A rare Boba Fett action figure has become the world’s most valuable Star Wars figure, after smashing its auction estimate in the U.K.
The figure was part of a French collection of vintage Star Wars toys described as "the best ever to come up for public auction".
The figure, sealed in mint condition in its original packaging, was a rare example distributed by French toy company Meccano in conjunction with the release of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980.
It crossed the block at Vectis Auctions in Stockton-on-Tees with a pre-sale estimate of £4,000 – £5,000, but soared to a final price of £26,000 ($34,285) – setting a new auction record as the world’s most expensive Star Wars figure.
The previous record had been set back in January 2015, when another Boba Fett figure – this time backed on a card from UK company Palitoy – sold at Vectis for £18,000 ($27,244).
Despite playing a relatively small role in the original Star Wars trilogy, the enigmatic bounty hunter Boba Fett continues to hold a strong fascination for fans and collectors. Vectis toy expert Kathy Taylor explained the value of the figures to Paul Fraser Collectibles:
"Both this and the Palitoy 30 back are exceedingly rare- the first time the Boba Fett figure appeared packaged on a card in the French and British Star Wars markets (it was initially available as a mail-a-way in a sealed plastic baggie- so many children already owned Boba Fett!)."
"There are many people wanting to acquire the 3 ¾” Boba Fett figures today- it is a very popular collecting focus. Hence their value at auction (there are not many carded examples of either on these particular card backs)."
The auction also included a rare prototype Boba Fett figure featuring a firing rocket launcher, one of the few examples given to toy company employees prior to its release.
The original design never made it to the shelves, however, as the red missile was deemed a choking hazard for kids, and when the figure was finally released its rocket launcher was strictly ‘non-firing’.
As one of around two dozen examples known to exist today, this unpainted prototype sold for £18,000 ($23,735).