The 10179 model was first released in 2007 and retailed for around $500 in the US. The Millennium Falcon first flew on to cinema screens in 1977 in Star Wars and then returned in The Empire Strikes Back, 1980, Return of the Jedi, 1983 and The Force Awakens, 2015In 1999, Lego secured a 10 year agreement to licence Star Wars merchandise, which was extended with Lucasfilm Ltd in 2011 and 2016.

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Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca lead the Millennium Falcon on its missions, including its first appearance transports Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO, and R2-D2 from Tatooine to Alderaan.

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blog.php-52 Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) on board the Millennium Falcon

Although models of the Millennium Falcon had been released prior to the 10179 model, the 2007 Lego version has proved the most popular with collectors. It is one of the largest Lego models ever released on the market, weighing in at 11 kg and made up of 5197 individual parts with a dimension of 84 x 56 x 21 cm. The original packaging stated the piece was the "ultimate Millennium Falcon for collectors.''

No surprise then that when the piece hit the auction block from August 25 to September 1, 2017, 22 bidders fought for the coveted spacecraft. The final bid came in at $5 600 (€4 400) an incredible increase from the 2007 retail price of $500.

Catawiki's toys and video games expert Diana van der Valk, commented: "This extremely rare auction piece in unopened original packaging and pristine condition sold for €4 400, there has been an annual increase in the average prices for Lego sets by about 12% since 2000. Lego products represent a better investment opportunity, according to various expert opinions, than, for, example gold stocks. "

"Unopened original packaging" are music to a collector's ears. In June 2015, another 10179 model was sold at Catawiki for €4 700. A 10179 model which went to auction last week at Catawiki sold for €2 400, as, although the set ws intact and unused, the packaging had been opened.

When it comes to toy collecting, remember these two rules:

1. Never open the packaging

2. Again, even if you're tempted, never open the packaging!

See here for more information on selling with Catawiki.

Check out Catawiki's catalogs on Barnebys here.

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