My Find and My New Friends.

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What's Up Scummers,


I wanted to share the story of my recent purchase of a lot of toys from a former Kenner employee with everyone here on RS. It was a two month long saga that culminated this past Sunday when I drove out to Ohio and purchased a large lot of vintage that had been boxed up in a basement for the past 30+ years in rural Ohio.


Many of you may remember a few weeks back when I posted about a purchase of a lot of figures that contained (unbeknownst to me until I received them) six first shot cantina aliens. After learning that a few of the figures I had received were first shots, l reached out to the guy that I had purchase them from and learned that he had received them during the Christmas of 1980 from his uncle, who was an employee at Kenner at the time. I learned his uncle's name and started to do some research. I want to thank Chris Georgoulias for his assistance and guidance early on in verifying names and giving suggestions on how to proceed from his years of experience in tracking down Kenner treasure. Thanks Chris.


With just a name and some very limited info, I began the research process and was able to locate an e-mail address for the former employee. I sent an e-mail describing the purchase I made from his nephew and my interest in learning about the Star Wars times at Kenner. I then crossed my fingers and waited.... I figured one of three things would happen: 1. I would get no response, 2. I would get a response telling me to beat it and don't contact me again or 3. I'd get a response and it would go well and I'd learn some stuff about Kenner and that'd be cool......(or could there be a 4??)


A few days go by (with me checking my e-mail every 20 minutes) and then.....there it was....a response e-mail....holy S! I open it. It was short. I read. It was a number 3 response...basically stating, sorry I didn't respond right away, my wife has been in the hospital, I'd be happy to talk to you about Kenner, I'll write more soon. I respond, thanking him for taking the time to respond...etc. The next day my #3 response turned into a #4....I receive a bunch more e-mails from him all in a row, back to back...what the...could these be? Wait they all have attachments. First e-mail explained that he worked for Kenner in the Product Integrity Deparment for a few years (78' to 80') and that he used to test toys for safety and reliability. But what about all these attachments??.... Pictures. All of vintage Star Wars toys that he had saved. I thought you might like to see these, he wrote, I hope you enjoy them. MOCs, ESB 3-packs, baggies, Vader case with white cardboard wrap and insert, figure cases, unpainted die cast ships, electronic games, loose figures.....No way. The closer I looked the more excited I became. Several of the loose figures had writing on them.


Over te next few weeks, we e-mailed back and forth. Talking about all kinds of things including Kenner. Most of the time he was writing me from his wife's hospital bed-side. A recipient of a pair of new lungs, his wife was fighting the fight of her life with a variety of complications. We continue to correspond and he told me how nice it was to have someone to talk with....someone to take his mind off of the crap his wife was going through. I enjoyed being able to do that or him.


Someone I want to thank for being there for me and providing his encouragement, support and knowledge is Steve (the_dark_artist). Steve and I talked all the way through the process leading up to what I think will be the highlight of my collecting and was instrumental in pushing me along. Thanks Steve.


Flash forward a few weeks as his wife is home and doing much better. We had discussed me purchasing his toys on and off over the weeks that we wrote back and forth and a week ago we came to a deal! The next thing I know...I'm making plans to drive to OHIO. Arrangemnts were made for this past Sunday (3/16/2014). My dad had asked to drive with me, as company.....on a side note this turned out to be awesome. With my job, wife, kids and 1000 other obligations, I don't get the time to spend with my dad that I'd like. It was fitting too since my dad was the person that had introduced me to Star Wars a long time ago in a childhood far far away.... The 8 hour ride from Philadelphia to Ohio gave us a lot of time to just spend together. Prior to leaving my Kenner friend insisted that my dad and I stay with him and his wife for the night instead of turning around and driving back home! He said, that way we could talk more about "Kenner's" (that's how he would say it). Unreal!


Sunday morning, dad and I are on the way....and
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We talk about Kenner and everything else over Guinness and games of pool at his house late into the evening. Truly amazing! My dad and I had made a new friend and had an awesome time.
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This is me and my new friend and the purchase that I made. It ended up containing 10 first shots and some marked test samples from the Product Integrity lab. Also two die cast prototypes that were used in testing prior to production (technically First Shots for lack of a better term).
 
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The whole lot was accompanied by a letter that was appropriately entitled "KENNER'S" describing the work that he did at Kenner and the story behind the pieces that I had purchased. The experience was amazing. I hope you all enjoyed hearing about it. I'm still going through everything and will be offering up a lot of my find (doubles..etc) here on RS in the near future. Thanks for reading.
 
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Incredibly awesome find and story! Very cool that your persistence paid off and you made a friend to boot (not to mention a road trip with Dad!). Looking forward to more pics. Congrats!
 
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This is a great story on so many levels. Hope you got a good deal for the stuff and it sounds like you gave him some good friendship as well. I am in Ohio and while I hesitate to ask where it was for fear that it was in my backyard, I might as well ask......

Oh, and put me down for some first shots!!!!!!!!!!!

Congrats on this epic find.

Ross
 
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Fantastic story! What made it even better was that you were able to share it with your Dad. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Wow, must have taken some deep pockets to buy the whole lot... 3 packs in there too! Congratulations!

What is the Vader case with the plain white sleeve?
 
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Very cool story and an amazing find! It's a major bonus that you were able to share it with your dad. Thanks for sharing your story and score with us. :)
 
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Woooooooo Hoooooooo buddy : ) Glad I could be there for you during the process : )
Also glad you included your father in this trip and that you made a new, life long, friend in the former Kenner employee. GREAT story my friend.
-Steve
 
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Congratulations on your new friendship and bonding with your dad :), those are priceless moments and more valuable than the lot that you purchase, thank you for sharing your story and please don't forget to document all of them, preservation and keeping records is very important, maybe you want to contribute and summit them to The Star Wars Collectors Archive so you can be part of the "inner circle" :p.
 
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I am in Ohio and while I hesitate to ask where it was for fear that it was in my backyard, I might as well ask......
Lol Ross I too am happy for greedodidntshoot, but at the same time ashamed to see this was under our noses here in the Buckeye State!
 
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Awesome story man and an equally awesome find. Congrats again. Grant.:)
 
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Wow, it's not often that I get jealous, but yeah, I'm jealous.... especially since I'm guessing this was literally in my backyard. Amazing. I have no idea how you found this guy, but kudos.
 
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The whole lot was accompanied by a letter that was appropriately entitled "KENNER'S" describing the work that he did at Kenner and the story behind the pieces that I had purchased. The experience was amazing. I hope you all enjoyed hearing about it. I'm still going through everything and will be offering up a lot of my find (doubles..etc) here on RS in the near future. Thanks for reading.
People who worked at Kenner -- and even people who live in Cincinnati -- tend to call the company "Kenner's" for some reason.
 
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Congrats Gary another awesome find. I didn't think you could possibly better the first one but you did! :)
 
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A true Star Wars success story!!! Congrats.

Sounds like you were also able to help him get through a tough time with his wife's health.
A great story all around and a testament to hard work and good old fashioned "collector's karma"!
Best part is, you got to share it with your Dad!!!
 
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Unreal story! Congrats on the score and kudos to you being there for the guy! Sounds like it was a good start to a long-lasting friendship.
 
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Wow - amazing find! Congrats! And those are some very valuable 3 packs in the lot!

Turk
 
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Dude, you gotta tell us what you paid for the lot...I think I speak for everyone when I say it's killing me not to know.
 
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Great story and from what I saw from the Plastic Galaxy docu those guys do love to talk Kenner. Nice score of items to say the least. Care to share a list of what items were pre-prod / EP in time? Just out of interest (heck, show us better pictures when you can). Also smart you contacted others with experience contacting former employees, very smart.

-Alex
 
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Great story and nice items for sure. Congrats to you and thanks for sharing!
 
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Man where in the world are you guys from Ohio pulling these pieces from? Unbelievable find. I need to head out there make some friends.:ninja: I thought Sean, Ryan, Ross and Gerry had that area locked down. Any preproduction pieces? Thanks for sharing.
 
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Great score and nice you could find some quality time with your dad. Ryan
 
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Man where in the world are you guys from Ohio pulling these pieces from? Unbelievable find. I need to head out there make some friends.:ninja: I thought Sean, Ryan, Ross and Gerry had that area locked down. Any preproduction pieces? Thanks for sharing.
In all honesty, any time I see a find like this around here and it's not me, this is my response, pretty much verbatim:
NO GOD! PLEASE NO!!! NOOOOOOOOOO - YouTube
 
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Holy crap! THIS is the type of thing that keeps our hobby from ever getting old. Most of us dream of stumbling into a connection like this, and walking away with such an incredible score. And as a bonus, this is proof right here that it isn't always the 'inner circle' that gets these dream situations. I'm envious, but very happy for you. To share the experience with your father makes it even more special as well.

THANK YOU for sharing this.

Ian
 
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Thanks to everyone for all the kind remarks. To the Ohio boys...sorry for invading your turf. I'll be posting more pics soon. I've had a lot of questions about the first shots and other pre-production stuff. The lot contained 3 Bespin Lukes, 2 Han Hoth, 2 landos, 2 rebel soldiers and one FX-7 all first shots. The Vader Case is an EP. There were also several marked test pieces (used in product integrity testing including 1 Bespin Leia, 1 blue snag, 1 walrusman and 2 yodas. Also two MOC test pieces, a 12-back 3po and a 21 back Han Solo. A lot of the other loose figs need some closer examination as the paint seems to have been hand applied, but they do contain coo and date stamps. The two die cast vehicles are a Slave 1 and a cloud car (with test scratches) neither have any copyright stamps and are unfinished as far as paint (very cool pieces). There are also three vinyl cases (2 SW and 1 ESB) that also appear to have been samples as under the trays I found numbered tape. I promise to post more pics soon. Thanks again for all the replies.

Gary
 
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