Gifts Today magazine

Maped Helix stationery is still out of this world

Stationery firm one of first to have Star Wars merchandise back in the 70s.

In a time far far away, 1977 to be exact, George Lucas launched what would become the biggest franchise in the history of cinema.

Star Wars has taken more than $4.5bn in box office receipts since Luke Skywalker and his X-Wing flew onto the scene and with the seventh instalment gracing screens worldwide in December, Maped Helix have uncovered some of their historic products hiding in the depths of the Dagobah swamp.

Helix, now Maped Helix based in Kingswinford, were one of the first UK brands to swoop onto the market with Star Wars based products. Pencil cases, felt tip pens and rulers soon became intergalactic items. Even Darth Vader’s Death Star turned from spherical planet destroyer to a funky disco sharpener.

The products discovered by Maped Helix were in a galaxy-busting collection housed no further than a light-year away.

Craig Spivey, who is based in Leamington Spa, has built the collection over 38 years and is proud to be a part of the history of Helix and the largest Sci-Fi franchise ever.

"I’ve always been a massive fan. It’s great to house such rare products," he said. "I wanted to share them for people to view though; there is history in these products."

The Helix range included; pencils, coloured pencils, felt tip pens, rulers, two types of rubber, pencil sharpeners and geometry sets – branded with the Star Wars logo and"May The Force Be With You".

Craig has grown up with these products and remembers having them as a child: "The products were appealing to kids because they were bright and incorporated their favourite characters. There was even a chance to win a Star Wars School Set by collecting tokens from tins of Heinz Beans and Sausages."

Despite the influx of interest in the late 70s, many of the products would have Boba Fett searching high-and-low. Previous pocket money items favourable with the young Padawan’s and old Jedi Masters alike are now fetching hundreds of pounds on online auction sites. A recent auction saw a single felt tip with its pack and branded insert accumulate bids up to £280 while the full set sold for £487.

Mike Bird, Education Sales Manager and Yoda-in-chief at Maped Helix, said: "It may seem many moons ago but I was working at Helix when this happened! We went to the Harrogate Trade fair to launch it and we were bought back to Birmingham to see a sneak-peek of ‘A New Hope.’ The cinema we saw the film in is now Birmingham Children’s Hospital!’

Alongside Helix’s stationery Craig has a planet-sized collection. Collector Craig has original advertising and has managed to keep his treasured items in top condition with vivid colours and away from the hands of Sith Lords.

Craig added: "This is part of our culture. Sci-fi really took off in the seventies and it hasn’t looked back since. I’ve just accrued this collection over generations and am really excited for the new film."

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