Geek Culture

Culture Cartel 2019: Rare Sighting of Singapore Star Wars Vintage Toy Showcase

Over the past four decades, Star Wars has accumulated a huge number of fans, many of whom show their love for the series through fan arts, fan-made videos, and beautiful cosplay.

Two such fans of the series are Derek Ho, 47, and Mark Yeo, 44, who show their love instead with their huge collection of Star Wars Vintage toys by Kenner, with some as old as 1978, just a year after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope.

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From left: Derrek Ho, Mark Yeo.

The pair, who have been collecting Star Wars vintage toys since 2002, together with a few other collectors of vintage Star Wars toys have decided to showcase their collection here at Culture Cartel 2019, as a favour for their friend Jeffrey Koh, founder of FLABSLAB.

“[Jeffrey] suggested that in Singapore we have all these rare items that maybe many people do not expect Singaporean collectors to have,” said Derek. “We have such a small population in relation to the global community of Star Wars collectors. We have all these items but we’re basically only sharing it amongst ourselves.”

He added, “Jeffrey was also saying that we do not showcase these items often enough, so he suggested Culture Cartel as a place for us to showcase so we decided, okay let’s do it!”

Through the showcase, they hope to give Singaporeans a glimpse as to how passionate local fans can be.

“This is the first time that we actually brought together a lot of our items in one place,” said Mark, a lawyer by trade, when asked about the group’s reason for choosing to showcase their collection at Culture Cartel 2019. “It’s one thing to have it in the house on display but for better or for worse, you will still get bored of it after a while.”

“[Culture Cartel] is a good opportunity for us to display our items the way we would have wanted to display it at home but can’t due to space constraints.”

With how rare and priceless some of the items they have in their showcase can be, it might be difficult looking for just one to save in the event of a purely hypothetical fire. The pair were certainly hesitant to name just one item when asked which they will choose to save.

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But for Derek, he ultimately chose to save the Singapore exclusive Star Wars figurines which are not just vintage, but also exclusive only to Singapore with price tags from departmental stores in Singapore such as Metro and Tangs, with stickers on the packaging asking fans to mail their letters to the Star Wars Fan Club in Pasir Panjang to receive exclusive Star Wars gifts.

“When you see this item, you’ll know that this was sold in Singapore. These are extremely rare and uniquely Singaporean. So people overseas want them but they will never get the chance because we hoard them aggressively,” said Derek with a laugh.

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Meanwhile, for Mark, he ended up going with his box from Japan filled with 36 R2-D2s.

“There are some [R2-D2] boxes that are available, I’ve seen them. But I’ve not seen a full, completed one,” said Mark.

Some of the toys they will be showcasing include a special 7 figurine set which is supposedly the rarest item in the entire showcase, and several proof cards that were never released, due to the studio’s decision to change the movie’s name from “Revenge of the Jedi” to “Return of the Jedi”.

According to Derek, one of the oldest items the group has decided to include in their showcase is the aforementioned 1978 toy, where customers were made to fill up a form and mail it in, and in return, they will receive a mail containing four different Star Wars figurines.

Derek and Mark, along with a few of their other friends have truly accumulated quite an impressive collection over the years, giving a lot of their money and time as a show of their love for the series.

If you wish to see some of these rare and vintage Star Wars toys for yourself, then be sure to head on down to Culture Cartel 2019 at the F1 Pit Building from December 7 – 8, 2019.


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