Causing quite the stir among high-end minifigure collectors when it appeared on eBay earlier this week, word of an auction for an incredibly rare George Lucas minifigure spread like wildfire through the LEGO Star Wars collecting community.
Starting at a whopping $16,000 – and sporting a Buy It Now price of $32,000 – it is far out of reach for most collectors but thankfully its authenticity has been debunked.
Although the description provided by the seller as “Mint prototype none on eBay real Lego 1 in 75. Obtained 11 years ago at SDCC. Top Quality only Extremely rare.” is partially true of a genuine George Lucas minifigure, experts were quick to note it displays key differences to certified originals, and is a custom-made replica.
Key to the minifigure’s decloaking is the face; while the real George Lucas minifigure is made up of commonly available torso and leg elements, and a less common hair piece that can be sourced on Bricklink, the print on the head element is unique to one run that the LEGO factory in Billund produced in 2007.
A close look at the eyes of the original shows that the eyelid line on the eyes have different angles, while the eyes on the one being auctioned are discrepant to the real one, the true minifigure’s eyebrows are blockier in the center and taper to the sides and the custom’s are more arched. Similarly, the mustache on the one produced by LEGO was printed in two tones of gray and has a number of peaks but the custom minifigure has a smooth profile.
Fact-checking the seller’s claims that “75 were given out in SDCC 2010“, those in the know point out that the minifigure has never been made available at San Diego Comic-Con. And even though it is true that a small number were presented as gifts to a select number of LEGO Star Wars fans they were never distributed liberally, as the seller suggests.
The origin of this minifigure began in 2007 when LEGO ran a print ad congratulating Lucas for 20 years of licensed Star Wars merchandise. It remained unnoticed until the publication of LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary in 2009, where – on page 89 in Chapter 4: Beyond the Brick – it was casually posed for a photograph. Even then the minifigure didn’t make waves until its existence was reported by FBTB.net after its first public appearance at a fan display at the Star Wars Weekend event held at LEGOLAND California in 2010.
Investigating further, The Holo-Brick Archives has had it confirmed by LEGO that the last remaining samples – “a bagful” – are kept under close guard in a certain LEGO employee’s office desk drawer in Billund and are still only given out on special occasions.
The truth behind this example was, with the minimum amount of research, easy to determine: it is a reproduction made by Christo (aka CAB Custom Design Technologies/Custom Bricks & Minifigs), a customizer from South Africa who produced a small run of close-but-not-quite-perfect replicas in 2010/2011. His early adoption of machine printing, instead of using water transferable decals which were common at the time, made him stand out and his work had an avid following back when customizing minifigures wasn’t as contentious as it is today.
We reached out to Christo, who is still active in the community, and he has confirmed it is one he made and added that he never distributed any of his minifigures at San Diego Comic-Con either.
Whatever the motivation of the eBay seller is, don’t be duped because this minifigure – without a shadow of a doubt – is not real.
Fervent documentarian, effusive AFOL and founding partner, Jeremy manages the daily news content and set reviews.
Having enjoyed playing with LEGO from his earliest years, Jeremy started collecting LEGO Star Wars in 1999 when the theme was first released. He has shared his thoughts and opinions on LEGO via a number of websites – including starwars.com, rebelscum.com and brickset.com – contributed to the LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary series and served the LEGO Ambassador Network as a Recognised LEGO Fan Media representative.