The Accidental Collector

A 'Star Wars' Story

An original design Stormtrooper and custom Mando helmet proudly on display

Many people have asked me a series of questions on collecting, like how I started collecting Star Wars. It wasn't a conscious decision. I was seven years old when the Star Wars bug bit me and I'm in my forties and it hasn't showed any signs of letting go. But let's back track. How was it that I started in the first place? After being completely mesmerized by the movie in 1977, my first ask during that Christmas was the action figures. As many of you know, the figures had their own "tricky" start and no toys were available during the holiday season of 1977. All I got was a cardboard back with the promise of action figures sometime after Christmas. Bummer. But I got over it. And when I finally came around to remembering I was expecting action figures, my first wave were Darth Vader, Artoo, Luke, and everyone's favorite protocol droid, Threepio...yes, we're on first name basis.

The Collection Begins

The Big Baddie, Darth Vader

With what action figures I had, plus the random figures my elementary school friends at the time had, we'd recreate scenarios in the school yard, whooshing light sabers, beeping astromech droids and making annoying explosion sounds, cause, we had to blow things up to move the narrative you see. Those first wave of figures were played with, and with those few figures, my collection began. As more figures came out, more ships were released, heaven help us if our parents couldn't afford the biggest ship in the line at the time, the Millennium Falcon, I began my admiration of those early Kenner action figures. As the years came and went, and as the trilogies took their final bow, even through the dormant period before the sequel trilogies, it seems like we all packed those figures away. Or at least, I did. Many of those early figures were lost, donated, destroyed, played with, which is why they are considered rare and hard to find commanding quite a bounty. Just search e-bay for vintage figures. Or ask Rick Springfield how much he paid for his prototype Boba Fett.

The Fabric of Our Lives

As Star Wars went into a 'Carbon Freeze' period prior to being brought back by the Timothy Zahn novels, toys and action figures were hard to come by. Now it's difficult to understand, being that they've slapped a Star Wars logo on everything from underoos to fresh produce, (you think I'm lying, BB8 Bananas is a thing). Back in the 90s was the dark times. A virtual Tatooine desert with hardly any new products. But the hunt for me continued in the form of thrift stores, used book stores, etc.

And as I grew older, I continued to find some relics that were as a religious experience for me as anything could be. I didn't set out to be a collector, but I ended up being a collector by chance. So, back to the second question I get asked a lot. Where do I start? What do I collect? Find something you love, and pick and choose what's important to you. Whether the collection has any monetary value or not, make sure it means something to you. I have been lucky enough to be able to find some great pieces from my childhood as well as some new pieces. Now there is a new stream of films coming at us faster than the Falcon can jump into light speed a new generation of  hopeful seven-year-olds can start their own collection. It's never too late to start. And it's never too late to make your journey to any galaxy of collecting, near or far. Have fun.

May The Force Be With You

Read next: Guy Toad
Rogelio Gazga
Rogelio Gazga

Husband. Father. Sith. Not necessarily in that order. I collect Star Wars and talk media. In my spare time, I'm a photo journalist, editor, business owner and Jedi hunter.

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