Visit to Rancho Obi-Wan
by Brian Curran and David Yeh on April 12, 2012
Nestled north of San Francisco in Sonoma County lies a world many Star Wars fans only dream of having: a place where Star Wars collectibles is priority #1. This dream is a reality for Steve Sansweet, author of 14 Star Wars books, who has amassed the world’s largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia in this known universe. Sansweet dubbed his 9,000 square feet of property RANCHO OBI-WAN and it is home to 35 years of Star Wars merchandise, props, displays, costumes, models, toys from all over the world. Steve was gracious enough to take us on a little tour of the recently renovated property and we’re excited to offer our readers just a sample of what you can find there.
Read on as we will also tell you how you can help Steve with his collecting Empire and we’ll tell you a few ways you can see RANCHO OBI-WAN in person!
It is no secret that Steve Sansweet begun his collection since before Star Wars Episode IV was even released in May of 1977 but what’s really impressive here is just how many items he was able to acquire in the last 35 years! The collection is estimated to contain over 200,000 items and with no signs of slowing. From trading cards and posters, all are properly catalogued near The Library, which contains books from 37 countries in 34 languages… including Braille.
Star Wars “Birthday Poster” signed by George Lucas
After browsing the restroom and the collection of toothpaste and shampoo, we are lead down a corridor flanked with Return of the Jedi theatrical posters. A door is opened and you can literally hear the music of John Williams as you gaze upon the museum space below. Front and center is a life size Darth Vader. Behind it, shelves as far as the eye can see loaded with collectibles. From vintage Kenner toys, to bootleg knock-offs, to just about anything you can imagine. There’s guitars, a full size animatronic Cantina Band from FAO Schwarz, Gentle Giant mini-busts, plush toys, prototypes, pencil toppers, crotches of bounty hunters, autographs… it goes on and on!
The animatronic Cantina Band were once part of FAO Las Vegas. Note the door behind them is the actual door from Mos Eisleys cantina.
Most of Darth Vaders costume was screen used
Lord Vader and Steve
When you reach what you think is the end of the road, then think again. A curtain opens to reveal a recreation of the Tantive IV Corridor from Star Wars Episode IV, built for Celebration IV by a group ofBuilders and then reconstructed at RANCHO OBI-WAN. After Steve performs a few Jedi Mind Tricks, our tour continues. If you weren’t geeked out already, here is where you’ll find the Arcade that houses pinball and original Atari games. There’s even a few gaming machines from Germany and Japan.
In the Art Gallery are several fan-created pieces such as the “Vader Project” helmets. The ones here were the few that Steve was able to win. There’s custom designed snowboards and other fantastic paintings as well.
Blu Ray display from San Diego Comic Con
Of course we’re only beginning to scratch the surface. It wouldn’t be proper to show you EVERYTHING there is to be seen at RANCHO OBI-WAN, nor would it even be possible to do THAT! But stay tuned to Part 2 of our tour as we take a closer look at some hard to come by Star Tours collectibles that Steve has in his collection.
For more information about RANCHO OBI-WAN, please visit http://www.ranchoobiwan.org . It is a non-profit organization that can use your help and support. Information on how to donate and tour the facilities can also be found through that link.
Thanks to Steve, Consetta & Anne.