In 1977, George Lucas forever changed the world of pop culture with the introduction of the epic space opera, Star Wars. This Goliath franchise, with its unforgettable characters and ever-expanding universes, continues to inspire a panorama of collectibles and other licensed items to this day.
Gemstone Publishing’s Associate Editor Amanda Sheriff and The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide creator Robert M. Overstreet tackled the gamut of Star Wars collecting in The Overstreet Price Guide to Star Wars Collectibles.
As the latest addition to Gemstone’s lineup heads to print, Scoop spoke with Sheriff on the work involved in this extensive project, key contributors to the book, advice for collectors, and what her future projects include.
Scoop: It’s finally done! After months of hard work, The Overstreet Price Guide to Star Wars Collectibles is heading to print. Now that everything is done, how are you feeling?
Amanda Sheriff (AS): I’m feeling tired! This book is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on and at 416 pages is certainly the longest book I’ve written. I’m very excited to get this in the hands of Star Wars collectors and I hope they find it both informative and entertaining.
Scoop: With eight main series films, an animated film, two standalone films, cartoons, TV specials, comics, books, magazines, games, toys and collectibles of every conceivable category, what was involved in your research?
AS: Lots and lots and lots of research. Each category contains background information on the collectible with some callouts for particular titles or items that are more valuable. The rest is pricing the collectibles from low to mid to high grade condition. I used multiple sources to price the collectibles to provide the most accurate values possible.
Scoop: What topics did you cover in this book?
AS: As many as we could. The three major sections are toys, comics, and movie posters. Toys covers action figures, playsets, and vehicles, the comics include Marvel and Dark Horse main series and callouts for key titles, and the movie posters cover the variety of U.S. releases from heralds to 24-sheets. Other categories are novels, video games, trading cards, pop-up books, Ben Cooper Halloween costumes, soundtracks, theme park exclusives, and several others.
Scoop: Did any areas involve more in-depth research than you originally anticipated?
AS: I knew there would be a ton of research, but the time involved on a few sections was a surprise. The most intriguing surprise was the multipack action figure sets. During Kenner’s original toy line, they issued a small number of three-pack and six-pack figure sets. A few sets haven’t had mainstream sales in years, so providing accurate pricing assessments was nearly impossible. I contacted a few experts on the topic and ended up with a really interesting perspective on pricing rarities and potential for the future.
Scoop: This is a price guide rather than a “how to collect” book. What makes this different from Gemstone’s Guide to Collecting line?
AS: In this book, the focus is on prices. Our “how to” line is a guide book – so we make suggestions on popular/key/rare items but also provide important information on related topics like safe storage, restoration, terminology, etc. This book does provide contextual details but the bulk of it is on reporting prices. Star Wars is such a huge series that is part of many areas of collecting. Add to that the people who collect categories rather than series and you have a lot of people interested in knowing what their collections are worth, what they should expect to pay for something, and what items to vigilantly look for. The aim of this book is to present that information.
Scoop: Outside of yourself and Robert Overstreet, does the book feature other contributors?
AS: Absolutely. I spoke with experienced collectors, dealers, and industry experts to put this book together. Gemstone’s Assistant Editor Carrie Wood provided her expertise on tabletop and video games, music man Jon Steffens wrote about the soundtracks, I talked to Russell Branton on his impressive toy collection, AFA CEO Chad Thompson on grading, and a few others.
Scoop: As both a collector and a fan, how has working on this book affected your view of Star Wars?
AS: It has been illuminating. Learning about the intricacies of the series, where it started, and where it is now has been very interesting. This whole thing starts with George Lucas and his brilliant idea and guidance. But there’s this vast network of people who helped build buzz for that first movie, helped design the world of Star Wars, have written hundreds of comics and books, designed games, and came up with new ideas to enjoy the series through collectibles. I loved Star Wars before writing this book, but now I have a larger appreciation for the pieces that put this giant series together and an understanding of how much it affects people.
Scoop: Do you have a personal favorite or standout collectible when it comes to Star Wars?
AS: Hmmm… That’s tough. I have a repro Empire Strikes Back style A one-sheet that I got signed by Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Jeremy Bulloch, and Julian Glover. That’s pretty awesome. My other favorites in my collection are the Kenner Land Speeder and Black Series Luke Skywalker lightsaber.
Scoop: What is the biggest piece of advice you can give collectors interested in building their Star Wars collection?
AS: Buy this book! [laughs] Figure out what you specifically want to collect. Is it movie posters or action figures or video games? Is it stuff specific to George Lucas or are you a big Princess Leia fan? It can’t be overstated that Star Wars is huge, so figuring out what you’re actually interested in is where you should start. Also, get involved in the collecting community. Meet dealers and auction houses, follow collecting groups, and ask questions. Trust me, collectors and dealers are happy to share their knowledge and it is extremely valuable information.
Scoop: Did you uncover anything in your research that you hadn’t previously known about the franchise?
AS: I learned lots of great stuff, that is the nature of research. I knew about the breadth of Star Wars collectibles but seeing all the comics or action figures or movie posters together is pretty darn cool. Seeing which trading cards, Hallmark ornaments, or Halloween costumes are more popular on the secondary market was also really interesting.
Scoop: Aside from a well deserved vacation, what do your plans for future projects include?
AS: I am definitely ready for a few days off to catch up on reading. I’m always working on Gemstone’s e-newsletter Scoop and I’m writing articles for the 2019 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. We have a few other projects in the works that I can’t discuss yet and I have a book idea that I’m hoping to get greenlit. There’s still lots of pop culture collecting to write about.