Star Wars for Life
Along time ago in a galaxy far, far away a three year old little boy named Ben was wandering through a department store with his parents. His mom wanted to put a smile on his face so she reached up, pulled a R2-D2 toy off of the shelves, and bought it for him as a gift. It probably seemed like nothing more than just another item to keep track of in an overcrowded toy room, but instead it became a source of inspiration for young Ben AbuSaada as his passion for the movie Star Wars instantly flared up faster than Darth Vader’s lightsaber. “That little R2-D2 is my most precious toy. As a kid I had it in the bathtub, in creeks, in river beds and every day I kept it in my pocket when I went to school.” Ben said. “The sticker wore off years ago and it has no monetary value right now but it means everything to me because it reminds me of growing up and my love for Star Wars.” Since that day in the department store Star Wars has become a large part of Ben’s life, frequently driving his imagination back into the world of Luke Skywalker and inspiring him to learn what it takes to build a successful Star Wars collection that he can now share with other collectors around the world.
As a kid, Ben’s goal wasn’t to collect; he simply was in love with the Star Wars story. Sure his family members would buy him occasional toys but his mind was on an imaginary adventure fighting the Empire. “I was really drawn to the goodness of Luke.” said AbuSaada. “I saw a young man that was really a nobody and he became a somebody by achieving something tremendous. That really spoke to me and told me that anyone can achieve something spectacular.” Driven by Luke Skywalker’s journey, Ben started to have his own desire to build the biggest Star Wars collection he could imagine.
Year after year, AbuSaada’s collection grew. Whether it was the Hasbro 3 ¾-inch Star Wars action figures or the more recent Black Series 6-inch figure line, Ben learned about two great emotions that go with collecting; the first being the thrill of the hunt. “Growing up, I used to go from store to store looking for everything. I love the thrill of the treasure hunt and while today it’s a lot easier to find things online, I still like to challenge myself to find what I want in person.” said Ben. And the second emotion being the satisfaction that comes with completing a set. “When you finally get the last piece to your set, it gives you such joy because your mission has been accomplished and now you can display it and share it with everyone.”
In addition to the emotions that come with collecting, AbuSaada developed his own mindset when it comes to building his collection. It’s a mindset that starts with meeting other collectors in every way possible. “I enjoy community. That’s the best way to be a collector because you can benefit from meeting people.” continued Ben. “Whether it’s on a website like Boxes or somewhere else, you can really learn so much about their story and collection.”
Being a Star Wars collector has its challenges though. One of them is new toys and figurines are released all the time so Ben also lists being focused as a major key to his success. “You have to focus on exactly what you want and don’t try to collect everything.” said AbuSaada. “Be very narrow in your search or you’ll get distracted and waste a lot of your money.
Finally, the last part of Ben’s positive mindset for collecting involves being patient. Not just taking your time during your search but also knowing when not to spend your money. “There are times when Star Wars items are hot and then there are dry seasons.” Ben said. “When you know that a movie is coming out in a few months, save your money now so that you have it when the new releases come out.”
AbuSaada’s collection now has over 1,000 items but like most collectors, there are items that he still longs for. Ben’s missing a few of the Empire Strikes Back Burger King glasses from 1980 and he’s in search of the original lunch boxes from both the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi from 1977, 1980 and 1983. But rather than looking at those items as voids, he sees them as part of his motivation to continue doing what he loves the most; collecting keepsakes and toys from a movie that’s become a part of who he was, who he is, and who he still strives to be.