Friday, February 15, 2019

'Chive Cast 95 - Canadian Coconuts

After speaking with Skye and Steve about collecting and the Great White North, Toby Black and Chris Porteous share their amazing interview with the production manager for all Star Wars toys in Canada, Gord Warren. You will learn a lot from this interview with one of the people actually responsible for getting the toys into the hands of children. We have a great Lightning Round and sudden death overtime MarketWatch on the 95th 'Chive Cast.

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06:29 – The 'Chive Cast List of Enemies
09:20 – Toby and Chris join the show to talk about Canadian Collecting
21:18 – The Amazing Gord Warren Interview
40:10 – MarketWatch with Toby and Chris
01:01:11 – Lightning Round with Chris and Toby
01:20:52 – Outro

Images courtesy of Chris Porteous and Toby Black

Show Note Links:

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Prop Store Vintage Toys & Collectibles Auction Preview

Pete writes:

 Hello Space Freaks! As part of our ongoing coverage of major auctions in the hobby we start 2019 off with a very special event: the first Vintage Toys & Collectible Auction from Prop Store. For those who don’t follow the collectible props market, Prop Store is one of the premier auction houses for film-related props and artifacts. Today they are one of the most popular auction houses in the science fiction and movie industries as a whole with several major auctions taking place every year across a multitude of items and generations.

From props to comics to now toys, this will be another landmark event for Prop Store. We at the Archive have been given access to some of the behind the scenes happenings that have brought two great things together: Prop Store and toys. We’ll cover a few of the items in the listings themselves, the format, but also a look into how this event came together.

But before we get into that, a check on the vitals:

Dates: February 28th and March 1st
Formats: Online, In Person (with voucher), Phone
Categories: Vintage toys and collectibles, crew-used items, partial collection of Howard Kazanjian (Producer of Return of the Jedi).
Buyers Premium: 24%

Catalog: Printed and PDF through website
Auction Lot Count: 783

Key Auctions:
  • Ride-on Speeder Bike MIB with Store Display
  • Several Boba Fett MOCs including a Meccano
  • Several Revenge of the Jedi Proofs Cards
  • A near full run of MOC figures across all three movies.

The website is now live with the full catalog and bidding open. 

When it comes to the catalog for the auction, it’s something unique when compared with others. One thing that really differentiates it is the background and educational aspects that are weaved in throughout the book. There’s a glossary, vocabulary and reference information that have been included, along with some points on the pages themselves, giving new or seasoned collectors a bit more information on the item and what they're bidding on.

Prop Store did an amazing job explaining the vintage toy segment to their prop customer base through insights and documentation. Covering topics such as prototypes and other pre-production pieces as well as basics of cardback variation and grading, the catalog is a book in and of itself and somewhat of a field guide for new and old collectors alike.

Like Hake's and a few other auction houses across the country, Prop Store still produces a printed catalog for their customers. You can get a copy by signing up online and registering for the auction.

As mentioned before, we got a look inside the auction through the mind of one of the event's experts, our own Chris Georgoulias.

Pete Fitzke: When it came to putting the auction together, what were some of the things that stood out to you?

Chris Georgoulias: There was a lot of minutia and details that had to be managed. A lot of the historical information had to be created for the catalog from scratch and that's really time consuming. Not only the knowledge transfer, but getting the imagery sorted out. Grading is a new process for them. They aren’t used to sending their stuff in and waiting to get it back. It creates challenges logistically with pictures and other aspects of the process that Prop Store wasn’t used to. 

PF: What are your thoughts on the catalog? Is it worth the effort?

CG: When you have a printed catalog, it makes the event feel more legitimate. Originally I didn’t think we needed a printed catalog, but they thought it would be a good idea, and it really does make a splash and help communicate what’s going on with the event and with what we're presenting.

PF: What would you want people to know about this auction?

CG: There are a few cool features that are unique to Prop Store.  One is payment plans – a nice and unique option for the winners, more details are listed in the catalog. Another great payment option is payments from other people. Something you rarely see auctions houses do.

PF: What are some of your favorite items that will be up for auction? 

CG: Wow, a few things that come to mind. The Speeder Bike in the original box with the display and inserts is a great piece. There aren't many of those around.

The Plush Chewbacca QC Sample from the collection of Howard Kazanjian is also really interesting as it's so close to the Canadian version, but Kenner, I've never seen one before.

Another fun piece is the Bubbl-matic store display. It's not seen very often and is in great condition.

Lastly there's the X-Wing Aces Game. It's another piece from the Howard Kazanjian collection. What's unique is that is still has the moving label from Los Angeles to Marin County back in the day.

One piece that Chris didn't mention was the above soft copy for the Paploo coin from the 2nd series of the Ewoks cartoon series. Very rare for one of these to come out on the open market, and it's also being sold with an original sketch of the coin artwork.

That concludes our preview coverage of this auction. Check back for the results recap.

Wampa Wampa,

Monday, February 4, 2019

An Oldie but a Goodie!

Ron writes:

 You may have noticed that vinyl-cape Jawas from non-US locales have been in the news lately. As the linked article explains, SWCA contributor (and good friend) Shane Turgeon has managed to bring to market a rare Canadian example of the figure. So this remembrance by guest blogger (and good friend) Ben Sheehan is timely as well as interesting. Here's Ben to tell us about the time he had in his possession two Australian VC Jawas, both on Empire Strikes Back blister cards.

Ben writes:

Prior to the time this pic was taken in 2002, I’d been attempting (successfully in the end, much to my relief!) to have collectors in the US recognise and understand the history of the vinyl-cape Jawa in Australia. I managed to get the two known MOC examples in the same place at the same time, and send them over to collectors in the US for examination with anecdotal and analytical evidence of what they were.

Even though I knew that the figure was a legitimate variation, explaining that to people half a world away wasn’t entirely easy -- particularly since the only carded examples had shown up on ESB 41 backs. I was lucky enough to have the ear and trust of collectors such as Chris Georgoulias, Ron Salvatore and also Tom Derby though, which helped the cause a great deal.

My MOC ESB Jawa had come directly form a Toltoys salesperson's collection, via a dealer in Melbourne (who had a reputation for faking items no less). I’d spent four or more years scrutinising the figure during the 1990s. During that time the figure even wound up going to the USA for a year or so, including a visit to Kane Country Toy Show, where it was initially rejected since the cape color didn’t match the US version.

I must have looked at blister seals on hundreds of figures during research, before I was satisfied the ESB Jawa was original. I visited the seller often, with magnifying glasses and questions. Finally I learned the name of the guy it had come from, eventually confirmed that story, and pulled the trigger on buying it. The other example was uncovered during this time by Kosta from Sydney's Comic Bug, which was around 900 kilometres away.

At least one other MOC has turned up since, and loose examples have come out of the woodwork steadily from right around that same date (many of us had owned them for years, but it was impossible to get a non-local to believe that they were legit). It was definitely exciting times for me --it seemed I was able to turn up a new Toltoys related MOC variation every other month, particularly in the lead up to the release of John Kellerman's book 2-3 years after I purchased my Jawa.

Many of those variants were featured in John's book, including my Toltoys offer ESB 41 Leia Bespin (still the only one to have shown up, I'm pretty sure), a bunch of sticker and printed offers I owned, and anecdotes here and there. The prices for Toltoys items from ESB and ROTJ were cheap back then too, and there really wasn't much competition for them. For some reason though, John's book ultimately didn't include the ESB VC Jawa -- I can't remember why exactly.

Obviously, lots more neat Toltoys-related product has shown up since the late ‘90s and early 2000s through the incredible work and research of others. For me personally, the period I mention above was definitely the nadir for my research on local Aussie product. Not long after, I steadily began to ditch Toltoys items for either a house project or my prototype collection (probably both). I'd be kidding myself if I said that I don't miss them -- Toltoys items are wonderful, and genuinely rare. Insanely so, even. It was easy to forget this,when you were looking at two MOC ESB Jaws though!

Special thanks here to Chris, Ron, my Australian peers from that time Paul Naylor and Andy Beckerath, along with Mike Mensinger for providing the industrial-strength magnification used in the US for the early examination of the figure.