Just don’t buy it! How you can deflate the vintage Star Wars market

As my Facebook feed, ebay search results and, to a lesser extent, forum classifieds, are flooded again with overpriced AFA graded and surprisingly even ungraded mint on carded figures and loose figures, I find myself thinking “What can I, the simple collector, do about the currently insane prices?” Your eyes are probably glazing over at this point, bored already at the prospect of another stale discussion of vintage Star Wars prices. Well I don’t want to discuss why these prices exist or what will happen to the market – rather I’d like to make a suggestion about what the collecting community can do to bring some sense of control to our hobby. Now this is it. Read closely. Don’t take your eyes off the screen. You with me? DON’T BUY THE BLOODY THING IF YOU THINK YOU ARE GETTING RIPPED OFF!!!!!!! Okay, sorry for screaming. I had to make sure my main point was loud and clear. Most of you are probably thinking “No shit Sherlock, tell us something we don’t know.” But if you all know it, why do you keep doing it? I actually stopped buying MOCs about 6-9 months ago because prices spiralled out of control and I felt morally obligated to distance myself from the feeding frenzy. Unfortunately a lot of these sellers are also collectors who keep complaining about prices (yep one big cycle of greed). But I guess it must be difficult to resist making a few extra bucks when you know the market is peaking right now. Not my bag, but each to his own. My wife has started calling me “Karl” (after Karl Marx). I’ll take it as a compliment but I’m not sure she intends it as one…

We can’t stop sellers gouging us, so we have to take things into our own hands. No I’m not advocating knocking them off! We can control some aspects of the market by dictating what we are willing to pay. There’s no point complaining about prices but then turning around and paying through the nose for an AFA 85 Yakface just so you can limelight it to your collecting buddies (this point reminds me of one of our previous blog posts – http://vintagestarwarscollectors.com/posting-photos-of-your-vintage-collection-showing-off-or-sharing/). If you think AFA MOC 85s are ovepriced right now, why not show these dealers/collectors how you feel by boycotting them for a while? Get into baggies, or variants, vinyl or anything. I don’t know!

I know how collecting goes. It’s like a drug. You need a hit asap or you feel that you are going to lose it. I’m ADHD, I understand more than most! But trust me, you can cope without that hit for a while, you get used to it. Collect something different for a while as prices level out (if they do I guess). I’m getting into different things, both within vintage SW (not to mention more on the social side) and also other hobbies, while I hope MOC and prototype prices calm down. Maybe they’ll get worse and I’ll be the sucker. I’m still on the look out for good deals though, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not going to jump at the first overpriced piece that appears on my radar.

In saying all of the above, I’m not a complete idiot, emphasis on the word ‘complete,’ I know some rare pieces appear on the market only once every blue moon and if you don’t buy it then for whatever outrageous price the seller is asking then you may breathe your final breath without ever holding your holy grail to your breast. I’m not talking about these items, these are special, you can’t really put a market price on these sometime one-of-kind pick ups. I’m talking more about the insane soar in price of 12 backs, loose Yakfaces, DT Luke Farmboys, pretty much every Boba Fett MOC etc. These are not one of a kind and I’m pulling my hair out trying to understand why people are willing to pay so much for them. People argue that supply and demand dictate prices and that there has been a huge influx of newer collectors into the hobby recently. So basically we are all are all fighting over a finite amount of collectibles, so of course prices will soar. Well I collect Luke Skywalker (pretty much everything vintage Luke) and as new collectors come into the hobby I see a lot them heading straight for Luke Farmboy focuses. Which is cool, I’m not greedy and I’m all about sharing my love for this figure. So prices for this guy have absolutely shot up recently, yet I can’t scratch my proverbial without seeing a Luke Farmboy for sale, be it a DT, 12 back or loose (even these are going for crazy prices). Seriously they are everywhere, even my local classifieds are full of them. So why are they are so expensive? Because we are prepared to pay so much for them, that’s why. Then again, I’m a man of research so I’m happy to shut the hell up if someone is prepared to counter my admittedly anecdotal argument on the Luke Farmboy prices with some solid quantitative research and analysis. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I’m not an economist or a market analyst but I’m sufficiently intelligent to know that if I’m not happy with the price of something then I should not buy it. This is a hobby, they are not essentials that we have no choice but to buy at insane prices. It is we who are forcing the market upwards, don’t blame the sellers. If we stop buying at their prices, then they will have no choice but to drop their prices to our standards.

Now I’m pretty sure someone will be able to pick some holes in my arguments, I wrote this up pretty quickly and it’s intended really as an opinion piece to trigger some more discussion on the topic, rather than  to serve as a well-researched doctorate. Hopefully someone with more brains than me can elaborate on my ideas….

At this point I should also recommend reading this article from my friend Joe at Trilogo.info. Joe provides a measured perspective on trilogo market prices and rarity and advises on the virtues of patience in our collecting habits. Trust me, it’s a great read, and even a little controversial.


Sometimes when we here at VSWC blog, or our guest collectors, post our thoughts on the hobby we are met with responses that we are “telling people how to collect” and that we should “lighten up”. Well we flat out reject this. Articles like these are merely suggestions –  collect however you like but we are not going to sit back silently and watch people conduct themselves in ways that we see as harmful to our great hobby. At the risk of sounding too defensive, this blog is about celebrating the collector and 90 percent of the content is pretty much linked to collector interviews. That said, we are not dismissing these type of negative responses, simply providing some perspective.

Thanks for reading!

15 thoughts on “Just don’t buy it! How you can deflate the vintage Star Wars market

  1. Thank you for that article! That’s just how I see the situation. I also stopped buying MOCs about a year ago and switched to an Ewok Animated Series focus or even other toy lines. 🙂 I personally think market prices will fall again in the future. (not as low as we might hope) This drastic price increase is like other economic bubbles – it was too quick to provide a healthy collectors market in the long run. There is a point where no one is willing to pay the prices and it will go down.
    Perhaps I am all wrong but that’s just my 2 cents on the topic.

  2. Hey Erich thanks for your feedback mate! I agree with you and I know a lot of other knowledgeable collectors do but who knows, we could all be wrong. I hope not though!

    Thanks again for reading the blog!

  3. Hi

    prices on some items seem to have doubled or even more lately. however there still are many nice deals out there i find. I found out the figures tend to hold value better then dollars or pounds whatever currency. maybe even gold. the figgs and other sw vintage stuff will remain their value pretty good i find. . maybe its because of the financial crises that we have gone through that everybody spends most of their cash atm. the upcoming episode 7 may pushup prices a little because star wars is in the news again.

    • Hi Jaap,

      Thanks for your comment. Prices are definitely hitting the roof and no doubt the new movie will push these higher. Personally though I’m not sure how sustainable the market will be. Hard for any of us to know I guess…

  4. I agree I had a vintage collection over 15 years ago, they got stolen and I’m trying to start my collection again, but I find prices not only too high, but insanely ridiculous; that is why I buy from fellow collectors who know (I believe) the value is more emotional than economical for us! I will not buy overprices MOC simply cause I dont have the money. If any fellow collectors have doubles or extras at fair prices let me know!!!

    • Hey Gaspar, that’s terrible about your collection! Great that you are getting back on the collecting train though. No doubt there are a lot of collectors out there who are still selling for decent prices, and this is something that I try to highlight in my article but unfortunately also some of the people selling vintage for insane prices are also people who are our fellow collectors and should know better.

      But there are still good prices to be had out there. Not all items are overpriced, just a hell of a lot of them!

  5. So I recently started collecting loose vintage SW figures…Reason being I had them all as a kid but I let my Mum sell them all in car boot sale (I think it’s called a yard sale in the US)…So i’m on a nostalgia trip to try and get back what I sold plus those figures I never had….I like to buy figures in good condition with the weapons etc…For example…today I spent $30 on a Snowtrooper, $15 on a Bespin Lando and $13 on Admiral Ackbar…Thoughts? I’m I paying way over ?

    • Welcome back to collecting James! These prices don’t seem too bad to me mate. Hard to say without seeing the figures but I wouldn’t be too worried. You can get a good idea by checking ‘sold’ listing on ebay, searching similar listings on the Facebook groups and Forums. You’ll start to build your own instincts after a while.

      Good luck!

  6. I am a vintage collector. I love Star Wars since I was a kid and I am trying to complete my collection. I have many loose figures and actually I think there are no overprices, no bubbles…just fair value. Recently I paid $ 10 on Bib Fortuna C-8 loose by example.

  7. I shared this in one of the main Facebook groups and there has been a lot of discussion. Unfortunately, as also happens with all of our other articles, the majority of discussion occurs on Facebook, rather than on the blogpage itself. This is a shame as there are some readers who are not signed up to Facebook. After a lot of discussion on Facebook I did post some general comments so I thought I might re-post them here. I’ll try to reproduce similar comments here in the future.

    Thanks guys for all of your comments, even those criticising my ideas. Thanks also to those who shared the article on their blogs (particularly one of my favourite blogs (https://www.facebook.com/4LOMKUSS?fref=nf) and who re-tweeted – whatever that means! I’m astounded by how popular this article has been. I can’t respond to every comment but I want to make some brief general comments. 1.I’m not saying all pieces are overpriced, just a hell of a lot of them. 2) I agree that two people can agree on the price of one specific piece – but that should not dictate the price of what everyone else should pay for similar pieces. 3) I’m not 100 percent sure I’m right about how the market can be controlled but I’m 100 percent sure that I’m right that you shouldn’t buy an item if you feel it’s overpriced. 4) I When I chose Yakface as an example I chose him because I knew he was popular and expensive and there had been a few recent sales. I cannot even remember who was selling what, what the prices were or even what the grades were. This particular example was random .5) When I talk about overpriced items in the article I’m talking about items that should not be considered ‘rare’ or ‘holy grails’ . 6) There are still sellers regularly listing items at what I consider to be decent prices. My jaw dropped recently when I saw someone’s listing of MOCs on one of the FB groups. Well that’s that for now. I know some people have vested interests in some things I’m writing against so I can understand the resistance. It’s easy to write off my ideas simply as a naive understanding of how capitalism works etc etc but this is a rather simplistic way of dismissing what is one of the hobby’s most grave concerns. Pick as many holes as you like in my economic arguments (which to be honest hasn’t been done yet to my surprise!) but at the end of the day if you think a relatively common item is overpriced don’t bloody buy it! It will roll around again. Don’t justify these prices with your money!

  8. I just started collecting MOC’s after The Force Awakens came out. The Vintage MOC’s are so ridiculous they are out of my price range. So there is no temptation for me to enter that type of collecting.

    But I found the next best thing:. Vintage Original Trilogy MOC’s that were released in the mid 2000’s. They run around $15-20 bucks so I can go back to my youth and buy Luke, Leia, Han, Vader, etc and still feel that I’m not spending too much for a hobby.

    • Hey yeah I totally get you. Prices are crazy and have gotten even worse since I wrote this article. My collecting has slowed down but I am still able to pick up some decent little pieces here and there.

      Nice work on the more modern MOCs and fantastic that they bring back the nostalgia of your youth. I’m in my early 40s though so I’m stuck with vintage….

      • Thanks for the reply. I went through the same problem collecting Baseball Cards, as it gets to a point where they price the average person out. What I have learned is that prices are always a bit inflated on these products and the cause/effect of this is you have less buyers because of that. So you have this artificial higher market because of this supposed less demand, but it’s the exact opposite.

        If prices came down on Star Wars MOC’s, I would love to start a collection. My motto is collect first, and the value of anything should be backround noise. The problem with collecting today is that the everyone seems to be about value and investment first, and collecting second.

        That is why I’m happy collecting those ‘Vintage Original Trilogy’ MOCs that came out in 2004, 2006, 2007. I can still have a collection that I can proudly display (I recently bought a Han Solo Return of the Jedi Camoflague MOC), yet only paid $16.00 for it. Why buy the real thing for hundreds of dollars if I can have a knockoff for a gallon of gas!

        In saying all of that, I owe all of this to my enjoyment of The Force Awakens. Like many fans, I was letdown by the Prequels, and sort of checked out of Star Wars fandom and just watched the Originals.

        The Force Awakens was more like The Fandom Awakens for guys like me who grew up with the Originals and got that feeling again in the movie theater. Only now we are experiencing it with a whole new generation. I’m looking forward to Episode 8 this year, and will be right there come the fall when the action figures are released.

        I guess you can go home again….

  9. Thanks for the advice. I had all the loose figures and sold them before Disney took over. I have been trying to recollect all of them again but I have been having to pay allot more for them. I regret selling my MOC collection. I refuse to pay high prices for these figures. I found allot of good deals on loose figures by searching eBay for bulk lots or by date and manufacturer.

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