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A Tie Bomber Authentic Imperial Spacecraft ‘starred’ at the auction on June 20. It had lain untouched in a loft for nearly 40 years after a man who worked in the Palitoy factory brought it home. The classic diecast and plastic Empire Strikes Back spaceship was still sealed in its Kenner packaging.

The 77-year-old Leicestershire owner of the Tie Bomber, from Coalville said: “I was a clerical worker at Palitoy for 12 years from 1983 to 1995 and, from time to time, surplus stock was sold to staff. My son used to like Star Wars and I often bought toys home for him. For some reason, this one was never opened, and I found it in the loft. If I bought it in 1983 it’s been there for 36 years.”

Its good condition helped it shake its £200-300 estimate before being knocked down for £2100.

“It was unbelievable,” said Hansons toy value Steve Fulford. No need to find his lack of faith disturbing, however, as he added: “We had high hopes for the auction because the popularity of Star Wars is huge worldwide, but these results have taken us into another galaxy.”

Other top sellers included a Return of the Jedi Greedo figure made in Hong Kong, which sold for £1,000 from an estimate of £80-£100. An Empire Strikes Back Boba Fett figure made £2,300 over an estimate of £300-£500.