Steve Sansweet: The Force Is Right
Our Meet the Expert has been called the ultimate Star Wars fanboy! Steve Sansweet was a Wall Street Journal reporter when he began his collection of Star Wars relics by fishing out the film's marketing booklet from his colleague's trash. From that fateful dumpster diving display, Sansweet has since worked as Head of Relations at LucasFilms, authored 17 books on Star Wars, and now hosts the largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia. He owns an estimated 300,000 unique items (350,000 at the height of the new Star Wars series) at his non-profit museum, Rancho Obi-Wan in northern California.
Sansweet leads extensive four-hour tours, ranging from a library with books in 34 languages, to bootleg items alongside licensed products, to actual memorabilia from the production, like a Yoda from the original mold of The Empire Strikes Back.
When asked how he feels when people do not keep their merchandise in mint condition, Sansweet encouraged, "Good for you, you had fun playing with them!" Sansweet told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, "I rip open many packages and play with many toys, because that's the fun part of it."
For his Meet the Expert game, we ask a contestant to guess which of two items (one a piece of Star Wars memorabilia) sold on eBay for more money — and Sansweet tells us why the Star Wars item sold for more, or should have anyway.
On finding items in unlikely places
"That was the first time I went dumpster diving for Star Wars...but not the last," Sansweet tells Eisenberg.
"When's the last time you dived in a dumpster?"
"Well, anybody need 500 Episode II posters?"
On who shot first
Well, despite a certain filmmaker who has recently insisted that it was a green-skinned alien...clearly Han Solo shot first.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.