Trilogo.info now meets a man who has owned a couple of Trilogos in his time! Edd Grant, who is the owner of Starwarsforum.co.uk, a Vintage collectors forum which has been running since 2005.
Trilogo.info – Hi Edd, it’s great to have you with us on Trilogo.info for an interview! Many people will know that you are a long time fan of the Trilogo line and you in fact almost completed a Trilogo set a few years back. Could you tell us when did you actually start collecting and how old were you?
Edd- Indeed I am a big fan of the Trilogo line. As with many collectors I had Star Wars toys as a kid, but I definitely couldn’t call that collecting as my brothers and I trashed everything! (Check out the upside down Falcon in this picture as proof!)
My interest in Star Wars was rekindled in 1994 when I was 13. By chance my mum bought me Return of the Jedi on VHS from Tesco, as the Digitally Remastered set had just been released. I hadn’t seen any of the films for years and was instantly hooked again. I picked up Steve Sansweet’s “From Concept to Screen to Collectible” book from the local Waterstone’s book shop, and the book quite heavily featured the Kenner toys so I set about trying to collect them. Initially I picked up loose beaters from antique and junk shops, but moved on to carded figures when I discovered that you could still find them (which amazed me at the time.)
Trilogo.info- Wow 1994 is pretty early! So you were collecting as a teen! How much exposure to Trilogos did you have as a child and do you remember them on the shelves?
Edd- Well, I was born in 1981 so was too young to see any of the films in the cinema, and therefore buy any of the toys pre Return of the Jedi. So my era was most definitely Trilogos. My first figure was a Trilogo Han Hoth that I was given by my cousin while in hospital in 1985. At the time I lived in Lincolnshire, and distinctly remember visiting a toy shop in Grimsby and seeing a wall of Trilogo figures and vehicles. Unlike some my memory from childhood is very hazy so I can’t remember many specifics, but yes I do remember seeing Trilogos on sale.
Trilogo.info- Great memory about the Han Hoth, awesome figure too! So as a collector in your late teens, what was the first Trilogo you ever bought and can you remember how much it cost you?
Edd- Amazingly, I can remember – I picked up 2 Trilogos (Klaatu and Nikto) from a Sunday Market in Wimborne for £15, so £7.50 each! This was in late 1994, and they were my first carded figures. Before that all I had was loose figures/vehicles and a few card backs.
Trilogo.info- Long gone are the days when you could get one figure for £15 let alone two! So where did you pick up most of your collection from considering this was pre-internet?
Edd- I lived in Poole, Dorset at the time and the majority of my collection came from three places – an antiques shop called Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, a specialist Star Wars shop in The Old Town Market, and a Sunday toy trader at Wimborne Market. I used to visit all three shops on a weekly basis, and in hindsight was very lucky to have three sources nearby. Back then carded figures and especially Trilogos were not very expensive, most carded figures were £15-£30 each and even the ‘hard to find’ ones such as 12 backs rarely went in to triple figures. Mind you, condition was much less important back then and rough cards and cracked bubbles were the norm. I have great memories of visiting shops stocked with vintage toys, you only see that at large shows these days.
Trilogo.info- I only ever saw one half decent shop in the 90’s that stocked Vintage, you definitely were lucky to have three near you! So, how many Trilogos had you picked up before you officially decided to go for a set?
Edd- Well, I collected on and off between 1994 and 2004, and in that time picked up a fair few Trilogos as they were generally more common and cheaper than Kenner figures. Here is one of the earliest pictures I have of my collection, believe it or not pinning carded figures to the wall was common but very cringe worthy now!
So I must have had at least 20, including a few of the more sought after ones including the Tie Fighter Pilot. Then, when I discovered eBay and Rebel Scum in about 2004, I got the bug back and I bought many carded figures on all different cardbacks. I only decided to try and put together a full Trilogo run in about 2005 because I happened to have 40 or so of them at the time.
Trilogo.info- Haha! What a picture! So, after “officially” deciding to go after Trilogos and complete the set, how long did it take you to build up your Trilogo collection to the point where you were a stones throw from completion?
Edd- As I mentioned, I had around 40 of them in my collection already before I even thought about finishing the set. I then focused on them from 2005-2007 and in those two years I purchased almost all of the figures I was missing. All in all, even though at the start I wasn’t trying to complete a set it probably took me ten years to get three away from a complete Trilogo collection. Here are some shots of my collection:
Trilogo.info- Ten years of Trilogo collecting! Wow, so is it safe to say you set out to collect Trilogos on a budget?
Edd- Haha, much to my embarrassment I have always been a cheapskate when it comes to collecting! I try and pay the least possible for things and Trilogos were no different. The thrill of getting a bargain is half of the fun for me. I think this stemmed from starting collecting during my teens so money was really tight, it used to take me literally months to save up for what were expensive pieces at the time, even though by today’s standards they were cheap.
Trilogo.info- No need to be embarrassed, you are talking to another cheapskate! So sticking with that theme, can you remember some of your best scores and bargain buys to tell us about?
Edd- There were so many, as I was such a bargain hunter I often paid well below what I considered to be market value by scanning eBay hourly for bargain buy it now items and bidding on late or poorly listed auctions (this was before sniping sites existed that do the hard work for you.) For me there was no fun in paying full market value for anything especially as (thanks to eBay and forums) most are so easy to track down now if you have cash to burn.
One that stands out is a Trilogo Emperor’s Royal Guard that I bought in 2006 for £50!
The same seller also had a Trilogo Jawa that I stupidly turned down because the bubble was lifting on one side. From memory he only wanted £200 for it, turning it down is probably my biggest collecting regret!
Trilogo.info- Yikes! Although most people get put off by bubble lifts or reseals so I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself and you did get that nice ERG!
Edd- Yeah true! I also had many other bargains too so I can’t complain. I once managed to pick up 5 Trilogo Leia Bespin’s in one hit for a very good price from a non-collector. I always love seeing multiples of the same figure together, it’s the closest you get to seeing them in a shop again!
Trilogo.info- What a sight! That’s a cool picture, interesting that they are all the 70C variant too! Now Edd, unfortunately we have to touch on the subject of the theft of your collection which many readers may not know about (Here is a link to the BBC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/7024796.stm ). The theft of your collection took place in 2007, which was only a few years after you had got back into collecting. I know that knocked you for six and definitely put you off collecting for a couple of years. It was such a shame for something like that to happen especially at a time when you were literally a handful of figures away from completing the Trilogo set. If you are happy to discuss it, would you mind explaining what happened and exactly what was stolen?
Edd- Sure no problem, I often get asked about it. At the time I had roughly 140 carded figures and was only 3 away from completing my Trilogo set (admittedly the three were Madine, Jawa and Fett but still!) I was working in London at the time and received a phone call from my mum back home in Poole, she thought we’d had a break in because my bedroom and a couple of other rooms were a mess. She sent me a photo and to my horror approximately half of my collection was missing from the shelves.
I rushed home to assess what was missing, I worked out that roughly 60-70 carded figures were gone plus a few other things like my proof cards. Among the missing items were my entire Luke Bespin focus (roughly 30 MOCs including quite a few foreign ones) and around half of my Trilogos, including all of the last 17. It was very clear that whoever carried out the theft knew exactly what they were looking for due to the particular figures that were taken. They had also taken all of my AFA graded ones. Your average thief would probably not have even noticed them, let alone know which ones would be the most valuable.
This picture shows what I had left, the shelves were all full before the theft:
The police were obviously involved but there were no leads, and a few months later I got an insurance pay out which helped soften the blow. But it’s worth noting that they only paid out what they cost me, not what they were worth (bearing in mind I’d owned some of them for over a decade, values had increased significantly) and they would only pay out for the ones I could prove I had purchased with Paypal receipts. A bit of advice there – as well as insuring your collection, keep all of your Paypal receipts!
Soon after I sold off my remaining figures as I completely lost interest, and in the 5 years that then passed I only bought a few. I did put together a 12 Back set as a bit of fun but I didn’t have the same nostalgic attachment to them as I do with Trilogos.
Out of the blue in early 2012, I received a private message on my forum alerting me to the fact that one of my stolen figures had been seen for sale. Luckily, I had detailed photos of every figure still up on my website so it was easy to 100% confirm it was my one. Several more surfaced as a result of that initial lead and it unfortunately emerged that an old school friend of my brother’s had been quietly selling figures from my collection over the last couple of years.
Because it was a personal friend of my brother, before going to the police I gave him the opportunity to come clean and give what he had left back to me (which by this time was only 10 of them.) It soon became clear that he wasn’t going to, so my only option left was to go to the police. Surprisingly they were far more interested than I thought they would be – they immediately seized them, and arrested him. No charges were made as there was no evidence due to the fact it happened 5 years ago, but they did return the remaining 10 to me and the insurance company let me keep them because it was only a fraction of what was originally stolen.
Although it was great to get a few of them back, I was sickened that somebody I knew had been involved and I swiftly sold most of them on as they had been tarnished and I still felt no desire to continue collecting. I did however keep a couple – the only remaining Luke Bespin from my old focus, and a Luke X-Wing that I bought with my brother in around 1995 that obviously held enormous sentimental value. Those two will be staying with me!
Trilogo.info- I must thank you for sharing that story with us Edd, it was a huge shame when you lost the collecting bug due to the theft as it’s obvious Star Wars and Vintage collecting has always been a huge part of your life. At least you found out what happened to your collection and you have moved on since then, it’s great to have you back collecting again by the way!
OK, let’s talk a little about the sites you run, the most notable of course is www.starwarsforum.co.uk which is a popular UK based Vintage Star Wars forum. When did you set that up and why?
Edd- I am a web designer by trade, so making websites for my collection and about Star Wars was logical. I started SWF as a UK collector forum while I was bored over Christmas in 2005. I had no idea it would ever take off, and am really pleased that it is so well regarded by people 8 years on.
Trilogo.info- You also still host www.jedicollection.co.uk which was a site showcasing your collection but most importantly it was one of the only sites for a long time that had an almost full Trilogo gallery. How passionate are you about running those sites and did you ever think you would have kept them going for so long?
Edd- I created Jedi Collection as a showcase site for my own figures which I kept updated right up until the theft. I almost gave up on both websites after my figures were stolen because as I mentioned, I wasn’t actively collecting myself, but even then I lurked on the forum as my interest in Star Wars will never die even if I am not collecting. I am also really pleased I didn’t pull the plug on Jedi Collection as it’s great to look over it now and see what I did put together back then.
Trilogo.info- Both are great sites! As I said earlier it is great to know you are back and collecting again. When you returned, which direction did you go in and what items did you initially pick up?
Edd- After taking a long break I was definitely keen to get back in to it, but didn’t want to start a Trilogo run from scratch or do another Luke focus. So I decided to put together a set of 12 Backs as mentioned above. It took me six months or so, and as usual I opted for the cheapskate approach! But once complete I sold them on as I didn’t really feel a connection with them. I am currently working on a set of the first 12 figures on 77 back cards, as I like the alternate photos. 3 to go!
Here is a picture of the 12 back set I put together:
Edd- I have also got a collection of Star Wars video games that I’ve been putting together since about 2007, I still add to this collection when they come up for sale but it’s very slow compared to vintage as there just aren’t many sealed examples left out there surprisingly.
Trilogo.info- The Video game collection looks great Edd! Are you happy with the Vintage items you own now or are there items still on the list for you?
Edd- I am incredibly pleased to still own one of the figures I bought when I first started collecting, that Luke X-Wing that was recovered by the Police is going nowhere! But to be honest the rest I could take or leave, I think it’s fair to say I haven’t found my new direction yet (although as above I’m very in to games too.)
Trilogo.info- Do you think it is important to change the way you collect after a while or go after different items in order to keep things fresh or create new challenges?
Edd- You definitely need to have a constant supply of things to buy, otherwise it gets boring. So I advise starting a focus that has many pieces, both cheap and rare/expensive. You want a challenge, but you also don’t want to wait a year or more between purchases or it gets boring. Having been collecting for nearly 20 years, very few items in this game are one-of-a-kind so my advice if you get bored is sell up and move on to something else, you can always get the majority back again in future. Plus the days of buying any old Star Wars toys as an investment and them increasing in value every year are long gone.
Trilogo.info- Sound advice there Edd. So you must have noticed the increasing amount of Trilogo collectors appearing on the forums. With all the Trilogo popularity are you tempted to one day start again?
Edd- I think it’s great that they’re finally getting some recognition, they’ve always been my favourite cardbacks and I believe it is the largest complete run of the same cardback you can put together (90ish figures?) But I must admit, prices now would put me off starting again as they have been very popular over the last few years.
Trilogo.info- There are still bargains out there but it definitely takes a lot more digging and a lot more luck these days. Even if you never buy another Trilogo again will you always have a soft spot for them?
Edd- Absolutely, as I said they are without doubt the coolest cardbacks in my opinion. They’re tacky, bright coloured, and the bubbles hardly go yellow. You can’t beat them for display!
Trilogo.info- Agreed! Oh I forgot to ask this earlier! Back in the early days can you recall just how many Trilogos you would see at shows or on ebay in any given month? Does it feel like there was a more plentiful supply back then or are there still plenty out there?
Edd- Trilogos were certainly the most common cards I’d see in shops during the 90s, and they continued to be relatively easy to pick up until around 2005. There are still plenty out there, but there are many more people fighting over them now so perhaps less to satisfy demand?
Trilogo.info- Well Edd, it has been a pleasure talking to you! Before we finish up though I gotta ask this: If you could buy ANY Trilogo figure tomorrow, regardless of value, maybe as a reminder of your old set, which would it be?
Edd- It’s funny you should ask that as I actually bid on a Trilogo Luke Bespin on eBay only yesterday! But sadly my bid wasn’t high enough. That would have been a great figure to buy back, as I mentioned earlier he was an old focus of mine:
Since the theft I’ve always wanted another one, so I will definitely pick one up one day!
Trilogo.info- Thanks Edd! I hope you pick that Luke Bespin up one day, you never know you may even manage to locate your original!