A set of 93 Star Wars figurines found in a supermarket ‘bargain bin’ four decades ago has sold at auction for almost £50,000.
The anonymous collector, now in his 70s, hoovered up as many of the toys as possible at a Tesco’s after the 1983 release of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
He carefully stored them at home still sealed in their packaging, ensuring they created a buzz when he decided to offer up the lot through C&T Auctioneers in Ashford, Kent, on January 6.
One Princess Leia figurine bought for 49p, equivalent to £1.76 in today’s prices, sold for £1,750 – a return on investment of nearly 100,000%.
A £1.39 figure of the bounty hunter Boba Fett, one of the most popular action toy characters in history, sold for £2,000.
The set included a few highly-prized figures such as Yak Face, a minor character from Return of the Jedi thought to be one of the rarest collectables from the series.
Other rare pieces included a bizarre rendition of Anakin Skywalker as he appeared to his son Luke as a Force ghost in the film’s final scenes, played by English actor Sebastian Shaw.
Shaw, whose face barely appeared in the original film, is almost unknown to younger fans as later versions were edited to replace him with Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin in Episodes I to III.
The 93 figures sold for a total of £49,089 – far outstripping the £15,000 they were estimated to make when they were valued at the auction house.
Glen Chapman of C&T Auctioneers said the market for vintage toys from the 1980s was booming as people who grew up in the decade are now likely to have much more disposable income.
He added: ‘It is a fantastic result. These figures hadn’t seen the light of day for 40 years.
‘A lot of time, collections like this one end up going round in circles and stuff comes back on to the market after a few years but this collection was fresh to the market which is why they did so well.
Many of the toys were also ‘unpunched’, meaning their boxes were left intact as they weren’t placed on shelf hangers in the Tesco store.
Mr Chapman continued: ‘A lot of them were bought for vastly reduced prices, like 49p down from £1.99, and they represent a great investment.’
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