When it comes to movie-themed toy tie-ins, no film will ever compare to Star Wars. In the nearly four decades since the first film hit theaters, almost every character, vehicle, and location from the franchise has been made into a figure or playset, and kid and adult fans alike purchased—and continue to buy—as many as they could afford. In honor of Star Wars Day, we decided to take a look at some of the figures that you may have owned that are now worth a fortune. To do so, we enlisted the help of the man who literally wrote the book on the subject: Mark Bellomo, toy expert, mental_floss contributor and author of The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures 1977-1985 (among many, many other books on toys).
Bellomo tells mental_floss that his love of the Star Wars universe began with the release of the first film in 1977; his connection to the toy line began the next year, when he got his first C-3PO figure. He now owns every vintage figure ever made, including the "impossible to find" Early Bird Certificate Package. With doubles and multiples of many figures and sets, Bellomo could not give a ballpark estimate of how many pieces are in his collection. Suffice it to say there are a lot, and some were harder to track down than others.
"It took me two years to obtain a sealed bag of foam 'trash' for the Death Star Space Station playset," Bellomo says. "As for crown jewels, I have about 150 to 250 mint on sealed card (MOSC) vintage Star Wars figures and a bunch of factory sealed playsets and vehicles, most of which never made it into The Ultimate Guide due to space restrictions."
According to Bellomo, there's usually a spike in vintage Star Wars figure prices when there's a major media tie-in (new films, cartoons, or shows made available on streaming platforms), but it's also a case of limited supply and high demand; a lot of collectors want the toys, but the number of vintage figures is finite, which increases their value like a piece of fine art. Millions of figures have been produced over the years (the Kenner company shipped an estimated 250 million Star Wars figures by 1985), so what happened to most of them? "Think of it this way," Bellomo says. "How many people do you think would have bought a Star Wars figure in the spring of 1977 and saved it in its original packaging?" The answer is: Not very many, which is why mint condition versions of the 10 toys listed below are worth a fortune to collectors.
(And something to keep in mind: While the potential profits of selling these figures do sound impressive, they shouldn't be taken as a sign that we should all invest heavily in toys and wait for our dollars to multiply. "If you could go out right now and buy an action figure off the rack for $15, and turn around in a year and sell if for $30, everyone would be doing that," Bellomo says. "It doesn’t often work out that way.")
1. LARGE SIZE ARTOO-DETOO (R2-D2) (1978)
Original Retail Price: $7.99
Current Price Range: $675-$725+ (mint sealed in box)
Standing 7.5-inches tall, this wheeled figure featured a secret compartment that opened to reveal an electronic circuit card and plans for the Death Star. The value of this figure is highly dependent on the color: The white plastic commonly turns yellow when exposed to sunlight or heat, so the whiter this 38-year-old R2 unit is, the more he's worth.
2. SONIC CONTROLLED LAND SPEEDER (1978)
Original Retail Price: $10.97
Current Price Range: $1000-$1200+ (mint in sealed box)
According to Bellomo’s book, this figure was based on the land speeder Luke drove in A New Hope , but there was another, smaller land speeder figure that was not controlled by the R2-D2 remote (“clicker”). This version was only sold in J.C. Penney Christmas catalogs and cost $10.97, which is around $40 when adjusted for inflation. Paying that much for a toy in 1978 usually meant that it would leave the box, but the select few that remained untouched are now worth 100 times that high sticker price.
3. RADIO CONTROLLED JAWA SANDCRAWLER (1979)
Original Retail Price: $29.99
Current Price Range: $3000-$3200+ (mint in sealed box)
Slightly less menacing than the enormous Jawa Sandcrawler from Star Wars, this toy is still in high demand 37 years after its release, and 39 years since the vehicle first appeared on screen in Star Wars: A New Hope, Bellomo says. Even its removable pieces purchased alone are valuable: Elevator stairs and hatches can be found online for three times what the entire toy cost nearly four decades ago.
4. MILLENNIUM FALCON SPACESHIP (1979)
Original Retail Price: $29.99
Current Price Range: $2800-$3200 (mint in sealed box)
Pieces on pieces on pieces! This playset had a number of removable components, including weapons, a cockpit canopy windshield, a game table, landing gear, a secret compartment, and a lightsaber training set like the one Luke uses in the film. Finding all the pieces together is rare, but some sellers do offer accessories on their own. "With most '80s toys that possess a bevy of difficult-to-find accessories, more money can be made sometimes selling the toys piecemeal," Bellomo says. "With some vintage toys, an accessory or accoutrement may be worth more money than the entire shell/hull of the vehicle."
5. IMPERIAL ALL TERRAIN ARMORED TRANSPORT (AT-AT) (1981)
Original Retail Price: $49.99
Current Price Range: $825-$975+ (mint in sealed box)
A taller AT-AT was released in 2010 with more features than its 1981 counterpart, but collectors still crave the original, which had a D battery compartment, clicking guns, and posable legs.
6. STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK CLOUD CITY PLAYSET (1981)
Original Retail Price: $9.69
Current Price Range: $1200-$1550+ (mint sealed in box)
This rare set was sold only in the 1980 Sears Wish Book, so if your family belonged to that exclusive club, you may remember it. It came with a backdrop and four action figures: “Han Solo in his Bespin outfit, Lobot, Dengar, and Ugnaught.” This piece is valuable because the materials used to make it weren't necessarily built to last decades. "Most exclusive Star Wars toys constructed out of chipboard are getting more and more difficult to obtain on the secondary market," Bellomo says. "Star Wars is a multi-generational global brand: Every aficionado wants to own one of each piece from the vintage Star Wars line ... The Sears exclusive Cloud City Playset is getting more difficult to find in decent condition—and more expensive, too."
7. SLAVE-1 BOBA FETT SPACESHIP (1981)
Original Retail Price: $16.99
Current Price Range: $975-$1100+ (mint sealed in box)
This Kenner toy came with several removable parts, including Han Solo in carbonite, a tinted canopy, stabilizer fins, and a cargo ramp. Many removable parts meant a high probability that they would go missing once the figures were opened, which is why collectors seek out sealed boxes. "If 100,000 Slave-1 toys survived the early '80s, maybe about five to 10 percent of the extant samples survived from 1981 to 1984 in good condition with labels intact and looking sharp," Bellomo says. "Maybe a quarter of that five to 10 percent are absolutely complete with all of the respective parts. Most are missing the tinted canopy or the side hatch or the cargo ramp or the Han Solo in Carbonite Block accessory."
8. STAR WARS: DROIDS CARDBACK BOBA FETT (1985)
Original Retail Price: $2.99
Current Price Range: $2300 to $2600
When Bellomo wrote the prices for his guide between March and May of 2014, one of these mint condition figures in its original package (MOC, or "mint on card") was worth between $1250 and $1400—but the price has since skyrocketed because "it was produced in far fewer numbers, and the card artwork is uniquely different," he says. "Anything related to him is collectible." Boba Fett, who was first introduced (in animated form) in The Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978, remains one of the most popular characters in the Star Wars universe, and collectors are eager to obtain the gold-plated coin and jet black Imperial Blaster included with this figure.
9. STAR WARS: THE POWER OF THE FORCE ANAKIN SKYWALKER WITH SILVER COIN (1985)
Original Retail Price: $2.99
Current Price Range: $2600-$3000
The coin itself is worth $100 or more in mint condition, but owning the figure mint on card with the silver coin can mean a much nicer payday, depending on the condition of the packaging.
10. LEGO STAR WARS ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION MILLENNIUM FALCON (2007)
This limited edition set has more than 5100 pieces and included minifigures of Han, Chewie, Leia, Obi-Wan, and Luke. Believed to be the second largest LEGO set of all time (behind the Taj Mahal set that was released in 2008), it was not cheap to begin with, and even a completely constructed version will set you back more than $1000 on the secondary market today.