Boba Fett action figure

The 1979 Boba Fett action figure sold for $525,000 (£411,000) at Heritage Auctions.

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A missile-firing 1979 Star Wars Boba Fett action figure was launched into the record books after selling for $525,000 (£411,000) at Heritage Auctions in the US on May 31, becoming the most expensive vintage toy ever sold at auction.

The 3¾-inch hand-painted figure with an ‘L-slot’ at the back for missile firing is one of only two known hand-painted prototypes in the world with a missile firing capability and the only one painted grey. Around 100 prototypes were created in total.

The model was made by toy manufacturer Kenner in 1979 in preparation for the character’s appearance in The Empire Strikes Back the following year. However, the models were pulled from the production line in the 1970s after concerns the missiles were a choking hazard. Competitor Mattel pulled its own range of missile-firing Battlestar Galactica figures at the same time for the same reason.

The range entered production with the missiles glued to the back instead in a box that made consumers aware of the change.

Some of the Boba Fett prototypes were then discarded in a box for employees to take home if they wished. It is from that box that some have gone on to become some of the most expensive vintage toys in the world.

A 1979 Bob Fett prototype sold for $95,700 (£76,600) at Pennsylvania-based Hake’s Auctions in 2019, while a rare prototype of a ‘J-slot’ Boba Fett sold for $157,500 (£122,850) the same year.

This latest sale beats the previous record set for a vintage toy, a diamond-wearing Barbie doll that fetched $302,000 (£236,000) in 2010. The previous record for a Star Wars figure was another rocket-firing Boba Fett which made $236,000 (£185,000) in June 2022.   

The sale was part of Heritage Auction’s Star Wars Signature Action auction.