A 12C Luke Skywalker action figure with double-telescoping lightsaber, $34,000 (£28,220) at Morphy.

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The Force was as strong as predicted when a previously unknown collection of rare, high-condition Star Wars toys came to auction in the US.

Known as ‘The Morphy Find’ – after the Denver, Pennsylvania, saleroom Morphy Auctions (23% buyer’s premium) that offered these figures on February 1 as part of a three-day sale – it was 100% sold with the sale total matching the high estimate.

The figures had sat undisturbed in original Kenner shipping cartons, largely forgotten in a closet, since the 1970s-80s. Each one – most from the lines manufactured from 1977-85 – was original and still encased on its original card. Many were in mint condition.

The trove comprising more than 400 figures sat quietly in a Chicago-area home for decades since new.

The story goes that The Morphy Find had been bought by an Illinois gentleman (a collector of antique coin-op machines) for his children. With what seems to be exceptional foresight he had bought in many multiples – some figures to play with, some to put away for posterity.

The dozen cardboard boxes contained examples of all of the first 21 Star Wars figures from 1977 plus others made for the sequels The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and the 1985 Power of the Force range.

Fragile design

Top-seller, as predicted, was a near-mint 12C Luke Skywalker action figure with double-telescoping lightsaber.

The rarest model in the group, this figure was available only in Kenner’s ‘early bird’ packs.

The term ‘double-telescoping’ refers to a rare variation in the lightsaber, a fragile early design that was scrapped for a single-telescoping version when the figure entered mass production. There were half a dozen ‘mint on card’ examples of this figure that before this auction had brought sums of $25,000-plus.

Morphy’s Skywalker sold for a hammer price of $34,000 (£23,220) against a guide of $10,000-20,000.

Three other ‘double-telescoping’ Skywalkers in the Morphy Find, all also ‘near mint’ and guided at $10,000-20,000, took $26,000 (£21,580) each, while others made $22,000 (£18,260) and $7000 (£5810). They all had very minor condition variations within the ‘near mint’ description – but tiny differences of course have an effect when so many are on offer.

In June last year, a single ‘double-telescoping’ Luke Skywalker offered by New Orleans TV generation toy specialist LCG Auctions sold for $83,543 (£64,260), a hammer price that just passed the $100,000 threshold when the 20% buyer’s premium was added.

It had been professionally graded by the Action Figure Authority (AFA) as 90 which meant it was virtually flawless – one of probably just two known in this condition.

Bounty Hunter caught


Unpunched Star Wars 21A Boba Fett action figure, $18,000 (£14,940) at Morphy.

Back at Morphy, a firm favourite with Star Wars collectors, an unpunched Star Wars 21A Boba Fett action figure, near-mint on its card, took $18,000 (£14,940) against an estimate of $4000-8000.

Again, multiple examples were available. Eight ‘near mint’ Boba Fetts were available, at the same estimate, on punched and unpunched cards, with the rest selling from $12,000 to $14,000 (£9960 to £11,620).

Back down to Earth


Many of the tin toys offered by Morphy performed well, selling above estimate. A rare Linemar (Japan) battery-operated tin-litho Popeye and Olive Oyl tank in ‘excellent’ condition with a high-quality reproduction box sold for $18,000 (£14,950), guided at $10,000-20,000.


An ‘always popular but seldom-seen’ Hoge tin-litho and pressed-steel Popeye the Sailor in rowboat dropped anchor at $6400 (£5310) at Morphy, estimate $2000-4000.


Separate to the Star Wars figures, one of the best toy performers in the Morphy auction was a scarce pre-war Japanese TWA seaplane marked Douglas and TWA on fuselage and NC233Y on wings. In ‘very tidy condition with original propellers’, it made $26,000 (£21,580) estimated at $1200-1800.


A rare Ohio Art Walt Disney sand bucket marked Atlantic City. Decorated with charming images of Mickey Mouse fixing girlfriend Minnie’s car as Donald Duck looks on, the colourful beach toy changed hands for a premium-inclusive $8500 (£7055) at Morphy.