Top Ten comments not to post on someone’s sales thread!

Hi guys,

This is my first blog article in a looooong time. I like putting together these top ten lists and I’ve been meaning to publish this one for a while.

Don’t be that guy who says something stupid to mess up a sales thread.

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So why am I bothering with this list? Well this issue is actually one of the greatest bugbears in our hobby and some forums, such as Rebelscum, actually ban non-transactional comments on sales thread, which I agree with. Sales posts are sensitive; comments on them, often misinformed ones, can negatively affect the experience of both the seller and the buyer. As always, these articles simply reflect my opinions on certain aspects of our hobby. Calm down, I’m not telling you how to collect 🙂

I think it’s self-evident that comments regarding the authenticity of the item for sale do not count in this review.

This top ten list chimes in well with one of our earliest blog articles:

Ten tips for dealing with other collectors on social networking sites

Also check out Mete Akin’s guest article:

Guest Collector – Mete Akin: Responsible and sound buying techniques

Top ten, not ranked in any particular order:

 1. “I would buy this if I had the money” aka “If only it was payday.” Okay this is probably the comment that bugs me most and they pop up more than most people would think. I mean, what really is the point? I know it might sound cruel to someone who can’t afford the listed item, but why bother with posting responses like these? You want to discuss it, then fine, but do it somewhere other than someone’s sales thread. I accept that you are complimenting the seller on their item (and even unintentionally bumping their thread) but it must also be annoying for the seller. We get hopeful when we receive a notification on our sales threads, so it is a bit disappointing to find out that the comment had nothing to do with the actual sale of the item.

2. “This is overpriced.”  Okay sometimes the collectors posting these comments are spot on and they can warn others off an overpriced item. That said, people really should do some research before buying anything anyway. If I have the time to do it on every single occasion, then everyone should. There’s no rush, this is only a hobby 🙂

Even though the “overpriced” intervention can often be well intended, there are so many reasons a comment like this can be a disservice to everyone involved. What happens when the item isn’t actually overpriced but this comment is actually mis/disinformation?

3. “Great price.” Pretty much the same deal as point number two, could be well-intended but don’t risk spreading incorrect notions of pricing.

4. “You can get this cheaper on eBay.” Yep, true story. I”ve seen this comment more than just a few times. Leave the seller alone and let them go about their business in peace.

5. “How much is that in -insert currency-?”  I seem to get this question a hell of a lot as I often sell in euros or GBP. It’s not a huge issue but really can be solved by simply going to xe.com for a currency conversion estimate. 

6. “How much for the -insert name of item-?”  I can’t count the amount of times I’ve seen someone ask how much an item is even though the seller has clearly stated the prices in their thread. Read the seller’s intro before asking any questions. It can be difficult managing a sales thread so unnecessary questions just make it harder.

7. “I’m not interested now. I thought you were based in -insert name of country-” I’ve had this a million times, especially because I live in The Netherlands and postage is more expensive to what the majority of collectors are used to in the U.S and the U.K. In my sales thread, I always state where I’m located  and if you really don’t know, ask the seller where they are based or check their profile before you spend hours negotiating (yes this happens…)

8. “I can sell you one cheaper.”  Trust me this happens. I’ve seen other sellers hijack someone else’s thread, offering the same item at a lower price. It’s just not cricket guys.

9. “What’s the price of fish in China?”  You guys with me? Don’t post off-topic comments. It can threaten to derail the sales thread and takes attention away from the sales item(s).

10. “I bought the same one for xxxx dollars back in 2003”  Yes we all know vintage SW was cheaper a few years ago, christ even one year ago. But someone’s sales thread is not the place to have that discussion!

So what do you guys think? Anything to add? Am I being too harsh? Feel free to let me know.

Who said the vintage forums were dying? Welcome to Tantive XI!

Hello everyone!

I’m proud to announce that last week we finally launched our brand new vintage Star Wars forum – Tantive XI! Your initial thoughts may be – aren’t the forums dying? Hasn’t Facebook taken over? Aren’t there already enough forums and FB groups? Well the simple answer is no, no and no!

If you’d like to join up without reading on, then click this link:

http://www.tantivexi.com/

The forums are struggling but they are not dying. We are adamant that there is still plenty of space in the vintage social networking landscape for new forums or similar ventures. New collectors are joining our hobby every day; our hobby is expanding massively. Not everyone is a fan of Facebook and if you are anything like me then you’ll be on all the forums, a million Facebook groups, Gemr, Twitter and even Instagram! I wish I was joking!

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So how did this all come about?

A while back a bunch of us had a vision for a brand new forum, which not only took full advantage of some of the technologies and usability options employed by Facebook but also a place where experienced collectors would find sufficient intellectual stimulation yet newer collectors would not be embarrassed or berated for asking ‘stupid’ questions.

After many months of hard work, we transformed that vision into a reality and on December 16th we finally went live! So far the feedback from members and special ‘previewers’ has been extremely positive. We have to emphasize though that the site is a work In progress, and that we are now in a stage heavily dependent on the input of new crew members to progress further. So if you miss a certain aspect of the hobby and would like to see it here, simply tell us and we can make it happen, together with you.

What’s our mission?

Our mission is to bring quality contributions to all of the different aspects of our hobby (MOC, MIB, oddballs, loose variants, bootlegs, and many more vintage collectibles) and to stimulate open discussions around the collectibles that we all love so much. Moreover, we hope that our forum will provide a ‘A New Hope’ in these dark times, within which the fora have lost their impact and previous high traffic due to the increased popularity of Facebook. However we do acknowledge the strength of Facebook and do not oppose it. It has its place in the collecting world and we hope that our platforms can complement each other. Tantive will combine the best of both worlds and serve as a bridge between FB and traditional forum activity. Our Facebook Page will serve as a Bridgehead:

Facebook Page

We do not perceive ourselves in opposition to the existing forums or FB groups, we want to work together to bring all collectors the best possible collecting experience. We welcome other forum moderators and FB group admins to join us and you are  of course welcome to advertise your pages and groups on Tantive XI!

Our mission can be read in more detail right here:

Tantive XI – This what we stand for.

How will we bridge the gap between Facebook and the forums?

Tantive XI is supported by a heavily modified platform allowing for modern functionality, which – we hope – will provide a unique and pleasant “look and feel” experience for our crew. Just to give you an idea – right now members  can ‘tag’ each other in posts, get instant notifications, and attach photos directly from smartphones or PCs via TXI’s Tractor Beam. I must say we are blessed to have some mechanics onboard who are absolutely top of the IT game. We are only going to get stronger as they continue to un-weave the hidden technological magic that forums offer.

We have a large team of 12 passionate moderators who will be working ceaselessly to update the forum and to keep things running smoothly. We will also be working closely with our members to improve the forum.

What else do we offer other than a traditional forum place to hang out?

Well this brings us to one of our real strengths. We’re in the process of creating an extensive reference database for the community. At the launch of Tantive XI this database already included a basic and advanced COO guide and also a comprehensive figure guide. Check it out yourselves:

The Library

We would love to expand the Library with the help of members who will actually be working with us to present their own research and projects on the site; with the aim of developing the community’s knowledge and appreciation of vintage Star Wars collecting.

We will also be interviewing members and I’ll be reposting all of my interviews from here onto Tantive XI. So stay tuned!

Who is behind Tantive XI?

Our team contains some of the globe’s most well-known  and experienced vintage collectors; coming from the UK, the U.S, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Denmark,The Netherlands and Australia.

Other than myself, the team is: Alexander, Chris, Clint, James, Jay, Javier, Kenneth, Marco, Ozio, Patrick and Steve. Click the link below to learn more about us:

The TXI Team

I hope you can all join us in our little adventure. And if you can’t, well no worries – I’ll see you all around on Facebook and the other forums!

Watch this space for details on a competition we are running for our members. First prize is a Burgundy Cape Lili Ledy Squid Head!

‘May the Toys Be With You’ vintage Star Wars Exhibition in Canterbury, U.K

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while so apologies for my tardiness. A really cool initiative by the Beaney Museum in Canterbury in the south-east of the U.K; who are currently hosting a free exhibition of vintage Star Wars toys; aptly named ‘May the Toys Be With You.’ The exhibition kicked off on 5th December and will going right through to 6th March 2016.
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Check the link for a great write up by the Beaney Museum themselves. Some top photos of vintage too:
What is even cooler is that the toys at the exhibition are sourced from the collection of vintage collector Matt Fox; known more widely on the forums as Bonsai_Tree_Ent. Matt is responsible for possibly one of the funniest and most educational loose figure limelights I’ve ever seen. Check it here:
Well congratulations to Matt and to the people at the Beaney Museum. Good luck and thank you for putting this on for us Star Wars fans!

Darth Vader collector Bill McBride features on ABC TV

Are you guys sick of seeing Darth Vader super collector and DT fountain of wisdom Bill McBride’s face in the media recently? Well here he is again, but this time on video on ABC!

Bill McBride on ABC TV

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Really happy to see Bill getting so much attention as he really is a collector to look up to; both in the positive manner in which he contributes to the hobby but also for putting together such an amazing figure focus.

Bill has been a regular feature in the media since he was interviewed by yours truly on VSWC Blog in July 2014. You read between the lines….

Bill McBride VSWC Interview

Jokes aside, huge congratulations from us to Bill!

 

Collector Snapshot #17 – Amy Sjoberg

Welcome all to the seventeenth episode of our collector snapshot, where a vintage collector answers 10 short questions. The same questions will be given to every collector appearing in this segment.

This is a very special episode as our guest is one of the most active contributors to our hobby. I’m stoked that someone of Amy’s collecting caliber agreed to come onto the blog and I’m sure you’ll all enjoy reading through her responses as much as I did.

Amy is a 34 year old human resource professional from Seattle, Washington. I met Amy only briefly in the Collectors’ Social Room at Celebration Anaheim, where she was kind enough not to crack up laughing at the terrible pin I gave her advertising my blog (trust me, I’m not being modest).

Here she is on a SARLACC ((the Seattle Area Lucasfilm Artifacts Collector Club) film location trip to Death Valley. 

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Amy actually presented at C7 and you can check the video of the panel here; where she and Jarrod Clark discussed Ewok collectibles. Thanks to Tommy Garvey from theswca for continuing to post these great videos of the C7 collecting panels.

Ewok Collectibles Panel – Celebration Anaheim

She also also had an entry in the Vader Case Project at C7; a fantastic event which raised loads for charity. Read more about the project here:

theswca – celebration Anaheim Vader Case Project

Amy’s entry: ‘Sunset on Endor’.’ Stunning…

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Amy is extremely active on the collecting scene. She’s a member of SARLACC, R2 Builders, Ewok Builders and even has time to blog at http://blog.theswca.com and www.SARLACC.org. I’ve actually recently shared one of Amy’s great blog articles on our Facebook page, here it is again if you missed it:

theswca – Creepy Star Wars Collectibles

Would you believe she’s involved in even more SW vintage endeavours? Check out the Star Wars Collecting Cosmos Collecting Cosmos – Facebook podcast and Amy’s Etsy shop ‘Nerdventions’ – Nerdventions – Etsy.

1. How long have you been collecting?
I was introduced to Star Wars at a young age with Return of the Jedi being the first film I remember seeing (and still my favorite Star Wars movie).  Ironically, it was my brother, Karl, who was the Star Wars collector in our house in the 80s.
Amy and her brother, Easter 1984. Yep that’s a stuffed Ewok! 
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It was at Celebration 3 where I bought my first vintage item, a loose Jabba with throne.  I also met collectors in my area, this eventually led me to joining SARLACC. It was an eye opening experience to meet other collectors. I have learned so much from them and had amazing adventures along the way. I had the opportunity to host panels on collecting and can typically be found volunteering at the collecting panels at Celebration.  As with my friendships, my collection has been growing year by year.
VSWC: Amy tells me that seeing friends is always the highlight of her convention experience, especially the Archive Party (the party hosted by podcasters Stephen Danley and Skye Paine – check out our previous interview with Steve and Skye – VSWC Interview – Steve and Skye.) 
Here she is with some of her collector friends at C7 – (left to right) are Jim Gibbons, Steve Sansweet, Michal Stewart, Aaron Leonard, Amy, Tom Stewart, and Earl Bergquist
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2. What do you collect?
It has always been a ‘collect what you like motto’ for me. Lets just say it is still a work in progress and ever evolving but can be mainly narrowed down to the following categories: vintage and modern 12″ figures from Kenner, Hasbro, and Sideshow toys. I’ve always had an affinity for the 12″ scale and am close to completing my Kenner 12″ collection. Sideshow has made some great figures over the past 10 years and I have almost every Star Wars rebel/hero figure they made. I also have paired these with Gentle Giant busts and statues for many characters including Obi Wan, Leia, Han, Luke etc.   
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Return of the Jedi, Ewoks, and the huts they live in vintage and new. I have every ewok action figure sold by Kenner and Hasbro. My affinity for my favorite playset of all time, the Ewok Village, is plain to see. My collection is called ‘The Ewok Village’ so I have a reputation to maintain. 😉  I own three Kenner villages, two loose and one boxed.  Then there’s the preschool ewok line, catapult, hang glider, and battle wagon which are all boxed. I have an Ewok plush infestation and that slimy gangster Jabba and his denizens are everywhere. I also collect ROTJ Lego sets (including the Ewok Village of course!)
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Prequel and Clone Wars Obi Wan collectibles. I have a  collection of art cards collected over five years at various conventions by some of my favorite artists. My other favorite piece in this category is the mythos Obi wan statue by Sideshow.
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 I got to meet Ewan himself a few years ago. To be honest, I’m amazed I didn’t keel over. After all this the person who graced the Obi Wan calendar in my high school locker.
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Event collectibles and hand made Star Wars items, plush, and ceramics. I have plush from art shows including a handmade Wampa. Collectibles from past celebrations, items made by SARLACC and gathered from our many film location trips. There’s a shelf for bootleg and licensed ceramics including the infamous Taun-Taun Teapot and C3PO tape dispenser by Sigma. I like to use the bookshelf edges to hold all my lanyards. My favorite Celebration collectible is the buttons people make. There is so much generosity and creativity there. They remind me every day of all the great collectors out there from all over the world.
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 3. What’s your grail?
I’ve never really had just one grail item. Grail items are like the future…. ‘always in motion’ and ever growing as I discover more things. Most recently I was looking for a 1986 Ewoks Ice Capades light up button, a 1983 set of ROTJ valentines, and a 1984 Ewoks calendar. Both I’m happy to say I got all of these in the past month.
And here they are….
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Note: These pictures are from the sales listings themselves. 
I also do all of this without using Ebay so I defiantly play the long game on a lot of pieces. And I rely on my network of collector friends who alert me to new stuff posted out there. Thankfully with SARLACC, many of the items that I would love to have are in other collections locally that I get to visit at least once a year. So I get to see them even if I don’t have them.
4. What collectors inspire you?
There are so many people who have inspired me in this hobby. Gus Lopez for sharing his collection, his knowledge, and creating SARLACC. Jarrod Clark, fellow ewok collector who always keeps a look out for stuff I need. Mike Ritter, Tom Stewart, Lauren Bock and Bill McBride; all some of the nicest guys in the hobby.  Pete Vilmur for his generosity and our in depth discussions on things like bootleg ceramics. Steve Sansweet for opening up his collection for everyone to see.  Duncan Jenkins for his incredible encyclopedia like knowledge of collecting.  Shane Turgeon for giving me the idea to focus on collecting memories and friendships over collectibles. There are so many more that I want to list, everyone I’ve met in this hobby has inspired me in some way.
5. What is your most embarrassing moment as a collector?
Those times in the past when checking out at Toy’s ‘R’ Us and the clerk asks if I want a gift receipt for my (non existent) son’s Star Wars toy. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen anymore. I think now they just assume the adults are getting Star Wars stuff for themselves.
6. What is your favorite Star Wars film?
My favorite film is Return of the Jedi. I know it may not be the best, but it is a sentimental favorite for me.
7. What would you change about the collecting community?
Star Wars collectors online can be negative at times. Sure we won’t all agree on what our favorite episode of Star Wars is, or what to collect. We should be welcoming, it is a large hobby and there is room here for everyone. Collections also come in all sizes and focuses. Thankfully, collectors I have met in this hobby are inclusive, supporting, friendly and willing to lend a hand by helping others get something they need in a collection. Those are the best people in the hobby, the ones that aren’t in it for the competition, or the money. Instead they share their knowledge, collections, and sometimes even collectibles. I guess you could sum that up as good collecting karma.
8. Forums or Facebook groups?
I still use both but I do like Facebook for the format.  It is easier to meet folks within your collecting focus and view all the posts at a glance.
9. What Star Wars character do you most resemble?
Probably young Aunt Beru played by Bonnie Piesse. There aren’t many blonde women in Star Wars.
 10. Is there one thing that collectors may not know about you?
Collecting is in my genes. My father has it, my brother had it… 😉 My first collection was Disney stamps (now that the Mouse owns Star Wars, I guess I’ve come full circle). It wasn’t until I got to college that I looked back and thought, Star Wars has always been there. Other hobbies have come and gone, but as the slogan goes, ‘Star Wars is Forever.’
VSWC: Well thank you Amy for coming onto the VSWC Blog! I absolutely love your passion for the hobby and it’s one of the main reasons I invited you on. It has been great hearing some of your collecting philosophy and your general views on our fantastic hobby. Hopefully your inclusive attitude can positively influence some of the more negative aspects of the collecting community. Thanks again! 
 


                                 

Collector Snapshot #16 – Cesar Alejandro V. Jacquez

I’m thrilled as usual to present the sixteenth episode of our collector snapshot, where a vintage collector answers 10 short questions. The same questions will be given to every collector appearing in this segment.
This round’s victim is 37 year old Mexican collector Cesar Alejandro V. Jacquez, known on Rebelscum as “Chewvazquez.” He was born in Juarez City, the famous Mexican border city near El Paso, Texas but now resides within the Texas-Mexican border in a small town called Zapata in Texas and in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Cesar tells me that he has lived in 17 different places for the past 12 years due to school, work and “just because.” He always finds it difficult to respond when people ask where he is actually from!
Not only is Cesar an accomplished collector but he is also successful in his personal, academic and professional life. He has a PhD in Philosophy, a major in universal literature and is currently working as an interpreter in classified operations offshore.
VSWC: Cesar on Force Friday
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VSWC: He does love Star Wars but back in the days Cesar was also a huge MOTU fan! 
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 To the questions!
1. How long have you been collecting?
I’ve been seriously collecting for the last 16 years. It all started in in a stop I made in a department store during one of my trips through The States in some town up in the mountains of Colorado. I was on my way to the snacks section and suddenly ran into a full shelf covered with POTF2 (leftover figures I believe) and thought it could be cool to have a Vader figure standing next to my T.V. in the living room or sitting somewhere around my bedroom. I did some collecting before then while living in Tampico, Mexico, gathering snack promotional figurines and ships dispensed in chip bags and cookie boxes. I also used to ask for any Star Wars store header about to be thrown away once the publicity was over. I still have a few of these at home looking just as if they had been been freshly removed from the top of the shelves.
2. What do you collect?
I´ve come down a bit with the collecting habit, yet I keep my eyes out for any foreign Fetts or rarities (if the price is right), pre-production items or vintage SW store displays. I am just a few foreign Fetts away from completing a vintage carded and boxed Boba Fett collection as such; including vehicles, diecast and 13s. Until recently, I was kind of obsessed with the idea of getting them all at some point or at least to get one or two more but everything changed a few days ago when I walked into a cafe with my wife and some friends and there was this sign hanging on one of the walls that reads: “Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.” I took that as a sign LOL.
I also collect key characters and have incomplete runs of 12, 21 backs, a few Tri-Logos, Harberts and Meccanos. The Jawa is another character with that very tiny special touch that I love having.
I like Star Wars LEGOs A LOT! But mostly any set related to the original trilogy. I like Hot Toys and Sideshows figures also, Movie Props. I have several Fett errors, variants, convention exclusives and mock ups all the way from POTF2 to the Black Series line. Besides Star Wars, I also collect autographed items by Sci Fi celebrities starting with figures and any type of memorabilia. Marvel Legends, MOTU, Transformers, Alien, Star Trek, posters, watches, movie related items, etc. I will remain conservative with the interview so I am presenting only some of my favorites vintage Fetts here.
VSWC: Here’s some of Cesar’s mind-blowing collection. Did someone say Boba?
Boba Fett 21 Back- A, B and C (not in precise order)
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Boba Fett Palitoy 41-C, Speeder Bike Collection, Tri-Logo / Palitoy, and Droids unpainted right leg error.
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Canadian Run – Boba Fett ROTJ 77 back, transition (only two known to exist), 41 back B and 21 Back.
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Revenge Boba Fett Proof Card
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Cesar proudly displaying this absolute beauty. Nice t-shirt!!!!
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Pre-production photography taken on set. This photo was distributed to toy and book companies as a reference for merchandise production. Cesar tells me that he assumes Fett was not famous enough at the time so the guys at Lucas Films chose to highlight the jet-pack (as shown in the text written on the back of the photo). There is a Lucas Films stamp on the bottom right/back. The two black lines on the front of the photo were commonly used as watermarks today for copyright purposes.
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3. What’s your grail?
Well, I know some “diehard collectors” will hate me for saying this but I found the new Sphero BB8 to be the coolest Star Wars toy ever made throughout the entire Star Wars toy history (kidding you not I am!) I hope EVII does not make me hate it at the end LOL.
VSWC: Cesar declaring his love for BB8
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VSWC: The whole family can’t get enough of BB8!
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4. What collectors inspire you?
My Dad (R.I.P.) He used to collect military antiques, diecast vehicles and vinyl records from time to time. I was constantly curious as a kid wondering what kind of motivation was behind his passion for buying things that he was just going to put away in displays without ever touching them or playing with them but well, happily enough that question has been FULLY answered now. I had the opportunity to meet with Stéphane Faucourt last year in Paris. It was a fun experience. We spent an entire day talking Star Wars, eating, talking Star Wars, drinking, talking Star Wars, eating again, talking Star Wars and so on… Most of the things he owns are jaw dropping items starting with that full set of square card Meccanos. His Tri-logo rarities are also very impressive and last but not least, his French Fetts. I hold a lot of respect for him as a person and I´m grateful to see all his contributions to the collecting community here and there.
Check out our earlier review of Stephane’s awesome book:
VSWC: Cesar and Stephane hanging out in Paris 
Steph and Cesar
I also hold admiration for guys who I have not personally met yet like Ron Salvatore, his contributions to the hobby are priceless too and he seems to be a very humble and down to earth guy. I like Bill McBride´s endless Vader collection (VSWC: check our feature interview with Bill here – http://vintagestarwarscollectors.com/collector-interview-2-bill-mcbride-dark-lord-of-the-sith/), I wish someday my Boba Fett collection looks like his Vader vault (quit dreaming I know). I have met a lot of great collectors and fans along the way in conventions here in Mexico and in the States. Here in Mexico, Luis Villagomez is another guy I haven´t met but for what I´ve seen his attitude towards the collecting community is always cool and reserved, I respect that besides his collection is always a treat to watch. Collector Alonso Vilches is another dude with impressive stuff, his poster collection is one of the coolest Star Wars collection worth seeing in this country (not everything has to be toys) if I am not mistaking, he owes me a tour through his poster valley to see them all someday. Diehard fans like Armando Barrera in Mexico City and Rodolfo Rodriguez from Monterrey who I recently met are two other guys I like a lot within the Star wars community in this country.
5. What is your most embarrassing moment as a collector?
Hmmmm difficult to answer this question. Nothing pops out of my head as an embarrassing moment to this point but sure we all have some. in the end, no-one knows everything and there is so much yet to be discovered in the hobby.
6. What is your favorite Star Wars film?
Probably A New Hope; I love EV and VI of course (I´m not going any further) but even when the scripts for the sequels were already in place, it was the success of ANH which allowed the other two films to be what they are now. There was not much variety in ANH as there is in its sequels but yet again, it was the success of ANH that allowed: cool gangsters, bounty hunters, a city in the clouds, giant walking dogs and flying motorcycles to make the films even more fun for an audience already attracted to the films thanks to ANH. Besides all the sweet and cutting edge special effects, the magic of the music in the film is something worth mentioning and to at least give half of the credit for its success.
7. What would you change about the collecting community?
Well, although the interactions in the groups (VSWC: Facebook groups) seem to go along just fine, there are a few things I believe that need to be changed and I would like to start with intolerance. Some people find collecting as a competition instead of a fun habit we all love sharing. There is no collection better than any other; everyone loves to death what they own because of their passion for the saga. I also think we need to grow stronger as a community, especially now that the easy access to new technologies has increased the order things are being faked. The number of people with no scruples attempting to rip off the not so experienced collectors has dramatically increased in the past few years. This is something we need to shield against as a group.
8. Forums or Facebook groups?
I like both but I must admit I go onto FB more frequently now.
9. What Star Wars character do you most resemble?
Well… I must say Dengar If I may step off from the films and after reading “Tales of the Bounty Hunters” by Bantam Books. His story was really cool and mirroring to me in the books.
10. Is there one thing that collectors may not know about you?
I like poetry, painting, independent films, art, traveling, Jazz and playing the sax. I am against animal cruelty of any kind. It is funny to see how some people who do not share our love for Star Wars tag us as geeks or nerds thinking we have no other passions or habits in life besides this.
VSWC: Thank you so much for sharing your passions with us Cesar! I can’t agree more with so many of your thoughts on the hobby. Although remind to never introduce you to my wife. You’re handsome, friendly, you have a doctorate in Philosophy and you play the saxophone. Not to mention your great Fett focus! How the bloody hell can I compete with that!!!!!! 

Competition Time! Win the Cantina Alien crew!

Competition time! I promised to run a competition to thank you all for the 1000 Facebook ‘likes’ so here it is finally.

Who would like a shot at winning this set of vintage Star Wars cantina aliens? All the gang are there – Snaggletooth (sorry not the Blue Snaggletooth!), Greedo, Walrus Man and Hammerhead.

All you have to do to win is post a photo on the relevant thread on our Facebook page of you as a kid with a Star Wars vintage collectible. It doesn’t have to be a figure, it can be any Star Wars item. Only one photo can be submitted per person so  choose carefully! As usual, my wife will choose the best photo.

For those who don’t have Facebook, please contact me on the blog to receive details on how to submit your photo.

To be eligible to win, you have to either like our Facebook page or subscribe to the webpage or Twitter account.

Entries close next Friday –  18th September at 9pm Amsterdam time.

May the best photo win!

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Collector Snapshot #13 – Jake Stevens

I’m happy to present the thirteenth issue of our regular segment, where a vintage collector is given 10 short questions to answer. The same questions will also be given to the next collector appearing on the blog.

Next up is my friend Jake Stevens, a 38 years young Middle School History Teacher from Seattle, with former lives working for Disney Cruise Lines as an Entertainer and as an Analyst for Merrill Lynch. Or so he tells me…

I’ve been ‘online’ friends with Jake for over a year now so it was an absolute pleasure for my wife and I to finally meet him in person at the Archive Party at Celebration Anaheim last April. He definitely is as cool in person as he is online.

VSWC: Here’s Jake looking soulful. Or utterly bored. You guys choose….

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VSWC: And this is us hanging out at C7. I swear Jake sent me this unsolicited when I asked for photos for this interview! I’m not trying to barge in on his moment! 

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Jake is a very busy man when it comes to the hobby we love. Not only does he collect both vintage and modern Star Wars but he is also heavily involved in the community networking side. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of the fantastic podcast, which he co-hosts alongside Tom Berges, Jason Luttrull, Chris Bortz and Ryan BeiseThe Galaxy of Toys Podcast discusses Star Wars toys past, present and future. I’ve listened to a few episodes (the ones focussed on vintage) and sincerely the show is hilarious and the guys really know there stuff. I’m surprised this podcast doesn’t received more exposure in the vintage community. Get out there and start downloading it! Jake also hosts a show all about Star Wars comics called “Star Wars Spinner Rack”. I’m sure it’s just as awesome. 

VSWC: Here’s Jake with Steve Sansweet and his co-hosts of the Galaxy of Toys Podcast at a 35mm screening of Return of the Jedi in 2013From left to right – Tom Berges (igrewupstarwars.com), Steve Sansweet (Rancho Obi-Wan), Jason Luttrull (Galaxy of Toys Podcast), Jake, Chris Bortz (JediBusiness.com) and Ryan Beise (Star Wars: Collecting Cosmos Podcast).

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If you thought the podcasts kept Jake busy, well he also is the founder of the website – From4-LOMtoZuckuss.com. This site is devoted exclusively to Star Wars action figures both vintage and modern. It is designed to be a place where collectors can find action figure resources, reviews, information, checklists, calendars, news, speculation, event coverage, photography, and more. Jake tells me that the site was borne of his passion for the hobby and wanting to do more with it a few years back when the action figure lines were really scaled back. It’s a one-man show yet he says he is lucky from time to time to have guest bloggers, reviewers, designers, interviewers and photo-novelist contribute. I myself am incredibly grateful that Jake’s site was one of the first to mention yours truly (in the collector resource section). Thanks again Jake! 

To the questions!

1. How long have you been collecting?

I’m a lifelong collector. As a kid I was pretty spoiled even though we weren’t rich in any shape of the word but I still amassed a good 70% of my vintage collection as a kid. Like many, as Star Wars faded from the spotlight I became distracted with GI Joe, Transformers and other iconic 80s lines and didn’t dive fully back in until the early 90s. But since then it’s been steady.

2. What do you collect?

Like the majority of the readers of this fine blog, I collect vintage Star Wars action figures and toys. Now as someone who identifies as being a toy collector, I tend to focus on just collecting one of every loose figure and item from the actual toy line and do not dip into prototypes, first shots, hard copies or proofs. Now where I stand apart from many collectors here is that I also collect every modern Hasbro Star Wars action figure and accessory. I know it’s insane but I love collecting Star Wars action figures both vintage and modern and I think 10-year-old Jakey would be happy I was still in the game today

.VSWC: A vintage corner of Jake’s current collection. 

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.VSWC: A couple of photos from 1984 when Jake entered his collection in the local fair. This guy has some serious form as a vintage collector! Both photos provided by IGrewUpStarWars.com

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3. What’s your grail?

I have the great luxury of living in Seattle and being involved in the collecting community here which has some of the most amazing vintage collectors in the world. A by-product of this is that just about every prototype, concept design, rocket-firing, canceled second wave, Glasslite exclusive, etc. can be seen monthly at various get-togethers. This allows me to live vicariously through my fellow collectors and thus fulfilling that Holy Grail hole.

4. What collectors inspire you?

Again living in Seattle provides all kinds of inspiration. My friends Gus Lopez, Vic Weirtz & Lisa Stevens do the most incredible things with the actual cases, wall mounts and displays they use to highlight their pieces. Others, like my friends and co-hosts, Tom Berges and Jason Luttrull have vintage collections that are very clean and accented by other vintage Star Wars lines and collectibles.

5. What is your most embarrassing moment as a collector?

A few years back, I was fascinated while listening to this collector’s story of an amazing find they had at an obscure collectible shop and attempted to ask him to tell his story for my site. I was sure collectors would love to hear about this Darth Vader themed discovery. I even wondered if this guy named Bill knows how cool this story really is. And then another fellow collector pointed out that this Bill goes by the surname of McBride and is the same Bill who is the proud owner of Sithtoys.com – The Darth Vader Toy Museum. Thankfully he’s such a top-notch guy he didn’t (nor would he ever to anyone) call me out on my ignorance.

VSWC: Check out Bill McBrides interview with us here:

http://vintagestarwarscollectors.com/collector-interview-2-bill-mcbride-dark-lord-of-the-sith/

6. What is your favourite Star Wars film?

The Empire Strikes Back! Which is probably why Bespin Luke is my all time favorite figure.

7. What would you change about the collecting community?

There can be a lot of negativity toward those who are either new to the hobby or do not share the same collecting focus. As someone who has a deep passion for this hobby it’s always difficult to see, hear or read comments that polarize, scrutinize and criticize collectors who like us all, just desire to collect movie toys and memorabilia. It may be the educator in me but I prefer to educate and inform those in the hobby over sullying it with antagonism. To this end, in addition to starting an action figure website, I and others from my collecting group have begun hosting panels at local comic cons about action figure collecting and the hobby in general.

8. Forums or Facebook groups?

Ten years ago, I spent loads of time in the forums of Rebelscum, StarWars.com and SirStevesGuide but today with two little kids, an involved teaching career, a website to run and a supportive wife I like to spend time with, I have found social media to be more conducive to my current pace of life.

9. What Star Wars character do you most resemble?

I would like to say I’m a cross between the wisdom of Old Ben and the wit and good looks of Han Solo but in reality I’m probably a beardless General Madine taking care of business in the cut scene.

General Madine presenting at the Emerald City Comicon

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Jake giving it all he’s got in ROTJ

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10. Is there one thing that collectors may not know about you?

Despite having somewhere in the vicinity of 3,500 Star Wars action figures and another couple thousand or so from other lines, I do not nor ever have used eBay. I enjoy playing the long game, networking with collectors, going on toy runs, perusing antique and collectible shops and inheriting other’s collections over time.

VSWC: Well thanks for joining us Jake and as always it was as absolute pleasure! Thank you for that big shot of positivity and a reminder of why we all love this hobby. 

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.

http://trilogo.info/features/current-prices-rarity-afa/

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!