Hake's Nov. 15-16 auction lineup underscores rock-solid market for Star Wars & surging popularity of vintage video games

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Hake's Nov. 15-16 auction lineup underscores rock-solid market for Star Wars & surging popularity of vintage video games
Left: ‘Journey Into Mystery’ #83, August 1962, features origin and first appearance of Marvel’s God of Thunder, The Mighty Thor. CGC 5.5 Fine. Estimate $10,000-$20,000; Right: Marvel ‘Tales Of Suspense’ #39, March 1963, features origin and first appearance of Iron Man. CGC 4.5 VG+. Estimate $10,000-$20,000.

YORK, PA.- The quest for early Star Wars collectibles has reached a fevered pitch, but the auction market tells us the journey is just beginning. Interest in Star Wars items is stronger than ever, especially for prototypes and samples, rare variations, and toys produced in low numbers or no numbers at all. To some, it may seem that Hake’s – the auction house holding numerous world records for Star Wars material – has already sold the ultimate rarities from that wildly popular category. But exciting surprises continue to emerge, some from unexpected sources, and those fresh consignments and new discoveries will be front and center at Hake’s November 15-16 pop culture auction.

The high-end selection of elusive action figures is led by a carded double-telescoping Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi. The encased, 3.75-inch Ben Kenobi 12 Back-A figure is extremely rare and only the third carded example of its type ever to be auctioned by Hake’s. A SKU on the package’s footer identifies the figure as an earlier production, and the mere fact that it is packaged makes it “infinitely rarer” than a loose one, says Hake’s catalog description. Its condition is sure to please, with an AFA grading of 75 EX+/NM. Estimate: $100,000-$200,000.

A 3.75-inch sample figure of Princess Leia from Kenner’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1984) line presents the beloved character in a solid pink poncho as opposed to the later camouflage version. Also, its packaging makes it unusual. “The figure is affixed to an Imperial Stormtrooper/ Snowtrooper blister card because, at the time the sample was produced, cards for the Leia figure had not yet been made,” said Alex Winter, president of Hake’s Auctions. AFA-graded 60 Y-EX, the Leia sample comes with a notarized CIB LOA and is estimated at $20,000-$35,000.

An exceedingly rare 10-inch-tall prototype of a talking Yoda doll represents the idea for a toy that was meant to be part of Kenner’s 1981 merchandise line for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, however the doll design never made it to the production stage. For that reason, the Yoda offered by Hake’s joins the elite ranks of the most sought after of all unproduced Star Wars toy prototypes. Of the few that are known to exist, it is one the most complete examples. Graded AFA 80 NM, it comes with a notarized CIB LOA and is estimated at $50,000-$75,000.

As the slogan goes, there’s more than meets the eye with Transformers, and all eyes will be fixed on a Transformers (1984) Series 1 Autobot Commander Optimus Prime, which changes from a tractor-trailer to a robot with headquarters, then back again. It comes in its original window box, which is AFA sub-graded B80 W85 F90. Estimate $10,000-$20,000.

GI Joe action figures have been steadily on the rise. Collectors won’t want to miss Hasbro 1980s GI Joe Snake Eyes series 1/9 back 3.75in straight-arm action figure, AFA-graded 80 NM. It’s on its original blister card with a Cobra Commander mail-in offer ad and is estimated at $5,000-$10,000.

Attention, gamers! If you’re not already part of the army of believers, the time has come to “level up” and dive into one of the collectibles world’s fastest-growing categories: vintage video games. In their November 15-16 auction, Hake’s is offering an incredible specialty selection of more than 200 classic video games and consoles, with a timeline that runs from the groundbreaking Atari 2600 to PlayStation 4.

Pioneers in the sale of pop-culture memorabilia of all types, Hake’s is naturally in the business of identifying trends, and according to Alex Winter, vintage video games are off to the races. “Video games might be the ultimate crossover collectible category,” Winter said. “They’re not just games of competitive battle or military survival strategy; they also open up fantasy worlds from movies, TV shows, cartoons and comic books. Everyone can relate to video games in one way or another. We know this category is going to explode. At our booth at New York Comic Con, people passing by would freeze in their tracks when they saw our video games display for this auction.”

Topping the games selection is an N64 (1999) Super Smash Bros. game cartridge starring Link, Mario, Donkey Kong, Pikachu and others from Nintendo’s ultimate crossover fighting series. Graded VGA 85 NM+ (vertical seam), it is estimated at $35,000-$50,000. Another showstopper is Nintendo’s N64 (1997) GoldenEye 007 Rareware game cartridge based on the hit James Bond movie of the same name. Graded VGA 85 NM+, it has a license to claim a winning bid in the $10,000-$20,000 range.

Game consoles include a coveted Xbox Halo Special Edition VGA 85 (green console). Microsoft produced 200,000 translucent green consoles with the “Halo” wordmark on the console’s front panel, right-hand side, and near controller port 4. The S controller has a “Halo” jewel instead of the standard Xbox one. This console is likely to command $10,000-$20,000.

Hundreds of comic books will be up for bid, many from the Golden and Silver Age of publication. Highlights include Marvel’s Journey Into Mystery #83, August 1962, CGC 5.5 Fine, which features the origin and first appearance of Thor, God of Thunder; and Marvel’s Tales Of Suspense #39, March 1963, CGC 4.5 VG+, which introduces Iron Man. Each of the titles is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.

Al Plastino’s original pen-and-ink splash page (Page 1) art for DC’s Action Comics #333, February 1966, depicts Superman punching through the midsection of Lex Luthor’s robot as a police officer in the background rushes toward the scene. Measuring 13.5 inches by 20 7/8 inches, this eye-catching, well-detailed artwork carries a $10,000-$20,000 estimate.

From the world of rock ‘n’ roll, Hake’s goes back to August 29, 1966 with a ticket from the Beatles landmark concert at Candlestick Park, San Francisco. With photo portraits of all four band members, the ticket is the highest-graded and finest known example of a full ticket from the legendary British band’s final concert before a paying audience. Encased and graded PSA Full 9 Mint, it could hit a high note in the vicinity of $10,000-$20,000.

You’ll need your sunglasses to inspect the stunning design of a 2015 New Zealand Mint 1-kilo Niue coin made of .999 fine gold, with the image of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on obverse and an iconic scene of Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie on the reverse. With its wooden display box and a COA from the mint, it is estimated at $50,000-$75,000. Similarly, words cannot adequately describe the quality of another treasure from Hake’s auction jewel box: an exquisite circa-1940 Cartier 14K gold link bracelet with enameled 14K gold charms depicting Disney characters Jiminy Cricket, Geppetto, the Blue Fairy, Figaro, Pinocchio and Cleo. Each charm is Cartier-stamped and marked 14K. Estimate: $35,000-$50,000.

From its stellar selection of American political and historical memorabilia, two lots command special attention. The first is a rarely seen “Don’t Tread On Me” Civil War-era Confederate Gadsden Flag recalling Benjamin Franklin’s 1754 political cartoon of a disjointed snake with the caption “Join Or Die.” The colorful cotton flag, which is shown in the book Threads of History, is estimated at $10,000-$20,000. A 1786 grant for a tract of land in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, is especially significant because it is signed in black quill-pen ink by Benjamin Franklin as president of the Supreme Executive Council, a position equivalent to the modern-day post of governor. With a Hake’s COA and JSA LOA, it is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.

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