If you’re looking for a handy all-in-one vintage Star Wars trading cards price guide, I have some bad news for you … it doesn’t exist!
Well, that may be a little strong … what I should have said is, there is no single, static source of pricing information for Star Wars cards that will meet all your needs.
Sure, there are guides like the Beckett Non-Sport Almanac (affiliate links), and they’re great for getting a handle on what sort of cards are out there.
But current values? Even in the less volatile vintage non-sports market, prices can go stale fast.
So what’s a guy to do when he’s trying to figure out the value of his Star Wars cards?
Luckily, there is plenty of information available to us online, and we can use that intel to build a DIY price guide any time we want.
Let’s start with a little about the cards themselves and then melt into the pricing.
1977 Topps Star Wars
Unlike with baseball cards, Topps never really had a monopoly on the non-sports card market. In fact, both Fleer and Donruss, who would eventually crash Topps’ baseball party (in 1981) issued cards featuring TV characters, movie stars, and famous musicians in the 1950s and 1960s.
But when Star Wars hit theatres in 1977, it was that old favorite — Topps — who partnered with 20th Century Fox to issue the official trading cards of a galaxy far, far away.
And, even though they had jettisoned the idea of issuing baseball cards in series starting in 1974, opting instead to dump their whole yearly set at once, Topps fell back on the time-honored concept when it came to immortalizing Luke and his contemporaries on cardboard.
In particular, Topps issued five series of Star Wars cards in 1977, each featuring 66 cards.
Basically, you can tell the series apart by the color of their borders:
- Series 1 (cards #1-66): Blue
- Series 2 (#67-132): Red
- Series 3 (#133-198): Yellow
- Series 4 (#199-264): Green
- Series 5 (#265-330): Orange (or brown)
If you check out the PSA Sports Market Report (SMR) Price Guide, you’ll see that most cards from the five series generally sell for around $6 in PSA 8 condition (NM-MT), $15-20 in PSA 9 (Mint), and $75 or more in perfect GEM-MT (PSA 10) shape.
As you might expect, though, several cards do pull in premiums, including (values shown are for PSA 9 copies as listed in the SMR as of this writing):
- Luke Skywalker “rookie card” (#1) – $250
- Han Solo (#4) – $55
- Princess Leia (#5) – $75
- Darth Vader (#7) – $70
- May the Force Be With You (#63) – $300
- Lord Vader and a Soldier (#132) – $150
… and several others.
Of course, no other card can hold a candle to the C-3PO “obscenity” and subsequent correction on #207 when it comes to collector interest, overblown outrage, or market value.
Beckett did a good job of running down the story behind this card awhile back, so suffice it to say that our favorite anthropomorphic droid was really excited to be featured on this swath of cardboard when the set first came out.
As of this writing, SMR lists the, um, adult version of the card at $350 in PSA 9 and the clean version at $80 in the same condition.
Of course, as your dad probably told you at least once in your life — I know mine pounded it home a few times — anything is only “worth” what someone will pay you for it.
And, while the SMR is a great source of pricing information, you might also be interested to know how much Star Wars cards bring ungraded … right?
Luckily, eBay (and, to some extent, Amazon) can help us out on both fronts by letting us search through hundreds of lots for sale and that have sold in the recent past.
A quick perusal of listings for the original Topps Star Wars cards shows that …
(these listings contain affiliate links to eBay)
- Individual ungraded series sets sell for $25-$75 depending on condition and “extras” (check prices on eBay).
- It’s not too tough to find the complete 5-series set ungraded, with selling prices ranging from $120-$300, again depending on condition (check prices on eBay).
- Very occasionally, you’ll find PSA-graded series, such as this complete Series 1 that sold for more than $1800 in June 2018 on the strength of 44 bids and 65/66 cards in PSA 9.
- Single-series runs of the accompanying insert stickers (11 per series) sell for $15-20 ungraded (check prices on eBay).
- PSA 9 “commons” typically sell for $15-25 across the series (check prices on eBay).
- PSA 9 versions of the bigger cards, like Luke and “Happy” C-3PO, tend to bring in at least the listing price from SMR.
Of course, the market changes all the time, and the best way to know what a card — or set — is worth at any particular moment and in any particular condition is to track the most recent sales and listings.
They just may be the cards you’re looking for.
(Check back later for pricing on trading cards from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.)