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Rarity perception

Discuss vintage Kenner and Palitoy Star Wars toys from the 1977-1985 era.
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TK-7785
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Rarity perception

Postby TK-7785 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:40 pm

This one bounces around my noggin every once in a while and after watching yesterday's auction at Aston's I thought I'd throw it out there for discussion.

There seems to often be a disparity between the relative rarity and the prices attained or expected of comparable items in this hobby. Everyone knows about old Yak Face and how for many years he was on a pedestal as "the rarest" loose figure. Probably something that has an element of truth when you look at the American market. As they never officially got him at retail it could be argued he is a more illusive figure over there. Certainly not nearly as likely to find him in an childhood collection as you are here. And that's the thing, he's not really that rare here, yet he's still often perceived as the pinnacle of a complete loose collection. Personally I've found it harder to come across a mint EV-9D9 than a mint Yak Face. Or even an Imperial Dignitary with no nose rub.

Then we have accessories. The infamous black palace plasters I have found to be easier to acquire than a true black Han Endor blaster. In this instance the opposite of the USA Yak Face situation could be said of the Han Endor pistol. In the US Kenner release Han had the black smugglers blaster, where as is seems the vast majority if not all Euro trilogo released Han Endors had the earlier blue black blaster. Perhaps explaining why the black smugglers blaster is so much less common over here. However, we also got many Kenner carded ROTJ figures here too, so who knows. Then again he was the only figure released with that accessory. Even so, rarely do I see for sale posts touting the true solid black smuggler blaster for sale. It's usually just chance or luck that one comes in a lot or with a loose figure.

I'm sure there are plenty of other examples of certain items being chased somewhat disproportionately to their rarity?
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Re: Rarity perception

Postby Dannywhiteley » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:48 pm

I think a lot of the misconceptions about rarity stem from the early collector guides that were nearly all written from a US perspective in the early 90's. It's all we had in the UK so had nothing else to base rarity on pre-internet other than what we were finding in junk shops, carboot sales and friends collections. That wasn't always the best measure so the 'last 17' figures gained mythical status...

I remember paying £40 in a junk shop in liverpool for a loose yak in the early 90's, and that really was the pinnacle of my loose pre-internet collecting at the time. In fact it was only beaten a year or two later (post my access to the early internet) with a VC Jawa and Blue Snag finally sourced from the US for closer to £100-200 each.

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Re: Rarity perception

Postby peekaygee73 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:38 am

Dannywhiteley wrote:I think a lot of the misconceptions about rarity stem from the early collector guides that were nearly all written from a US perspective in the early 90's. It's all we had in the UK so had nothing else to base rarity on pre-internet other than what we were finding in junk shops, carboot sales and friends collections. That wasn't always the best measure so the 'last 17' figures gained mythical status...

I remember paying £40 in a junk shop in liverpool for a loose yak in the early 90's, and that really was the pinnacle of my loose pre-internet collecting at the time. In fact it was only beaten a year or two later (post my access to the early internet) with a VC Jawa and Blue Snag finally sourced from the US for closer to £100-200 each.

Yep, I'd definitely agree with this. In pre-WWW days it was much harder to get information and I relied on the Tomart's book and Model Mart for mine.

I think it's also fair to say that 'rarity' and 'desirability' have become intertwined in many people's eyes - something is perceived as rare (regardless of whether or not it actually is) so they have to have it. More people are looking for 'rare' items, which just fuels the fire.

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Re: Rarity perception

Postby edd_jedi » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:38 am

In 2018 with eBay, Facebook and forums nothing is really rare, only expensive. There are very few one of a kind items, even for prototypes. The biggest challenge is often getting collectors to part with items, which means they are not rare but simply hard to obtain (eg anything Boba Fett related.)

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Re: Rarity perception

Postby Plastikheld » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:45 am

edd_jedi wrote:In 2018 with eBay, Facebook and forums nothing is really rare, only expensive.

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Re: Rarity perception

Postby Stubbs » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:47 am

I agree with the EV9D9 being a harder figure in good condition to pick up compared to a yak face. I spent about 6 months trying to find one at a reasonable price and even then he has an arm issue.

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Re: Rarity perception

Postby SAVORY100 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:32 am

... and the over used term Holy Grail :roll:
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Re: Rarity perception

Postby Dannywhiteley » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:43 am

SAVORY100 wrote:... and the over used term Holy Grail :roll:


A definition of holy grail or grail (not the strictly religious definition) is "a thing which is eagerly pursued or sought after".

Grail doesn't describe rarity as much as elusiveness to an individual. It can be a relatively common item that is just out of reach or requires lots of searching to find one in budget.

Grails vary depending on circumstance, available finances, time served in hobby etc. One person's grail might be an R2 sabre, anothers might be a RF Fett and anothers might be a nice 12 back Luke. It's all relative.

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Re: Rarity perception

Postby SAVORY100 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:06 am

Dannywhiteley wrote:
SAVORY100 wrote:... and the over used term Holy Grail :roll:


A definition of holy grail or grail (not the strictly religious definition) is "a thing which is eagerly pursued or sought after".

Grail doesn't describe rarity as much as elusiveness to an individual. It can be a relatively common item that is just out of reach or requires lots of searching to find one in budget.

Grails vary depending on circumstance, available finances, time served in hobby etc. One person's grail might be an R2 sabre, anothers might be a RF Fett and anothers might be a nice 12 back Luke. It's all relative.


I also have the Concise Oxford Dictionary on my desk, thank you for sating, verbatim, this dictionaries recorded meaning.

The connotative meaning though for me does not sit within the pages of a a dictionary. I believe that a Holy Grail is and should be seen as 'an object that you strive to find, but may never locate'. This is far more in line with the Cup of Christ and has absolutely nothing to do with an R2 saber that you can buy literally every day of the week, or an RF Fett that in the overall collecting world is relatively common compared to multiple MoCs, changes hands more often than folk realise but costs an utter fortune...

For me at least, there is absolutely no relation to a Holy Grail and money, if there were it would just be described as a very expensive item, not a Holy Grail. It is not at all about resources or lack of them, it is about the ability (or not) to ever truly find what you are looking for.

Don't get me wrong, I have in the past used the term Holy Grail in a manner, that with Hindsight I believe I poorly judged... I classed a Model Trem Han Solo (with blaster) as a Holy Grail, until I got one 18 months later and realised that I'd been classing something that only took one and half years to find in a similar vain to something that should and could take a life time to discover...
Humorously in contrast I have now been searching for a Han Solo Kenner ESB 32 back MoC for nearly 3 years, nothing to do with funds or price, I've just not even seen one for sale in all that time, but I don't class that as a Holy Grail.. I'm not even sure I have one anymore.
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Re: Rarity perception

Postby Dannywhiteley » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:16 am

Fair enough, we disagree. I think that using the noun definition that describes the "actual holy grail" (not even confirmed to exist and likely one of the most valuable and revered things on the planet if ever discovered) probably doesn't belong in SW collecting anyway.

Personally I think the non-religious adjective definition (essentially something that is rare OR elusive) is definitely more appropriate to SW collecting. And in that respect it is relative.

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Re: Rarity perception

Postby poncho » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:33 am

its just a term banded about in a hobby thats fun!

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Re: Rarity perception

Postby poncho » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:37 am

i just went fb echo and what was the first post i saw ha ha ha
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Re: Rarity perception

Postby SAVORY100 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:46 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Rarity perception

Postby Dannywhiteley » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:28 pm

Chances of it being a wax sculpt? Haha :lol:

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Re: Rarity perception

Postby Stubbs » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:31 pm

Probably A DT luke


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