"Whip It" by Mike Smith
Living Fanboy: The Great Star Wars Haul by ED Tucker
|THE ASIAN APERTURE|
Memoirs of an Otaku by Jason Fetters
|STATE OF THE NATION|
Peace Be With You....just Not In Iran .... The Olympic Tour? .... Healthcare Update: Moveon Strikes Back .... Die Quickly? Holocaust? .... Obama Worship .... Ayers Wrote It? .... .... by Brandon Jones
Polanski .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... by Mike Smith
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My apologies to Chris Woods for paraphrasing the title of his column but this week’s article seems like a logical extension of his theme.
The Mike Graf Collection in its "natural" state.
I have been a collector for the majority of my adult life. It is a passion that wanes and reinvents itself from time to time but never leaves me completely. Toys, specifically action figures, were one of the first items I ever really collected and one of the first lines I got into was the original Star Wars. I was ten years old when the film that jump started a worldwide phenomenon first flickered across the movie screens and I was hooked from the moment I saw it. It was several months later before the first action figures arrived on store shelves and they didn’t sit there for long. I had the majority of the toys from the first film, as well as books, trading cards, magazines, T-shirts, and anything else I could get my hands on. By the time the second film, The Empire Strikes Back, arrived, I was almost in high school and rapidly becoming too mature for toys. About half way through the merchandising for that film, I decided it was time to put aside these childish things and the large AT-AT, received as a Christmas gift from parents who had not yet recognized my new found maturity, was one of the last pieces I added to my original Star Wars collection. The release of Return of the Jedi was almost a book end to my high school years and I could barely remember the joy of buying action figures in toy stores by that point in my life.
Fortunately, I came to my senses as an adult and embraced the collecting hobby again. Like most adult collectors, this gave me an excuse to dust off my childhood toys (at least the ones that had not made a detour to firecracker city) and fill in the gaps for things I always wanted and didn’t get or never even knew existed. This lead to a common side effect of having to sell off excess items from lot purchases made to obtain rarer pieces or more favorable prices. Being a dealer is never as much fun as collecting but it does have its own set of rewards, including bringing you into contact with other collectors to share information and opinions.
Part of the impressive displays that stretched from floor to ceiling.
A radio controlled Jawa sandcrawler and some impressive playsets.
One of my all time favorite Star Wars toys - the Death Star playset.
The toys Mike collected from lines outside of Star Wars were nowhere near as in depth but he made some interesting choices. He had both the Draconian Marauder and Star Fighter space ships from the Mego Buck Rogers line; the latter was even still boxed. For Battlestar Galctica, he bought the first versions of the Cylon Raider and Colonial Viper ships that fired the missiles. They each had their badly detailed pilot figures and even the extra missiles, which I narrowly avoided shooting down my throat. I remember hating Star Trek: The Motion Picture (or Star Trek: The Motion Sickness as my friends and I dubbed it) when it was released and, as a result, I missed out on some pretty cool toys. Mike had the patience to assemble an impressive model of the revamped Enterprise with lights and sounds and also bought an early phaser target set similar to the Laser Tag ones that would come out a few years later. I was so impressed by the quality of these toys that I may actually try to watch the movie again some day!
Two very happy Fanboys!
Mike rejected my initial offer although he did agree with the calculations I had used to reach it. The current economic situation makes collectibles of any kind a slippery market and, as a dealer, precautions have to be taken to avoid a major financial disaster. We concluded the negotiations with Mike considering selling the collection off piece by piece and my offering to help him with it any way I could. During this process, I had also contacted my friend Byron, who is both a bigger Star Wars fan then I am (though not by much) and more knowledgeable about the collectibles. I discussed my evaluation and appraisal of the collection with him and offered him half of the purchase if it did come to pass.
Mike Graf in the empty room that once contained his massive Star Wars collection.
Once I had Byron’s approval on my appraisal, we made short work of the renewed negotiations and finalized a deal that had been in the works for over four months. As a memento, Mike insisted on taking a photograph of us with the collection and we grinned liked tomb raiders and flashed the cash for the occasion. Byron and I had already agreed to make every effort to remove the collection that night, since I was leaving town for a brief vacation the following day. I left Byron as collateral and made a quick trip home to grab some boxes, my wife Cindy, and an additional truck. By the time I got back, Mike and Byron were already hard at work dissembling and boxing all the items that had been out on display for years.
With an awesome collection like this, even taking inventory can be fun.
As you can imagine, the rushed nature of that night precluded any detailed analysis of all the incredible items in this collection. I wasn’t even present for some of the packing so I am still discovering things I had never seen as I go through the boxes. Regardless of the monetary value, finding items like the first forty issues of Starlog magazine mint in library binders is a humbling experience. The problem is resisting the temptation to spend the next three days reading them nonstop. Byron and I have poured several hours into inventorying everything and we know we have more ahead of us before we can adequately undertake any thoughts of resale but it’s not like every moment of this task hasn’t been enjoyable. It’s times like these that you have to take a moment to appreciate what it really feels like to be living Fanboy!
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