You could say I’ve been collecting “Star Wars stuff” my entire life. Some of the oldest toys and action figures in my collection are the ones I got Christmas morning, 1978. Throughout the 80s I acquired a lot of stuff, and in the mid-90s when Star Wars was re-released in theaters and they began making new toys, I began collecting those as well. But it wasn’t until the late 90s that I began collecting vintage toys. Up until that point in time, other than a few things friends had gifted me, my collection of vintage toys consisted of the vintage toys I owned as a child.
The main reason I hadn’t added many vintage toys to my collection back then was that they were difficult to find. Occasionally you would run across a loose figure or ship at a flea market or garage sale, but it wasn’t until the advent of the world wide web (and specifically, eBay) that finding vintage toys for sale became easy.
According to my account, I signed up for eBay in June of 1998, and one of the first things I bought was a vintage Star Wars Landspeeder in the box. This one:
I paid $25 for it (not a bad price) from a local seller, and actually picked it up instead of having it mailed to me. That picture is from the house before the house before the one I live in now. We moved into the house before this one in 2002, so that picture’s at least 12 years old. That Landspeeder prompted me to “go retro” and beginning filling holes in my original collection.
And now, I can’t find it.
The first and most logical place I looked was in “the Star Wars room,” where all (or most) of my Star Wars things are. It’s not there. The next place I looked was in the couple of yet-to-be-displayed 30 gallon tubs with Star Wars toys in them out in the garage. It’s not there, either. There was a time when I had dozens of tubs and boxes full of storage items, but the size of our current house has afforded me the luxury of unpacking almost everything and labeling the few storage tubs I still have out in the garage.
Whenever I lose my keys, or my work badge, or my coat, or my Sam’s Club card (all of which happen regularly), I retrace my steps. I was here, I did this, I drove that car, I sat here… and eventually, things show up. Unfortunately, the last time I can say for sure I remember seeing thing thing was 12 years ago. When we moved from “the house before the last house” to “the last house,” Mason was less than a year old. Based on some good advice from a friend, I boxed up my Star Wars collection and stored it away until the kids were old enough to know the difference between “toys we play with” and “toys we don’t open.” Other than my loose figures, the majority of my collection remained boxed up at the last house (from 2002-2011), and I really didn’t get my Star Wars display set up here at the new house until 2012, meaning I haven’t thought about the whereabouts of this thing for over a decade.
A few other things from my collection are also missing, which leads me to believe a box of Star Wars stuff went missing at some point. Did it get lost at the last move? Did it get lost at the move before the last move? Hard to say. During our last move, we used a storage unit for several months. Did it get left there? I just don’t know.
If there’s an upside to this story it’s that this isn’t my original landspeeder. That one — the one I got for Christmas in 1978 — is sitting right here beside me. It’s open (just the way Santa delivered it to me) and shows a few scuffs here and there from being played with (just the way I like it).