By Resident Heirloom Expert Derek McGrievous
Lifelong Star Wars fan, 46-year old Bob Jango, from Harrogate, woke up one Sunday morning to find some of his prized Star Wars figures lying on the floor in his so-called ‘Collection Den’ – actually his converted garage – out of their original packaging and also lying near his son’s own toy figures. His son was staying the night, as per the deal he’d just struck with his former partner, for legal purposes. Once he’d finished punching and kicking holes in the garage door in anger, he made a beeline for the room where his son – Tarquin, or ‘Moff’ – was sleeping. ‘Moff’ was adamant that he hadn’t done the damage, couldn’t explain why his toys were there either. This ordeal leaves Mr Jango in a real sticky situation, as a bad run of gambling and the recent loss of his job meant that the intended but reluctant sale of his beloved figures will now yield much less money. I interviewed Mr Jango in his front room, after it was agreed that I bring him some wood and help fix the garage door.
TDJJ: “Mr Jango, let me just take this time to offer my apologies. I’ve also been in a situation when my kids have done similar things with my collection of boxed NES games. They were worth loads. I had told them they wouldn’t work on the Xbox One, but they never listen.”
BJ: “I just don’t understand it. The carded ones were on the top shelf in a louvre doored wall unit. I don’t think Moff would’ve been able to reach them, let alone pick the lock to the unit, but I found a bent paper clip on the floor. I put them back as carefully as I could, got a new lock for the unit. There’s no signs of forced entry on any of the outside doors. It’s a real mystery.”
TDJJ: “Did ‘Moff’ ever play with any of your collection in there?”
BJ: “No, he’s not really bothered with Star Wars. I wouldn’t trust him anyway, certainly not with the rare ones. He’s more interested in modern stuff. He’s recently got into Toy Story, I got him Buzz, Woody and some others for Christmas. And WWE, though I’m not keen on the new figures, I much prefer the Hasbro WWF line from ‘90 – ‘94. I guess that’s because I grew up with them, but I love the relative simplicity of the designs.”
TDJJ: “Have you estimated the loss on the valuation of these figures?”
BJ: “There’s EV-9D9, for example, from the Last 17 line from ‘85. I would’ve got over a grand easy for the condition she was in. I’d be lucky to get a third of that now. And there’s Blue Snaggletooth. He was my most valuable, rare as unicorn shit, got him boxed from America about 20 years ago. I’d still get a few hundred, but all this won’t be enough to cover the losses on the horses or bills and rent. Or keep local debt collector Volatile Vitali off my back. There’s a lot of others as well, I’m probably running into a few thousand in losses as a rough estimate.”
TDJJ: “I’m guessing you wouldn’t get any help from your former partner?”
BJ: “Ooh, no. Definitely not an option. She met someone else, someone who’s not got such an impulsive side. I know I have an addictive personality, it’s been diagnosed. I just love Star Wars and gambling, and her mum, it’s just how it is.”
TDJJ: “So, going back to that fateful morning, how do you think his Toy Story stuff got in there? Did you hear ‘Moff’ get up the night before for any reason?”
BJ: “No, he’s a heavy sleeper. Even the dog doesn’t wake him up when he starts barking. Hux was barking downstairs quite a bit that night, but I put it down to the noisy neighbours. He’s banging her most nights. It sounds like they do it in the kitchen which is a bit weird. A lot of pressure on the knees I’m guessing. I swore I could hear some hushed whispering that morning, coming from the garage when I was making some toast in the kitchen. I checked it out, and that’s when I found several dozen of my figures mixed with his on the floor.”
TDJJ: “And what’s your next step in terms of sorting out your finances?”
BJ: “I’m gonna see what I can do with what’s left of the packaging, put the figures on eBay regardless. I’ve got a job interview at a kebab shop on Wednesday–”
Mr Jango and I both heard what sounded like one of the planks of wood fall down in the garage. He went to investigate and came rushing back after a few seconds.
BJ: “They’ve all gone! What the fuck’s going on?! What am I gonna do?”
I ended the interview there and agreed to help him spend the next few hours fruitlessly searching the house and its surroundings for the missing toys.