Surprise proto discovered in the Protocol-osseum!

by Bill Cable
on 2021-09-15, 07:23:47

Over Labor Day weekend I had the occasion to welcome some collectors over to my house to view my collection (and drink way, WAY less beer than I anticipated).  I had spent the previous month off-and-on cleaning and rearranging things so the collection room would be tip-top for the guests.  So I'm in the room with a several guests (tried to keep it below 4 people in the room at once... distancing plus the room isn't that big to begin with), when Will Grief throws a compliment my way...  "That's a nice prototype 3PO carrying case you have there!"

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I was confused and I replied, "I don't have any prototype cases... I just have that regular one over there."  And he's like, "That's a prototype case.  It's missing the eye detail and the little nob on the top of the head."

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So now here's where I reveal my staggering ignorance to all of my readers.  Even as a C-3PO focus collector, I've never had any love for the carrying case.  Every time one of those cream-colored protos gets posted on Deal of No Deal, people tag me and I have to reply that I'm not interested.  And there's a bunch of reasons for this.  First off, even though I'm sure I had the Vader case when I was a kid and maybe even had the 3PO, it really doesn't hold any nostalgia for me.  Second, the things are WAY TOO BIG to fit a bunch of them in my room.  Third, their prices are just obscene.  And fourth, I've seen Gus' complete run of proto cases in person, and it's just impossible to hold a candle to that.  

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Being uninterested in the prototype cases, I've never put any effort into learning anything about them.  All I know I know from a brief perusing of Gus' set.  There are creamy ones and yellow ones and gold-chrome test Vaders and that's about it.  Otherwise, I know nothing.

Or rather, I knew nothing.

Will hits me with this bombshell.  Now I know all about the lack of eye detail and the little post at the top of the head!  I'm a newly-minted expert on those factoids!

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It just so happened that Gus Lopez was also at my place at the time, and he popped back into the room and verified Will's assessment.  On top of that, Gus shared that he's only ever seen one other case that's sealed in cellophane like mine.  He owns that other.  Ignorant me, I thought they were sold at retail wrapped up like that, and for years I've been half-assedly looking for a cardboard sleeve to complete my case.

The worst part of the whole story - I have zero recollection where I got this thing.  I want to say I came home with it after Star Wars Celebration, maybe.  There's a tickle in the back of my brain saying it was a gift.  But I just have no idea.  I've owned it since the early 2000s.  I know it travelled with me when I moved back to Pittsburgh.  Other than that though, for all I know it magically appeared in my collection one day.  I feel kinda bad about this, since there's gotta be someone somewhere who got this to me.

But I can't feel too bad, though!  What I thought was an incomplete $100 production case turned into a prototype case worth thousands of dollars!  And it turns out yeah, maybe I do like the carrying cases after all.  I'm just lucky I never decided to offload the thing, or "upgrade" to a complete one to replace it.  Every once in a while being indifferent and lazy pays off!





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