If you wish to see the updated, rebooted, all-female-Ghostbuster version of the classic 1984 movie, then the answer is more likely to be ‘the local cinema ticket hotline’.
But if you would like to bid for original Ghostbusters merchandise, the answer is definitely ‘East Bristol Auctions’. Their July 30 toy sale includes nearly 45 lots with estimates ranging from £20 to £120.
The demand for more recent toys, as opposed to those such as Hornby ‘O’ gauge, Meccano or Britains lead soldiers, has shot up in the past couple of years as fresh generations collect the childhood favourites they remember from the 1970s and ‘80s.
A new record for a Star Wars production figure was established by Teesside auctioneers Vectis on July 19 when a French issue of Boba Fett, the memorable bit-part character in The Empire Strikes Back, sold for £21,000 (plus 20% premium).
In the West Country on July 30, among the highlights is a 1980s The Real Ghostbusters carded Stay Puft Marshmallow Man action figure by the Kenner factory in Ohio which also made many of the Star Wars action figures. It is estimated at £80-120.
Packaging is a vital factor in the toy collecting market – original boxes count for a lot. And, particularly with action figures, whether the backing card has the hole punched out or not (to hang on a display rack) can be crucial in determining rarity and value.
When Vectis sold the Craig Stevens collection in 2013, the Palitoy version of the original production figure of Boba Fett, preserved in mint condition on its un-punched card back, took £15,000, the most expensive production Star Wars action figure sold at auction at the time. It retailed in 1980 at 99p but only a few had survived in this condition.
The East Bristol Ghostbusters consignment offers not only action figures, but a range of merchandise such as a child’s proton pack outfit in original box, estimated at £60-80.
Many consignors wait for the best possible moment to offer their lots at auction, when interest and publicity is at a peak. In the entertainment collecting scene, a re-release such as Ghostbusters provides a good opportunity.
East Bristol toy specialist Andrew Stowe – who admits to being ‘a huge fan of the franchise’ - confirms: “The majority of the Ghostbusters lots (90%) are from a single-owner private collection which we've been working on getting for around a year or so, but the vendor was waiting for the right time to sell i.e. when the film came out.”
The July 30 sale also features Star Wars lots. A Palitoy ‘early 12 back’ Star Wars carded Stormtrooper action figure is estimated at £400-600.
The original wave of Star Wars figures, which didn’t hit the shelves until almost a year after the film opened, consisted of a dozen key characters from the first movie. Collectors now refer to them as ‘12-back’ figures, coining the phrase from the original bubble packs that showed all 12 figures from the series on the card back.