Collector’s Corner — Keith Barker and His Star Wars Toys

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All Photos: Keith Barker

All Photos: Keith Barker

Here at Krrb Classifieds we love a good collection, especially one that’s unique. From where the collection began to the most significant item, we want to know the story behind it all. So we’re reaching out to collectors everywhere to find out what they collect and why!

Today, Keith Barker joins us to discuss his collection of Star Wars memorabilia, how it all started and his Yoda impression.

Hi Keith. First off, why did you start collecting Star Wars items?

Well that’s hard to pinpoint but some of the first movies I recall watching as a child were Star Wars. I was absolutely mystified from the start, and I knew right away that I wanted to somehow work in film production. My older brother already had a collection of the 70’s-80’s vintage figures that were around for me to take over. But I think it really took off for me when the “Special Edition” of the original trilogy was released in theaters in 1997. My Grandpa took me to see all 3 films, and I’m so glad I have those memories of experiencing them on the big screen. With that “Star Wars Resurgence” came a whole new influx of action figures and ships that I just had to get my hands on. There was no looking back at that point.

What’s the rarest Star Wars item you have in your collection?

As far as rarity goes, I don’t know if I have any “holy grail” level items, I guess my brother’s original figures might fall under that category. But in today’s age, there really isn’t much you can’t just scoop up on the internet, if you are willing to pay the price. I did pick up the Alex Ross (my favorite comic artist) variant cover for “Star Wars Issue 1”, from the latest Marvel line. The cover art is an homage to the original Star Wars Issue 1 released in 1977. Something else snagged recently at Comic Con was an original The Empire Strikes Back movie program. I don’t think it’s too rare but the Ralph McQuarrie concept artwork inside is beautiful.

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Which Star Wars item has the most significance to you and why?

Wow, I think I have a story for each item I have. The figures I received to start my own collection always hold a special place in my heart. But if I had to pick one, I’d say my giant Millenium Falcon toy. I remember when my Dad brought me to Toys “R” Us on my birthday for a little mini shopping spree. I was able to pick out anything. I grabbed a few figures, but he convinced me to grab the grandaddy of them all, The Falcon.

What do you look for when adding Star Wars items to your collection?

Well, nowadays I can only buy so much. So now I try and purchase merchandise that can also be tastefully displayed. I recently started collecting the new line of Star Wars Comics released through Marvel with plans of framing a few issues. There’s also a new line of 6″ figures called The Black Series that look really awesome displayed. So pretty much anything that is visually appealing without getting too cluttered.

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Where do you go to find Star Wars items and what’s the unique way you’ve obtained an item?

It seems like you can pretty much find Star Wars stuff anywhere now. One of my most recent favorite purchases, the Black Series Prototype Boba Fett Figure, was a Walgreens exclusive. But mostly I’m taking trips to Forbidden Planet or Midtown Comics in NYC to pick up issues of the comics.

Where do you store or display your collection?

The bulk of my collection from my childhood is still in a series of boxes at my parents, until I have a more permanent residence and space to display it. The collection I have at my current apartment is pretty scaled down and is made up mostly of more recent purchases. So some 6″ figures, some comics, and a few of the Funko bobble heads.

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Any fun Star Wars stories?

Yea I have a bunch of fun Star Wars Stories…

A few years back I was drunkenly bidding on Ebay. I placed bids on 20-30 figures…maybe not expecting to win? I ended up winning about 10 of them and spent way more money than I should have.

I also went through a pretty heavy Yoda obsession back in elementary school. While watching The Empire Strikes Back once, I discovered that I could do a pretty spot on Yoda Impression…and I may have taken it too far. I took it with me everywhere I went, it was the only voice that came out of my mouth. When I heard they were doing the prequel films, I recorded myself on a cassette tape doing my best Yoda, and I sent that off to George Lucas. It even spread to 3-4 of my friends that also thought it was great idea to only talk like Yoda. I eventually got a phone call home to my parents from my teacher at the time who complained that I was only talking like Yoda, even when answering questions in class. And yes every now and then I’ll break it out of retirement.

Thanks Keith!

Keith Barker is a video producer and editor for CBS Interactive and Last.fm, as well as a freelance videographer and photographer (ed. note: and Chris’ best friend).

 
  • Seth Payne

    Great article. Rich and compelling.