Long ago, in a galaxy not too far away … It was 1977, the year of the premiere of the first film of Star Wars and the birth of a million dollar franchise that amazed a child audience who is now grown up.
After the original trilogy, two other trilogies have emerged in more than three decades, as well as comics and books (expanded universe) and even series. And an important part of those entertainment products have been toys.
“That is the main cause of you becoming a collector, going back to having what you had at some point in your childhood,” he explains. Jafet Azmitia, holder of more than 5 thousand collectible figures.
The 46-year-old lawyer acknowledges that “it all comes down to the taste or love of a movie, a cartoon”, in addition to the fact that “children my age did not have that ‘I’m going to be a collector’, but you accumulated objects or you kept them for the pleasure you had. “
Remember that “before you were the nerd who shouldn’t be buying superhero comics, you had to be drinking your beer at parties (which you had to do when you were young) or as an adult caring for your family, not buying toys.”
Currently “there is already Facebook, some of us who make videos or go on TV channels YouTubeWe are even admired for the degree of collectibles we have. “
And it is that as an adult with purchasing power, the internet and social networks have facilitated Jafet the process of acquiring everything that he could not in his childhood. But he is not the only one: out there is a market eager to buy nostalgia.
The cost of nostalgia
Prices per old star wars toys are high, especially if they are produced by the defunct Mexican brand Lili Ledy, which in the 70s had the license to manufacture figures of the saga.
“Bib Fortuna (character from “Return of the Jedi”) is highly sought after by collectors and reaches prices of 25,000 to 30,000 pesos open, not even in its packaging! because it is very difficult to find it “, shares Jafet.
“There are very expensive vintage figures, because they are very difficult to find, for example, Lili Ledy in Mexico, which were very common or more common than in the United States. “Being rare pieces in the neighboring country, they are more sought after,” so they pay more, which has caused them to rise a lot in price. “
He gives another example: variations. “A variation is the same figure, but it brings a different detail of color, plastic, paint, mold. In the vintage line there are too many variations because each licensee made their own molds and then they came out different.”
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Also in nostalgia is the desire to meet childhood heroes. Japheth boasts, for example, his photograph with Mark Hamill, the actor who gives life to Luke Skywalker, emblematic character of the saga.
In 2015 the trip to the United States was paid to attend a convention where “they charged me 125 dollars plus taxes for the photo (about 2,500 Mexican pesos) and 125 more for the signature” (more than 5,000 pesos in total).
“It was really cool, I got nervous and the only thing I remember telling him was that, even though it had taken me so many years, I was finally making my dream come true. Mark laughed, gave me a hug and at the time of Taking the picture of us said ‘you have just like using force’ and it was like that, wow! “.
With the same recipe, Jafet has also met Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine), the late Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and other actors.
The new collectors
For 1999 “Episode I – The Phantom Menace” was released, the beginning of a new trilogy. And with it came a new generation ready to buy collectibles, now with higher standards.
“Of the new there are also very expensive pieces, the recent ones from Hot Toys, which are very elaborate pieces with a great level of detail,” says Jafet. After a few years, they stop producing and reach prices of up to 40 thousand pesos.
“There we separate the vintage from the new, let’s put it like this, in both worlds there are very expensive figures, such as the set I have here of the Star of deathRight now it is worth between 35 thousand and 40 thousand pesos, and it is from 2011, exclusive to a Comic-Con (San Diego Convention) “.
In 2012, Disney Company bought Lucasfilm for the production of a new trilogy, spin-offs and series. The sequels VII, VIII and IX did not like so much, but “The Mandalorian” it vindicated old fans and attracted new ones.
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“If it reaches more people it is fine, I do not dislike that for example the Baby Yoda He is very famous, he is a character that we liked, he transcended beyond the Star Wars fandom and in particular he is fine, because I agree that there is consumption and this helps to have more productions “.
By 2021, dozens of new projects are expected for the franchise, which the interviewee describes as “a golden age”. Just this May 4 –Star wars day– The animated series “The Bad Batch” premieres in Disney Plus.
“I do not doubt that when the series start to be launched, they will start to get more figures, and maybe there will be people who do not buy everything or who buy one or another figure, but there will be a lot in the market to choose from, because it is a business in order to accounts for companies, it is a product that we like to consume “
He considers that “fanaticism is in it right now, in the golden age, and I also think that collecting goes hand in hand with that, it is making it more popular, more people collect, this makes it a business”.
Toys as an investment?
With prices rising over time, there are collectors who are betting on Star Wars toys as an investment. But Jafet warns that “it may be … but it is a very risky investment.”
Remember the case of a Boba Fett 6-inch prototype, whose starting price was $ 400 and was not sold in Mexico. “The cheapest was $ 1,500 to $ 1,800 and a year later Walmart brought it and you found it at $ 300.”
He recommends: “if you want to invest, do not do it in figures, buy gold, buy properties, but no figures, this for me is a pleasure and if one day it becomes an investment, then that’s good.”
He also talks about resellers, which hoard the product in stores and deplete it: “what collectors don’t like is that a $ 500 figure is already being sold to you for $ 1,500.”
Although in times of pandemic, he admits to having resorted to them “because if the figure costs $ 500 and a reseller gives it to me for $ 600, I don’t have to go looking for it at five shopping centers, you don’t have to spend on gasoline and pay for parking. , I avoid turning around “.
The quarantine also “has greatly accentuated online sales” and “not long ago pre-sales began.”
Jafet admits that he has been able to manage to get his figures, “I like to have everything,” he says, although at home he already finds it difficult to stack so much packaging. “My real concern is space.”