Star Wars in Britain to be told,” says Craig. “I have amassed a huge amount of information in my four years of research including how the Star Wars films were made, how they were marketed, merchandised and how the release of each film slowly crept to cinemas across the country over a period of months.
“Remote areas of Britain had to wait over a year in order to see Star Wars on its initial release, with headlines in the local press ‘We’ve finally got it!”
Craig has let it be known that he intends to use the proceeds of the auctions to buy a house. “I am looking for a family home for me and my wife Karen. With record prices due to be paid at the auction on 24th February, the Force is sure to be with Craig and Vectis Auctioneers.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.