The Star Wars films have inspired collectors of memorabilia in a way that few other movie franchises have achieved.
It therefore takes something special for one individual to be named as having the world’s largest collection of memorabilia related to the series.
The super fan who is currently able to lay claim to that title is Steve Sansweet, a journalist and author, and president of Rancho Obi-Wan, a non-profit museum in Petaluma, northern California that houses his collection of an estimated 300,000 unique Star Wars items.
The collection contains outfits and props from the films, a full complement of the original action figures, plus an arcade full of Star Wars video games and pinball machines.
Only 90,546 items from his collection have been accurately audited and catalogued at the former chicken ranch – a number sufficient enough, however, to beat the previous Guinness World Records figure by a factor of three. Steve estimates that the cataloguing process will take years to complete, as his collection continues to grow.
Steve’s collection really began to take shape in 1996, when, after a 28-year stint at the Wall Street Journal, he turned his love of the Star Wars saga into a new career and became Director of Specialty Marketing at Lucasfilm Ltd.
His title later changed to Director of Content Management and head of Fan Relations, with Steve acting as Lucasfilm's liaison to fans worldwide.
Steve held the role for 15 years before retiring in 2010, however he still maintains an active role in the Star Wars fan community and continues to advise the company on its interaction with fans.
The 68-year-old has eighteen books to his credit, sixteen of them on Star Wars, including the 1.2 million word Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia in 2008 and 2012's Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection.