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This Early Bird Certificate toy was added on July 2022 and originally released in 1977 with a retail price of $7.99. It may be harder to find this action figure as it's an exclusive to Mail. This action figure is part of the Star Wars genre within the Kenner Vintage Collection series. With an average selling price of $1,290.75, this toy is highly collectible as it's selling for 161x over its retail price and is trending up. Only 3 of these items are in user collections, but since it is a vintage item that is 46 years old, it may be harder to find.
In 1977, facing the holiday season without the ready-to-sell Star Wars action figures, Kenner Products introduced the Early Bird Certificate Package, an ingenious stopgap solution that offered consumers a rain check of sorts. Customers would receive a package containing a display stand, stickers, a membership card for the Star Wars fan club, and a special certificate. This certificate could be mailed to Kenner to claim four of the first action figures—Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and R2-D2—when they became available, slated for delivery between February and June of 1978.
The Early Bird kit was marketed as a pre-order, and while it might have been a disappointment for kids expecting toys under the Christmas tree, it became a promise of toys to come, complete with Star Wars branding and the excitement of membership in a fan community. As a unique marketing tactic directly linked to the Star Wars craze, these packages have since become rare collectibles, particularly those that remain unopened and with the certificate un-redeemed.
This early foray into pre-orders by Kenner not only salvaged a potential loss in sales during the crucial holiday period but also paved the way for the pre-order culture that prevails in the collectibles market today. Furthermore, it helped establish Star Wars as a cornerstone of the action figure industry, showcasing a business savvy that capitalized on fan excitement and willingness to wait for the beloved characters to become tangible toys.