At a Garage Sale Long, Long Ago

Ah! Welcome to what many people call their favorite time of year. ‘Tis the season of new discoveries, when our cities, towns, and neighborhoods are suddenly filled with amazing pockets of life, where people might gather to gaze upon the colorful wonders the world has set before their eyes.

Yep, it’s garage sale season. As long as the snow holds off, you’re about to see telltale “SALE” signs popping up like tulips at random street corners. They’ll grow and grow over the next few months. Soon, you’ll find treasures strewn across makeshift tables. Bikes lined up along the curb. Clusters of neighbors in random driveways. For countless locals, garage sale season is the hap-happiest season of all.

And for me, garage sales equal Star Wars. Let me explain…

Like many children of the 1980s, I was required by federal law to love Star Wars. For those of you too young to remember these laws, just trust me. It was an absolutely real thing that I’m totally not making up. Please don’t Google it. I swear it’s true.*

Yes, I know there have been multiple waves of Star Wars movies and associated media, and multiple generations have fallen in love with the long, long ago happenings of a galaxy far, far away. But I lived through one of the first waves. Probably the second wave. Whichever wave had the Ewoks. And it was a way of life.

By the mid 1980s I’d amassed a somewhat impressive collection of well-used Star Wars toys. Action figures, playsets, spaceships, special mail order accessories requiring six proofs of purchase…it was a lot. But at some point my interests drifted elsewhere. My friends stopped playing with little plastic Wookiees, and my collection gathered dust.

So in 1985(ish), I decided to sell my entire set of Star Wars toys at my parent’s garage sale. I wasn’t around when it happened, probably at school, but my mom says an older dude swooped in and bought the whole shootin’ match—every last plastic blaster—for about $70. At the time, I was elated. It was more cash than I’d ever seen in my life. Looking back, I’m horrified.

Seventy dollars…35 years ago…for essentially trashed plastic toys. I’m no collectibles expert, but if I still owned those toys, despite their well-earned wear and tear, they’d now be worth roughly $300 bah-jillion. Give or take few bucks.

Alas, hindsight is 20/20. How was I to know how big the Star Wars collectable market would become?

The moral of this thrilling story is to get out there and visit some garage sales this year, because you never know what you might find. And if you’re selling old Star Wars toys, do me a favor and look up their current value in a book like the Beckett Star Wars Collectibles Price Guide, available at your local MORE library.

*This is totally made up.

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