If this link doesn't work:https://www.ft.com/content/a44ba202-f9b ... d53499ed71
Then here's text of the article, but I suggest a mod deletes it after 12 hours or so as it's copyright. Hey, FT, this is free advertising to calm down
"I have a strong memory of feeling short changed as a child at Christmas.
While my friends got Lego building blocks, I got second-hand Duplo, served up in a Tupperware box. And while the same friends were busy playing computer games on their Commodore 64s, a home computer from the early 1980s, I was left wondering what was missing from my less successful Commodore +4.
Where my parents did get it right, however, was with Star Wars toys.
Ever since my mum took me to the cinema as a five-year-old to see The Empire Strikes Back, the second instalment of the original Star Wars trilogy, I was hooked.
What followed were regular Christmas and birthday requests for toy replicas of the characters that appeared in the films. Han Solo came first, followed by Luke Skywalker, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Yoda, Boba Fett, Princess Leia and Darth Vader. And the requests did not stop with the characters themselves but the cities they lived in and the space ships that carried them. I still have the majority of those toys, which were tucked away in my dad’s loft until I retrieved them a couple of years ago to give to my daughter. They still make me happy.
My only regret now, however, is that I played with them. Last summer, a vintage Boba Fett figurine in its original box was sold for £21,000 at auction. My battered Boba Fett is probably worth, at most, £20.
Such is the fondness for the Star Wars franchise, which creator George Lucas sold to Disney for $4bn in 2012, that unused vintage toys originally bought for as little a £1 are now changing hands for many thousands.
Kathy Taylor, toy auctioneer at Vectis Auctions, which sold the Boba Fett figurine, says: “People have such an affection for Star Wars that the supply of vintage toys simply cannot meet the demand. Prices are still a long way from their peak.”
Since Disney bought the sci-fi franchise it has already released two new films, with the first, The Force Awakens, becoming the fastest film to gross $1bn. It also became Disney’s highest-grossing film, outselling its own classics such as Frozen and The Jungle Book.
The latest sets of fans being created from these new releases are driving up the prices of original toys. Just days before the release of The Force Awakens more than 600 toys and collectibles were sold for $500,000 in an online sale organised by auction house Sotheby’s and eBay. The most expensive item was a pristine, unopened packet of seven action figures from The Empire Strikes Back, which fetched $32,500, three times its estimate.
“This year is the 40th anniversary of the first film release and those kids who saw the original films, who were bought the original toys but who saw those toys later being thrown out, want them back. These people . . . now have disposable incomes and they are keen to buy back their memories,” says Taylor.
Keith Guppy is one such person. The 43-year-old, Stars Wars superfan, has filled his five-bedroom house in Somerset, England, with memorabilia. He has more than 1,600 figurines, 500 spaceships and one patient wife. His collection occupies the entire second floor of his home.
The latest sets of fans are driving up the prices of original figurines
“I’ve been gripped since The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980,” says Guppy. “Collecting these things is something I’ve always done but since the The Force Awakens came out the price of vintage toys has increased a further 25 per cent, and so it’s worth it.”
So what advice does he have for others? “I buy toys made between 1977 and 1985. That’s where the real money is,” Guppy says. “If you want to buy toys from the newer films then look for limited edition items and just hold on to to them. They’ll make money in time.”
You also have to like what you are buying. Barclays Wealth, the UK money manager, has written a paper on what it calls “cherished assets” — items that include Star Wars toys but which also encompass wine, stamps and art.
“With these treasured assets, the financial returns are secondary,” explains Peter Brooks, its head of behavioural finance.
“There’s little point collecting Star Wars toys if you don’t like Star Wars. Yes, market forces, like the new films coming out, can push up prices in the same way they do with stocks and bonds but the emotional return from these collections are often the real reward.”
He is right. But in the meantime may the market forces be with you."