Following the conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy in 1983, toy manufacturer Kenner sought to keep interest alive in what was then a fading brand.
To try and resurrect interest in Star Wars toys, the Power of the Force line was launched in 1985 featuring reissued action figures, each packaged together with an aluminium character coin.
At the time it was not successful and was shelved by the end of the year. Today, as demonstrated at Hansons (25% buyer’s premium) on April 20 during a Toy and Model sale, they are rather more desirable.
Among the rarest figures in the Power of the Force series is Anakin Skywalker – a character who had only occupied the screen for a matter of seconds at the end of Return of the Jedi.
Often considered one of the least exciting of all Star Wars figures (it had no accessories), it was available only by mail order and came free with five proofs of purchase. ‘Loose’ figures are not hard to find but just a handful retain their original card bubble packs.
The example here, unpunched with whitening to the card edge and yellowing plastic, was estimated at £3000-5000 and sold at £5800.
Another Power of the Force figure that never made it to the shops in the US was the model of confidence trickster Saelt-Marae, better known as Yak Face. There has long been a collecting cult around this figure – although it has proved more common than once thought.
Made in Ohio in the days before Kenner axed the Star Wars line, most were packaged for sale in Europe and Canada with dual-language logos. Both of the two variations were offered here.
The example in Power of the Force packaging with the collector’s coin romped to £8600 (estimate £2000-3000).
The example with the so-called tri-logo card issued without the coin – and here a Tesco price reduction label (from £1.59 to 99p) – is more common but nonetheless made £2000. The vendor, who began collecting Star Wars figures as an investment around 20 years ago, had bought it in the early 2000s for £200. He auctioned off 37 toys which together sold for £37,500.
Spot the balls
Collectables of more local appeal – four balls from the annual Shrovetide Football Match in Ashbourne – were offered at the April 1 Fine Art Sale in Etwall.
The game dates back to at least 1667 and is played with a corkfilled ball painted for the occasion. Typically, the decoration references the dignitary given the honour of ‘turning-up’ the ball (starting the match) and the goal scorer who gets to keep the ball.
This quartet came for sale from a Cheshire vendor whose family have turned out for Shrovetide for around 130 years.
Balls dating to 1906 and 1926, made £3300 each while the hammer fell at £4200 for a ball used on Shrove Tuesday, 1928 when the Prince of Wales threw up the ball. It features the Prince of Wales insignia of three feathers, was ‘goaled’ by H Peter Sowther and turned up by Sam Dakin. It has been purchased by an Ashbourne family who plan to keep it in the town and display it at the local Heritage Centre.
The name of Donald Dinnie (1837-1916) is one that would have been known to all sporting fans in the Victorian era.
His career as a wrestler, strong man and Highland Games competitor spanned 50 years and over 11,000 successful competitions. His feats of strength were so well known that Great War heavy artillery shells were nicknamed ‘the Donald Dinnies’.
The Hansons auction included a collection of 12 silver-plated medals mounted on leather straps presented to Dinnie for events between 1861-66.
His performance at the August 20, 1861 Highland Games was typically dominant: there were champion medals here for Putting Stone, Hammer Throwing 19lb, Hammer Throwing 16lb, High Leaping and Tossing the Caber.
A bidder from the US secured it at £2800 (estimate £250-350).