Gemstone Publishing recently announced that their next book will be The Overstreet Price Guide to Star Wars Collectibles. The comprehensive price guide, which hits stores in November 2018, will feature comic books, toys, movie poster, and more. Scoop talked to lead author Amanda Sheriff about the book’s creation, what will be within it, and how the information will be presented.
Scoop: How did this idea come about and what made this right for the next Gemstone price guide?
Amanda Sheriff (AS): The idea came from Gemstone’s clever, savvy President and CEO Steve Geppi. He’s been wanting to do this book for a while and with the growth and success that Star Wars has seen in the past three years, he decided that now was the best time to jump on the project. The book is an outgrowth of our other work in which we can utilize Overstreet’s experience in pricing comics with our expanded base of other collectibles. And when J.C. Vaughn, our Vice-President of Publishing, asked me if I wanted to write the book, my response was “Is Han Solo a scruffy looking nerf herder?! Of course, I want to write this book!”
Scoop: Speaking of Han Solo, he has a new standalone film coming out soon. Does your book cover any information from this film?
AS: Yes, Solo: A Star Wars Story will be included under a few topics. This book covers the full landscape of Star Wars with the films, TV shows, comics, games, books, etc.
Scoop: Has there been a lot of research involved?
AS: Of course! We couldn’t put the Overstreet name on it otherwise! We go into any book project with solid knowledge of the material that helps direct what needs to be covered and how to go about collating significant details and pricing. Because I love Star Wars I know a good bit about the series and some of the collectibles. Robert M. Overstreet, the book’s co-author, contributing writers, and I have spent many hours studying different collecting markets to present the most accurate pricing we can provide.
Scoop: Did any areas surprise you by being more involved than you initially anticipated?
AS: Yeah, there have been a few surprises in regard to actual quantity of some collectibles and some prices. For instance, I knew there were a lot of Star Wars novels, but didn’t realize just how many. I was a little surprised by how much some of the Hallmark ornaments go for. There are other aspects that weren’t exactly surprises, more like revelations, regarding the differences that make similar collectibles very different in value.
Scoop: What topics will you cover in the book?
AS: The big three sections are action figures and toys, movie posters, and comic books, with the latter handled by the expert, Robert Overstreet. As I just mentioned, novels and Hallmark ornaments, plus pop-up books, original art, Halloween costumes, screen-used items, autographs, and trading cards. Our resident gamer, Gemstone Assistant Editor Carrie Wood, is handling tabletop and video games. Music guru Jon Steffens, who wrote about soundtracks in The Overstreet Guide to Horror, will handle the soundtracks in this one.
Scoop: How does this book bridge the gap between experienced collectors and inexperienced collectors?
AS: The book contains detailed pricing on general and rare collectibles. This will give new collectors an understanding of what they should expect to pay for different collectibles and the rarities that experienced collectors like to hunt for in auctions and shows. The market reports also point out the reasons why some items are valued higher than others, which should help the newbies and more experienced folks can learn about an area they don’t currently collect.
Scoop: How will you present the values of the collectibles?
AS: I want to present the values in a clear, easy to follow format. Most will appear in price lists, showing low to high estimates based on condition. Some will appear within the context of market reports, either in a similar low to high format or based on averages.
Scoop: How has writing this book affected you as both a collector and as a fan?
AS: As a collector, I’ve added a whole slew of things I’d like to now own myself! Funnily enough, not long after working on the novels section I found a second edition copy of From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker at a used bookstore. As a fan I’ve learned about more of the minutiae within the series – like identifying obscure characters or rare collectibles.
Scoop: As mentioned above, Star Wars is a huge franchise. In planning out your book were there any categories that you had to edit out for sake of space? If so, which ones?
AS: So far, my process in working on books for Gemstone typically involves asking to add more topics not delete them! The Overstreet goal is to always make the most important portions as detailed as possible. For some topics, I have to take a more critical look at what information is pertinent and necessary. Take Hallmark ornaments ‒ some are worth hundreds, some go for $50 to $70, and a bunch sell for as low as a few bucks. We don’t need to go into detail about the $5 ones. So, the higher value ornaments will get more attention.
Scoop: What is your favorite Star Wars film?
AS: The Empire Strikes Back! It introduces Yoda, Lando, and Boba Fett. It has the big fight between Luke and Darth Vader and one of the biggest movie shockers of all time. The romantic Han and Leia moment before he is encased in carbonite. And now I want to watch the movie. That counts as research, right?
Scoop: [Laughs] Absolutely! What goals did you set for yourself in creating this book, do you feel you’ve met them?
AS: My goal is the same for any Gemstone project and that’s to do the best I can with proper research, creativity, and my best writing. I love the company and our products because we are writing for people like us who are also devoted to pop culture and the wonderful ways it inspires us. I find Star Wars to be particularly inspiring, so I can’t say enough how excited I am to work on this and give it the best I have to offer as a writer and fan. In that respect, I feel that I’m meeting my goals, but any writer will tell you that their work can always be better.
Scoop: This is your fourth book with Gemstone, following The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Movie Posters, The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Concert Posters, and The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Horror. What do your plans for future projects include?
AS: After this book is finished my next project will be a long nap! [laughs] We always have projects in mind for the future, so there are plenty of possibilities. But first, I have to finish this one. It’ll be available for preorder in the August issue of the PREVIEWS catalog and out in stores in November. In the meantime, may the Force be with you.