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This J-slot rocket-firing Boba Fett sold at Hake’s of York, Pennsylvania at $157,500 ($185,850 including buyer’s premium) against a $200,000-$500,000 estimate.

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Pop culture and memorabilia specialist Hake’s of York, Pennsylvania believed the figure could bring between $200,000-500,000 when sold on November 6-7 but settled for the winning bid of $157,500 ($185,850 including buyer’s premium).

The story of the rocket-firing Boba Fett is legendary among Star Wars action figure collectors. Kenner’s prototype figure of the bounty hunter had made its debut at the New York Toy Fair in 1979 as part of the Empire Strikes Back range, only for the design to be pulled due to concerns about the safety/cost of the toy’s rocket-firing mechanism.

The final production figure (itself a collecting rarity) came without the troublesome projectile.

Stress testing

Unknown to collectors until the mid 1990s was that there had been two types of rocket-firing Bobas - the L-slot with a firing mechanism resembling a backward L and the rarer J-slot design. While perhaps as many as 100 J-slot prototypes were made, most of the 20 or so survivors show the scars of heating, freezing and forms of stress testing.

This example, however, appears to have emerged wholly unscathed. Fully painted with country of origin and copyright stamps, the only evidence that it underwent evaluation are the index marks on the underside of the figure’s feet.

It is pictured in two of the collecting bibles: Tomart’s Price Guide to Worldwide Star Wars Collectibles and Star Wars Vintage Action Figures: A Guide for Collectors. The previous auction record for a Star Wars toy is the $112,926 paid for a Boba Fett L-slot rocket-firing prototype that topped Hake’s sale in July this year.

Production pieces

The two-day online auction included collectables from across the Star Wars galaxy, including elements of a recently discovered cache of early Star Wars production pieces. Super-rare carded examples of the Kenner ‘double-telescoping’ figures of Darth Vader and Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi from the very first Star Wars ’12-back’ range were estimated at $75,000-$100,000 each.

They too sold below hopes to winning bids of $53,240 and $55,000 respectively. ‘Double-telescoping’ refers to the light sabre mechanism that was changed in slightly later models.