Fears that children could potentially choke on the small red rocket led to its demise. Only around two dozen are known in two variations.
Recently a painted and carded example – the item originally shown on display at the Kenner Booth in New York City at the 1979 Toy Fair – was offered for sale on eBay with a price tag of $150,000.
The first example to appear for sale in the UK – an unpainted model with an 'L-slot' firing mechanism – carries an estimate of £15,000-20,000 at toy specialists Vectis on July 19-20. It forms part of a French collection – deemed the best to ever come up for public auction – that has been 40 years in the making.
Many of the pieces have been on display in a European museum before reaching the Vectis head office in Thornaby near Stockton-on-Tees.
Given the extraordinary price tag of the Rocket Firing Boba, fakes are not uncommon but this example (with an) comes complete with a letter of stating it was originally purchased from a Kenner factory employee. It has also been authenticated by the US-based Action Figure Authority.
The original production figure of Boba Fett, the memorable bit-part character in The Empire Strikes Back, is itself a very desirable item. When Vectis sold the Craig Stevens collection in 2013, the Palitoy version of this figure, preserved in mint condition on its un-punched card back took £15,000, the most expensive production Star Wars action figure sold at auction. It retailed in 1980 at 99p but only a few have survived in this condition.
The French collection includes many rarities including a series of ‘bootleg’ figures produced without licence by firms in Hungary, Turkey and Brazil. A Hungarian Boba Fett is estimated to reach £600-800.