Most kids played with their Star Wars figures, weren't especially careful in keeping them mint, and it shows in their condition today. This isn't criticism of course because they were after all toys that were made to be played with. However, there have always been some children who look after their toys better than others, who both want and like to keep them in perfect condition. I know this because I was one such child. After each time I played with my Star Wars figures, I carefully removed Luke, Vader and Ben's sabers from their arms and stowed them away in my box of weapons (which had a click lid, so they couldn't escape
). I never threw my figures around, or got them dirty, or allowed the paint to chip. I never lost a weapon or damaged an accessory.
I know I was unusual in this regard, but I also know I wasn't alone. There are still mint childhood figures to be had out there, even today. I don't doubt there will also be some mint loose figures that have been removed from beater cards much more recently, but don't underestimate the careful kids that grew into adults and are now cashing in.