Published: November 12, 2019
YORK, PENN. — A prototype rocket-firing Boba Fett action figure, from toy company Kenner’s licensed action figure line for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, circa 1979, set a world auction record for both any Star Wars toy as well as the toy model for the second time this year when it sold for $185,850 in Hake’s Auctions’ November 6-7 sale.
The 3¾-inch-high figure featured the J-slot spring action and was AFA graded 85+ NM+. The firm said approximately seven AFA-graded J-slots are extant from a total of 24 to 26 thought to have been made, from a total of 80 to 100 Rocket Firing Boba Fett prototypes originally produced and sent to the company for safety testing purposes.
The figure comes in two variants: the monotone blue L-slot figure, which was the first-stage prototype, and the full color J-slot, which was the second-stage prototype. Fett’s small loose missile was deemed hazardous to children, and both variants never made it into full production, with many becoming keepsakes of employees at the company. This piece had provenance to Kenner reliability and safety technician John R. Howison. A variant of the toy without any detachable parts did make it into production.
Hake’s consignment manager Kelly McClain said, “The J-slot is the fully painted version. It’s the closest to what would have been produced. When the L-slot variety didn’t pass their safety standards, the J-slot was a little safer, but even then it didn’t make it to production.”
Few examples of this toy are graded this high, and many went through testing procedures that marred their condition. “The only evidence that the prototype we sold underwent any testing evaluations is the presence of indexing marks on the underside of the figure’s feet,” Hake’s president Alex Winter said. “Its condition and impeccable provenance contributed to the record-setting price. We could not be more pleased with the result.”
This result comes off the heels of two Rocket Firing Fetts that Hake’s offered in the last 20 months, both setting and pushing these records higher: a $112,926 result that the firm set in July, 2019, for the same figure with an L-slot firing mechanism, AFA-graded 85 NM+. It built upon a March 2018 result for another L-slot, AFA-graded 85 NM+, at $86,383.
The latest result was aptly timed to sell just five days before the release of the highly anticipated TV series Star Wars: The Mandalorian, which debuts November 12 on Disney+. It comes about a month and a half ahead of the very last installment in George Lucas’ iconic nine-part space action movie series, when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits the theaters on December 19.
“There’s a lot of hype with Star Wars right now. It definitely helps,” McClain said.
The piece sold to a private collector.
Prices, with buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For more information, 866-404-9800 or www.hakes.com.
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