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Think of Tom Derby, owner of Collectible Investment Brokerage in Norcross, Ga., as the toy industry’s Merrill Lynch. “If you focus only on the rarest and highest-grade items,” he says, “I expect they will continue to rise in value for years to come.” Derby walked us through some of the most valuable collectibles — but it’s still hard to justify why a grown man would pay $200,000 for a doll.

Darth Vader costume
$300,000-$400,000

Top dollar goes for a “screen-used” costume. However, even a “touring costume” — the kinds used at conventions like Comi-Con — could sell for $70,000-$80,000.

1963 G.I. Joe prototype
$200,000

Sold in 2003 by the doll’s designer, Don Levine, to Stephen Geppi, owner of Diamond Comics Distributors.

“Star Wars” Boba Fett set
$185,000

A complete set of nine Boba Fett dolls, including all stages of the prototype.

“The Empire Strikes Back” dolls
$120,000

A complete set of 11 dolls, three of which never made it into production.

“Star Wars” Boba Fett
$50,000 (on a card backing; one in existence)

This is the original model, which has a rocket that fires out of his back. The rocket mechanism was killed when children choked on a similar element in a “Battlestar Galactica” toy.

Transformers
$5,000-$6,000

Applies to an Optimus Prime or Megatron in pristine condtion, as judged by the CGA