THE world’s rarest collection of Star Wars action figures is expected to sell for £280,000 when it goes under the hammer next month.
The 33-piece catalogue includes never-before-seen mint condition figures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo.
It also includes an ultra-rare figure of Bib Fortuna, Jabba the Hutt’s sniveling chief of staff in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.
The Bib figure, which includes its original cape, is one of five examples known to exist and is expected to sell for £23,000.
A 1977 hand-painted prototype of Ben ‘Obi-Wan’ Kenobi, made so early in the production process it does not feature copyright stamps, is estimated to sell for £19,000.
The anonymous owner, from Dubai, bought only the rarest toys released in the late 1970s at the beginning of Star Wars mania.
His pieces, titled the ‘Dubai Collection’, will be auctioned at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, from August 2 to 4. Bidders can watch live on their website.
A rare 1977 action figure of villain Darth Vader will be auctioned, featuring an early ‘double telescoping’ lightsaber, for an estimated £19,000.
A 1985 edition of a character named ‘Yak Face’, released only in Canada and Australia, is unopened with a bilingual backing card.
Aaron White, an expert in vintage comic books and comic art, said: ‘Star Wars action figures from the late 1970s and early 1980s are highly collectible, but these prototypes are glued and painted by hand, making them the most valuable figures you could ever own.
‘The entirety of the collection is in near mint condition.
‘Many figures are the finest existing examples ever graded — there are none like them anywhere in the world.
‘Demand for vintage Star Wars collectibles has increased after the release of the new films.
‘These figures have always been collectible, but in the last three years or so individual figures are now selling for five figures.
‘Today no genuine Bib Fortuna examples are known to exist on a card, even as samples.’