Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Gift Guide for the Vintage Star Wars Collector in Your Life

Tommy writes:

Since the holiday season is winding down, I thought it might be fun to help out the people who are shopping for last-minute gifts for the collector in their lives. It's often difficult for non-collectors to know what to buy, since the hobby is very specialized and can be confusing. With that in mind, I asked a number of prominent Star Wars collectors what they would suggest as a gift. Because if you want to know what a collector wants, it only makes sense to ask collectors.

So, here's our 2016 Star Wars Collector Gift Guide, focusing on cool stuff under $50 that the collector in your life probably doesn't have:

Personally, I would suggest books on collecting. There are a number of different guides which can be an excellent part of a collecting library. Books like the hardcover Tomarts guide are an awesome resource, even if the prices are out of date now, and it can be found on Amazon and eBay very inexpensively.

Another option would be the vintage Micro Collection toys from Kenner. They can be found on eBay very inexpensively and a lot of collectors overlook them and probably don't have them yet. They serve as a nice counterpoint to the more popular (and larger) figures the collector in your life might already have though, and most collectors really like them once they have them in hand.

Lastly, I would suggest Plastic Galaxy, an excellent DVD documentary on the history of vintage Kenner Star Wars toys. It is very interesting to see how and why the toys were created the way they were, and it makes a great affordable gift.

A New Proof by Mattias Rendahl covers the history of vintage Star Wars packaging design and can be ordered here.

"Books are great. I'd say vintage iron-ons. Most still work and you can create cool vintage pop culture 'fashion' wear. DYI and SW and retro and fashion. All in one ;)" - Mattias Rendahl, author/collector

The Force in the Flesh by Shane Turgeon is a coffee table book showcasing Star Wars body art. It can be ordered here.

"I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say books. The most important thing has always been a solid collecting book library and they make great gifts. The original Sansweet/Tomart books are vintage in their own right now, From Concept the Screen to Collectible is a must have and all of the other awesome books out now, including mine and Mattias’ haha." - Shane Turgeon, author/collector

"I just bought a hallmark gift card box for the holidays with Vader on the cover and when you open the box to get the card it plays a pretty good version of the Star Wars main theme. A heritage necklace might be a thought or set of British pencil tops." - Yehuda Kleinman, collector/SWCA Guest Blogger

A vintage C-3PO Star Wars trading card by Topps, which is always very popular with collectors because of the strange X-rated addition found in the image.

"For vintage I'd go with the trading cards. Again generally a low price point and tons of lots on eBay.  Additionally, a Takara Tomy metal C-3PO figure, that's the [modern toy I'd suggest]. Very reminiscent of the [vintage] popy ESB boxed figs. These are a bit smaller, die cast and the paint apps are nice. They also have a relatively low price point so grab a few!" - Steve Shepardson, collector/collecting group administrator

ESB Ohrai Green Poster Art Credit Sheet Chirashi

"I like the book idea. Art books are fairly generic and you can find decent used ones on eBay or Amazon for around $10. T-shirts are pretty generic. TeeFury and other sites have some unique art. You know me, Chirashi [small Japanese movie posters] can be a pretty cool gift. For like $25 or so you can get 1 or more from all 9 movies [7 episodes, Rogue One and the Clone Wars cartoon]. Nice memento from the series."
- John Alvarez, collector/SWCA Editor

Rancho Obi-Wan Membership Kit

"My answer is going to be the physical copy of Plastic Galaxy. Even if they've downloaded and viewed the online version, the physical DVD is worth having just for the DVD extras alone! Maybe a gift membership to Rancho Obi-Wan (a museum located in California which showcases the largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia in the world)." - Mike Ritter, collector/R2-D2 enthusiast

Unlicensed Star Wars ceramics, which can occasionally be found on eBay

"You can never go wrong with a fun bootleg ceramic piece. One they're vintage, and secondly no two are alike." 

Vintage licensed Star Wars ceramics released by the Sigma company are a more expensive option.

"Then again there's always Sigma vintage." 

Star Wars Tiki mug

"And for the modern twist try a geeky tiki mug (you'll have to add your own umbrella.) " 

Star Wars candy dishes released by Hallmark

"Also Hallmark has some awesome holiday candy dishes out this year. Or you could dress up an old Gallery candy jar with a seasonal bouquet. Another one I just saw that I can't wait to dive into is this Star Wars paint by number set. Just came out!!" - Amy Sjoberg, collector/SWCA Blogger

Vintage Star Wars poster used to promote vaccinations, which can be purchased very inexpensively on eBay

"My first inclination would be to just say 'anything funky from The Toy Chamber.' But as far as a specific item that's awesome and affordable, there's the R2/3PO Immunization Poster."
- Steve Danley, collector/SWCA Editor

(In the interest of full disclosure, The Toy Chamber is owned by Todd Chamberlain, an Editor of the SWCA. He is well known in the hobby for having some of the coolest obscure Star Wars items around for sale though, which is why he was singled out here. - Tommy)

Preservation and display is a large part of any collection and something every collector should know about.

"Materials for display/preservation based on the items in the collection (comic bags, star cases, acrylic cases, etc) and reference books like Saving Stuff: How to Care for and Preserve Your Collectibles, Heirlooms, and Other Prized Possessions." - Duncan Jenkins, collector/SWCA Editor

(Preservation and display supplies can be found at a number of different stores, including Bags Unlimited and The Container Store - Tommy)

Star Wars The Black Series Imperial Stormtrooper Electronic Voice Changer Helmet

"One thing that comes to mind, is any of the "Making of" books by J. W. Rinzler. They are on Amazon for $53-$57. If you are at all interested in the history of the Star Wars films (and let's be honest, what vintage fan isn't?) these are must haves for you library. (The book can be purchased on Amazon here: The Making of Star Wars

Another idea, while maybe a touch on the expensive side, is the Star Wars The Black Series Imperial Stormtrooper Electronic Voice Changer Helmet. I know, it's a) modern and b) a "toy." But in person this thing is fantastic! Very well made and an almost dead ringer for an actual vacu-formed 501st Stormtrooper helmet. It would look fantastic in a display or along side prop replicas. 

Last but not least, one of my all time favorite Christmas gifts Aimee grabs for me are Oscar Acrylic Cases. At $16.50/case they are a fantastic bargain. The best part is it's supporting a fellow collector and his business."
- Chris Botkins, collector

Concept to Screen to Collectible, by Steve Sansweet, covers the history of Star Wars and the merchandise it spawned.

"I would recommend From Concept to Screen to Collectible, and old issues of action figure magazines, in particular the issues of Tomart that include all those hardopies (Tomart's Action Figure Digest #60 and #64). Available for cheap on eBay, I'm sure. Though it's probably too late now to get them in time for Christmas."
- Ron Salvatore, collector/SWCA Editor

And so there you have it, plenty of good options to fulfill your last-minute shopping lists. 

Happy holidays!

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