Book Review: ‘Star Wars Memorabilia: An Unofficial Guide to Star Wars Collectables’ by Paul Berry

Book Review: ‘Star Wars Memorabilia: An Unofficial Guide to Star Wars Collectables’ by Paul Berry

Star Wars Memorabilia: An Unofficial Guide to Star Wars Collectables by Paul Berry is a concise, but incredibly thorough look at Star Wars collecting through the years — from the release of the first novelization way back in 1976, to the modern era. It’s concise because it focusses in on the more timeless areas of collecting, such as action figures, trading cards, and comic books. You’re not going to find Funko Pops! or LEGO covered in this book. And that’s okay! The classics will always be what fans and collectors return to, as they’ve been doing for the last 40+ years.

Star Wars Memorabilia is divided up into seven chapters:

  1. Action Figures, Vehicles, and Playsets
  2. Toys, Models, and Games
  3. Collectibles
  4. Books
  5. Comics and Magazines
  6. Trading Cards and Stickers
  7. Home Entertainment

The book is a UK publication, so some of the focus is from a British perspective. However, most items were marketed to both sides of the pond, so US readers will find themselves familiar with the majority of the collectibles featured.

Inside, you get a history of how companies like Kenner, Topps, and Marvel came on board with Star Wars in the early days when creating toy lines and comics and trading cards for films wasn’t commonplace. Star Wars was a hard sell in some areas, but companies who had the necessary foresight saw their gamble pay off in exciting ways.

Author Paul Berry has an engaging writing style, and even if collecting isn’t in your wheelhouse, you’ll enjoy taking a trip down memory lane. If you’re of a certain age, the images included will have you saying, “I remember that!” or “I had that!” You might even be lucky enough to still have a few of those items (I know I do!).

Here are just some of the excellent images included in Star Wars Memorabilia:

You’ll be surprised at all the items you forgot about over the years. So much has been released since 1977, it’s impossible to document everything. This book is a good start, however. If you’re seeking to re-acquire some of the toys of your youth, or you’ve been bitten by the collecting bug, this is a great resource for getting an idea of what’s out there.

It should be noted, however, this is not a price guide. Value is not discussed, aside from in the most general terms.

Berry doesn’t just discuss the toys kids have played with over the years, he also covers some of the more high-end items geared specifically to the more serious collector. Figures, busts, models, prop replicas, and more from Gentle Giant, Sideshow Collectibles, Master Replicas, etc. While that type of collecting wasn’t really on the minds of most people during the time of the original trilogy, it certainly has become prevalent in recent years.

The history of Star Wars in comic form is traced from the early days at Marvel, through the successful run at Dark Horse, and back to Marvel after the Disney acquisition. After the darkness of the wilderness years, Star Wars roared back in the early 1990s with Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn and the Expanded Universe took off. Star Wars publishing is easily one of my favorite chapters in this book — From Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, to The Han Solo Trilogy by Brian Daley, the various ‘Making Of’ books, and onward to the newest canonical releases.

Younger fans probably have a hard time grasping the idea that Star Wars was not readily available to watch in the comfort of your home till the early — mid 1980s. Star Wars Memorabilia looks back at the old VHS editions of the original trilogy, on through the laserdisc releases, to the Special Editions, and into the modern era. Vinyl records may be making a comeback, but there was a time it was one of the few ways older fans got their Star Wars fix.

I could go on, because this book brought back so many memories, but suffice to say there is a lot of nostalgia in Star Wars Memorabilia — but there is also solid information useful to anyone with even a passing interest in Star Wars collecting. Highly recommended!

You can purchase your copy of Star Wars Memorabilia: An Unofficial Guide to Star Wars Collectables here.

Thank you to Amberley Publishing for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.

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