Star Wars Luke Skywalker

Star Wars 12-card figure of Luke Skywalker with double-telescoping lightsaber, mint on card – estimate $10,000-20,000 at Morphy Auctions.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The trove sat quietly in a Chicago-area home for decades since new. The owner became aware of their potentially huge value after contacting Morphy Auctions, the Denver, Pennsylvania, firm where the toys will be sold on February 1.

The so-called Morphy Find of more than 400 carded figures had been bought by an Illinois gentleman (a collector of antique coin-op machines) for his chi ldren. With exceptional foresight he had bought in multiples – some toys to play with, some to put away for posterity.

When photos of the toys were shared with Tommy Sage, head of Morphy’s toys division, it was clear that the company had landed perhaps the most important Star Wars consignment ever. Sage excitedly texted his boss Dan Morphy, with the message, “Go get the stuff!”

Rare lightsaber

The dozen cardboard boxes contained examples of all of the first 21 Star Wars figures from 1977 plus others made for the sequels The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and the 1985 Power of the Force range.

One box contained 24 mint figures of Yoda of three different types. Another boasted eight Boba Fetts, eight Jawas and eight Darth Vaders.

Undoubtedly the rarest model in the group is the double-telescoping Luke Skywalker, a figure only available in Kenner’s ‘early bird’ packs. The term ‘double-telescoping’ refers to a rare variation in the lightsaber, a fragile early design that was scrapped when the figure entered mass production. There are half a dozen ‘mint on card’ examples of this figure that in the past have brought sums of $25,000-plus.

Star Wars R2-D2

Star Wars 12-card figure of R2-D2, mint on card – guide $800-1600.

The collectables market can be vulnerable to this type of discovery – that dramatically increases the numbers of previously rare models available to the market – so these are attractively pitched at a mere $10,000-20,000 each.

Lang said: “This is a once in a lifetime find. We’re decades out from when the original Star Wars movies were released and to find so many figures of this quality all at once, untouched and in a non-collector’s hands, is just amazing.”