It's crazy to think now, but 20th Century Fox didn't hesitate in giving young film director George Lucas all the rights to profit from Star Wars' action figures. The movie studio simply didn't see any long-term potential the tiny toys.
Even crazier, Lucas's foresight that escaped 20th Century Fox's executives was shared by Robert Fisher, a suburban dad in Pittsburgh, Florida. According to Derek Fisher, Roberts's now 41-year-old son, his dad was hooked right from the start.
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"My dad jumped on everything that had anything to do with Star Wars," Fisher told local newspaper the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
"He actually started collecting before the movie came out. He sent away for a mail-out from [the toys' manufacturer] Kenner for one of the first toys. After that, he didn't stop until almost the day he died last year."
Star Wars went on to earn $460m in the United States and $337m elsewhere, and six academy awards. Today, Star Wars collectibles from props to monsters are among the most coveted on the markets.
Roberts's collection comprises LEGO sets, posters, sheets and pillow covers, comic books, mugs, skateboards, kites, Hallowe'en costumes, clothing and even Pez dispensers. What could all this stuff be worth? Fisher reckons his dad spent more than $100,000 on his collection.
Given the relentless appeal that surrounds Star Wars, it stands to reason that much of Roberts's collection could be worth even more on today's markets - especially given the collectibility of the early Kenner figures, whose new small size pioneered the way action movie toys are produced.
The collection's true market value will be revealed when Pop! Culture Connection, a collectibles shop based in Greenburg US, auctions the whole lot on August 27-28.
Famous Star Wars toy collectors have included Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The Inception and Shutter Island star sold his figures at Morphy Auctions in 2006. All were in their original card - essential to their condition and collectibility - and many were un-punched.
Given that DiCaprio's sale saw a rare vinyl Jawa figure from the first batch of released Star Wars figures sell for $4,500, and the entire collection bring $110,000, it will be interesting to see how the Roberts collection does later this month.
Watch this space for more news from the sci-fi collectibles markets.
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