May 092012
 

Who doesn’t love a good Star Wars collection?!  I recently met Thomas Harper and was able to tour his private collection.  Best part is, unlike many collectors who squirrel their treasures away in closets and boxes, Thomas has dedicated the time and space within his home to display his entire collection.  Plus, he was kind enough to let me photograph it and to answer some questions.

 

VGM:  You have a ton of great Vader stuff!  Why Darth Vader?

Thomas:  I always liked the villains as a kid.  Seeing Vader just come into battle was awesome…seriously bad ass!  I’ve got a bunch of Boba Fett stuff for pretty much the same reason.

 

VGM:  I have to hand it to you for getting your collection displayed.  You must move a lot for the military.  That can’t be easy for a collector, is it?

Thomas:  Setting it all up is a ton of work, and the small stuff is absolutely maddening.  It’s so hard to find a place for everything.

 

VGM:  How’d you get into collecting Star Wars stuff?

Thomas:  My dad was a comic book art collector.  He definitely helped get me into it.

 

VGM: With most of your toys being from the 90s, have you ever thought about collecting the older ones as well?

Thomas:  I get asked all the time, why don’t you do the vintage stuff?  It’s a cost thing.  If I got into that, the cost would go way up.

 

VGM:  What are you collecting now?

Thomas: I’ve hit the end of most of my figure collection. Now I’m going for autographs. They’re all personalized to me, so I know that they’re not worth much.  It’s great to go to a convention and get autographs. It feels like a good accomplishment, and it’s easy to take back.  At one convention I forgot that I had to mail out a big item, took a taxi and got to UPS a second before it closed. I spent $40 shipping the figure, and that’s about what I paid for it.  I think it was a Micro Machines Death Star in Fort Wayne. It was nuts, I had to take a cab, mail the package, and catch a flight in less 2 hours.

 

VGM:  While getting autographs, who was your favorite person to meet?

Thomas:  I was just about to deploy to Iraq, and I got to talk to Mark Hammel. I mentioned that I was going to Iraq, and he said something like, “I’m glad you’re not going to Afghanistan–where the empire goes to die.”  When I mentioned the Iraq deployment to a tipsy Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Lando replied in a slurred but concerned tone, “That’s terrible man. That’s terrible.”

 

VGM:  How does collecting Star Wars work out for you in dating?  Has that ever worked in your favor?

Thomas:  At this point, I’ve realized that I just need to put it out there. If she’s not going to be ok with it, then it’s not going to work out anyway.

VGM:  From one collector to another, I’m with you on that one.

 

VGM:  Lots of collectors collect all sorts of items.  Do you collect anything besides Star Wars?

Thomas:  I’ve been thinking about collecting NES stuff.

VGM:  Good man…  Incredible Star Wars collection!  Thanks so much for the tour!  Oh yeah, and if your rancor goes missing, I swear it wasn’t me.

Have any followup questions or comments for Thomas Harper?  Feel free to leave one below in the comments section.  In the meantime, feast your eyes on these pretties…