Star Wars Posts

Anthony Frandsen Showcases His Nerf Collection on hobbyDB

Anthony Frandsen, who lives in Pottsville, PA (home of Yeungling Beer), has added his growing collection of Nerf shooters, weapons, whatever you call them to the hobbyDB database. Blasters is the preferred term to the Nerfing Community,” he says. And yes, you also just learned that “Nerfing” is a thing. Besides his Nerf Collection, XyberDAWG, as he is known on hobbyDB, has close to 500 items in his hobbyDB Showcase and counting.

nerf showcaseThe Showcase is a relatively new feature on hobbyDB. In the past, collectors could add items to the database even if they didn’t actually own a particular item. Then they could mark items they actually do have in their collections. But with the Showcase, it’s possible to publicly display your collection without having to dust your shelves every now and then.

nerf star warsIn the interest of providing soft-serve spongy toys for relatively harmless fun, the earliest Nerf blasters were usually single-shot, air-powered devices to launch foam projectiles with either suction cup or rounded rubber tips. Like all the kids, Frandsen prefers the newer models with their rapid-fire action. “My collection’s main focus is the clip-fed ones, actually magazines, but Nerf calls them Clips,” he said. “Along with attachments (scopes, Shoulder Stocks, barrel extensions, etc.)… of course, I have a passion for the Star Wars related Nerf Items as I am a huge Star Wars geek.”

nerf nitronIf you’ve been to a kid’s birthday party over the last decade or so, there’s a good chance a Nerf battle may have erupted. Heck, it’s likely attendees were asked to bring their own blasters as the main theme.

Frandsen enjoyed playing with Nerf toys as a kid but didn’t really consider himself a collector.  “As a boy, I loved them, but didn’t have many, just one or two at a time,” he said. “But it’s something my boys like as much as I do. So about a year ago, I started building a collection for my sons.”

nerf rapid fireSome of his inventory predates that one year period, though. “My Rapid Fire 20 is the oldest item,” he said, “but the gun I have owned the longest is my yellow Switch Shot EX3 I purchased with the Wii Game Nerf N-Strike, I bought that 10 years ago before I even thought of collecting.”

nerf switch shotHe currently doesn’t have any interest in thinning out his collection, but might someday. “ I tend to not sell, I’m a hoarder,” he laughed. Nonetheless, he decided to add his collection to hobbyDB and set up a Showcase. “I wanted to find a suitable place to build an online collection of my Nerf Collection as I couldn’t find anyplace already set up, short of a text list on the Nerf Wiki. The Showcase is a great way to do all that.”

nerf video gameOf course, Frandsen doesn’t limit his interests to one area. He also dabbles in movies, music CDs, video games (and yes Nerf video games exist!), comics, books, Skylanders, and Lego sets. “As I’ve been adding to the database I spill over into many other areas,” he said. “Then I find myself cleaning up and correcting items unrelated because the way the database is so interconnected as you are fixing one thing, it’s easy to just follow the crumbs and clean up other areas.”

The Showcase is automatically created when you set up a profile on hobbyDB… you can go there and add a cover image, then add to your collection and watch it grow. And of course, if you have an item that we don’t have in our database, as always, please add it!

 

Interested in joining forces with hobbyDB to take charge of our collectible destiny? Learn more at our Wefunder profile.

Furby Finds a New Home in hobbyDB Furbies Database

furby gameboy

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

In another big step towards becoming the definitive source of info for anything and everything collectible, hobbyDB has added Furby to our database. As in every single variant of Furby ever made. The Furbies Database includes over 200 of them. The talking ones, baby ones, video games, and accessories.

Furby first appeared in 1998, just in time to become THE holiday toy craze of the year. Furbies are sort of a cross between a hamster and an owl in colors both loudly whimsical or inspired by nature.

furby first generationThe big appeal, of course, was that they not only talked but learned and interacted with the owner and other users. In fact, despite their partly invented speech (called Furbish), they were programmed with a real vocabulary, translated to 24 different languages worldwide. Over 40 million of them were sold by Tiger Electronics in three years. Baby Furbies appeared in 1999 with higher voices and an increase in cuteness.

furby gizmoThe National Security Agency banned them from government offices, however, fearing they could be used as recording devices, even though they didn’t have that capability. (So in a way, Furby predicted Alexa and other modern household devices). Also, the makers of the Gremlins movies sued them over the design at one point. They managed to work things out doing a special Gizmo themed Furby at one point.

And then in 2000, they just sort of stopped. But not for long.

furby second generationfurby chewbaccaHasbro revived the brand from 2005-07, with some upgraded features. They began speaking only Furbish, but “learned” new words in English (or their new native tongue depending on where they were sold), and replaced the old with the new. They also had more expressive facial features due to more sophisticated robotics.

One of the great things about the Furby listings on hobbyDB is that our database connects them with other brands and characters, such as the Furby-powered Star Wars characters or Garbage Pail Kids cards.

furby generation 3Furby has since come back in 2012, this time to stay. Hasbro once again upgraded the expressiveness through eyes (and ears) that could show additional emotion, as well as an expanded vocabulary. There is also an online component, which is the sort of thing the NSA once again raised their eyebrows at.

The current run of Furby is the longest in their two-decade history. We have them all online at hobbyDB, and we (along with all of you fans) will keep it up to date with new developments.

Of course, we know there are always collectors who might know just a bit more than we do, so if you can think of one we haven’t listed in the Furbies Database, please add it for us.

Peter Mayhew: Celebrating the Giant of the Collectibles World

The galaxy lost an icon of gargantuanly hairy proportions on Thursday with the passing of the “big, walking carpet” that was Peter Mayhew.

Peter MayhewMayhew was known for his roles on the screen, his voice-over skills off it, and was an accomplished author of children’s books. But he was best known as the man who crammed all 7-feet, 3-inches of his gangly frame into the larger-than-life character Chewbacca of “Star Wars” lore.

Chewbacca was the first alien to teach us that extra terrestrials can be lovable, loyal, brave, huggable, fallible, funny and, dare we say, human. Every cosmically impossible entity — from Harry of “Harry and the Henderson’s” fame to Groot and all affable oafs between — owes a nod to the Mayhew’s portrayal of the Chewy.

Chewbacca legacy reaches across many galaxies, especially in the collectibles industry where he made his debut in 1977 as part of Kenner’s original set of action figures.

Peter Mayhew

Chewbacca looks to evade some mynocks in the belly of an exogorth (giant space worm).

How popular was Chewy as a collectible 42 years later? Chewbacca is the featured character in Funko’s Star Wars Smuggler Bounty box this month. Its subscribers receiving their boxes via Amazon the day of and before Mayhew’s passing.

Chewy’s likeness has come along way since the action figures and metal lunch box days. You can find him on just about everything from bath robes and chewy dog toys to Furbaccas and life-size film-ready heads.

Get a good look at the diverse world of Chewbacca collectibles on hobbyDB, including the Space Punch soft drink

What’s your favorite Chewbacca collectible? Tell us in the comments below.

Double Telescoping, Rocket Launching, Solid Gold Collectibles: 13 Rare Star Wars Toys

expensive star wars toys

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

As the individual “Solo” movie hits theaters this week, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the most expensive and/or valuable collectibles from the movies. Folks are going to drop a ton of money on movie tickets, so why not also on toys?

In this rundown, we’re not at all suggesting that you can retire if you find one of these in your attic. Instead you’ll more likely be kicking yourself because 12-year-old you didn’t bother to collect them all and store them safely in 1977. And you certainly shouldn’t have buried them in the sandbox with all those fireworks. What was I thinking? So the prices are based on what someone paid or might be expected to pay for one of these rare Star Wars toys as opposed to those sky-high, unfulfilled asking prices on eBay.

Action Figures

star wars small head han soloSmall head Han Solo. Han Solo’s appeal comes from his roguish charm, dashing good looks, and well-proportioned head. Wait, what? The early version of the 1980 Empire Strikes Back Han Solo figure from Kenner had, well, a tiny head. He just didn’t look right. So they changed it to a bigger noggin that restored those perfect proportions to his handsome self.  Supposed value: Maybe $2,000-2,500 for a mint, carded version. But don’t get cocky, kid.

double telescoping darth vaderDouble Telescoping Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Luke Skywalker. Early action figures of these characters came with a retractable light saber. The main part hid in the arm and slid out, and then a thinner center piece pulled out from there. Unfortunately, that thinner piece was prone to getting bendy, looking like the uninflated part of a balloon animal. Later models included a better saber solution. Supposed Value: Carded versions of these old ones can fall in the $2,000 range.

star wars rocket launching boba fett

Rocket Launching “21 Back” Boba FettIf that all sounds pretty specific, yeah. Very early versions of the “Empire Strikes Back” bounty hunter featured a back pack that could fire a plastic missile. Rumors of kids choking on the projectiles or shooting their eyes out led to that kind of toy disappearing. As for the packaging, Boba was number 21 out of 20 figures made at the time. Previous card backs showed a nice array of 20 different figures, but the card was hastily redesigned to squeeze in one more, making the whole back look unbalanced and odd. Supposed value: $2,500-3,000.

star wars yak faceYak FaceYou remember Yak Face, right? He was the lovable but feisty Yakora who… no, you don’t. No one remembers Yak Face. The history of which and how many action figures to produce from the original films is fascinating. At first, Kenner only did a few main characters, and they flew off the shelves so fast that they added a ton more. Then suddenly, after the third and seemingly final film, the craze was over (for the time being, anyway) and the last few were overkill. Yak Face was the last of the obscure first generation action figures. He was only released in Canada, the U.K., and Australia, so in the U.S., he’s hard to find. Supposed value: A carded one might fetch about $1,500.

kenner star wars jawaJawa with Vinyl CapeAnd of course, the most famous rare figure… Early versions of the Jawa figure had a brown vinyl cape, which was stiff and didn’t look right. So Kenner quickly replaced the cape with a cloth version and sold tons of those. Which means the vinyl version must be worth a fortune, even in played with condition, right? Well… Supposed value: Quite a few of them pop up online, so they aren’t exceedingly rare. In the package, about $1,500 to $3,000. Out of the package… basically worthless. The cape is easy to fake, as it was identical to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s cape, just shorter, so it needs to be in the package.

Comic Books

star wars marvle comic issue 1Marvel Star Wars Issue 1Of course that’s gotta be worth a fortune, right? In some cases, yes. Merchandising was surprisingly sparse when the original “Star Wars” hit theaters in 1977. But Marvel had been working on a comic book adaptation, and first issue sales were out of this galaxy. So it’s not that rare… unless you paid 35 cents for it. See, Marvel’s typical cover price for a comic book at the time was 30 cents, but they wanted to test the waters on a nickel price hike, so for just a few markets in the U.S., the cover said 35 cents. That variant is significantly rarer. Supposed value: Someone recently paid around $24,000 for a mint rare variant, as opposed to usual $1,250 or so for the common version. So that extra nickel was a good investment, even if it seemed like a ripoff at the time.

By the way, the value of later issues drops rapidly, as print runs increased and more people bought and saved them. The cover price would stay at 30 cents until issue 5, when it finally made the hyperspace leap to 35 cents.

Lunchboxes

star wars r2d2 lunchboxR2-D2 LunchboxEveryone remembers the classic 1977 lunchbox with the X-Wing Fighter on one side and the Land Speeder on the other. And those are sort of valuable at $500 or more for a nice one. But there’s a much rarer Star Wars lunchbox. The shape of R2-D2 is easy to adapt for many purposes including soft drink displays and mailboxes. It’s kind of an odd choice for a lunchbox, however, which may be why this one is so rare. King-Seeley (aka Thermos) made a dozen or so preproduction models in 1977, but it never made it to stores. Supposed value: If you find one with the label, you might pay around $3,000 for it.

Lego Items

star wars lego millennium falconMillennium FalconLego has made several versions of Han Solo’s ship including a tiny 92 piece Microfighter as well as the new Kessel Run version, which clocks in at 1,414 pieces. But in 2015, Lego unleashed the 7,541 piece Ultimate Collectors Series Falcon, priced at around $800, and selling in the aftermarket for more like $1,200. The detail is astonishing and the ship is huge, scaled properly to a Minifig being 6 feet tall. Supposed value: It has sold out out a couple of times and has been reintroduced, so you should be able to find one at close to retail price if you’re patient.

Speaking of Minifigs…

star wars bronze c-3poLimited Edition C-3POAt the 2007 San Diego Comic Con, Lego held a drawing for a rare C-3PO Minifig, the special limited edition bronze edition. As in, made of solid bronze. As in, limited to exactly ONE. No word on who won that figure, but hopefully it has been cherished either in a highly protected throne space on a climate controlled shelf, or by letting a kid enjoy playing with it. Supposed value: Priceless, really.

star wars boba fett minifigLimited Edition Boba FettNot to be outdone, in 2010, Lego released a special all-white plastic Boba Fett Minifig, limited to 10,000 pieces. And a pair of solid gold ones and a pair of sterling silver ones. There are exactly two complete sets of these in existence. Supposed value: Since there are twice as many as the C-3PO model, then, half of priceless?

star wars george lucas minifigGeorge Lucas PrototypeUnlike Stan Lee or Alfred Hitchcock, Lucas isn’t known for making cameo appearances in his movies. But a Minifig version of him appeared in some of the Lego animated Star Wars projects. Lego designed a figure, complete with clapboard, and produced a few, but it was never released to the public. Supposed value: One sold for nearly $5,000 on eBay in 2013.

As with any of these lists, take the values with a grain of salt. But if you do get a chance to snag that vinyl cape Jawa for under a grand, use any force necessary to grab it!

If these items are a bit out of your collecting budget, check out the Star Wars stuff on the hobbyDB Marketplace! And if you have any other rare, valuable Star Wars toys, let us know in the comments!

Man Pleads Guilty to Theft of Rancho Obi Wan’s Star Wars Collectibles

It’s been a month since the theft at Rancho Obi Wan, the home of the world’s largest Star Wars collection. Since then, the case has made some progress, albeit ever so slowly.

rancho obi wanFor those of you just tuning in, Rancho Obi Wan made headlines on June 5th with a distressing call for help posted to social media. Steve Sansweet, the owner of the Rancho Obi Wan museum, revealed that over 100 items had been stolen from his collection between late 2015 and 2016. After careful investigation, he believed the culprit to be Carl Edward Cunningham, a personal friend, and fellow collector. At the time, Sansweet reported that Cunningham had “surrendered on an arrest warrant” and was charged with grand felony theft.

Now it seems a small bit of justice has been served. Cunningham pleaded guilty to the theft, and he will face four years in prison following his sentencing on September 7th.

Unfortunately, this story isn’t over for Sansweet. In his original call for help, he asked the Star Wars community to help him gather more information on Cunningham and any stolen items he may have sold. In the wake of this, many compassionate collectors reached out to Sansweet and actually returned some of the stolen memorabilia. However, according to an update made to Sansweet’s original post, at least 54 items “have not been accounted for.” No exact number has been given regarding how many items have been returned to Rancho Obi Wan, though 5% of the items had been returned as of June 7th.

rancho obi wanSansweet is still collecting information on these items. Each one is listed on the Rancho Obi Wan website, so we recommend taking a look if you might have any new information. Tips can be sent to tips@ranchoobiwan.org.

This theft hit close to home for all of us when the news first broke, and it still stings now. Our sympathies go out to the Rancho Obi Wan staff. We’ll continue to follow this story as closely as we can, but in the meantime, we hope even a little extra signal boosting might continue to help the cause.