A note from Steve Sansweet

Dear fellow Star Wars fans and collectors,

I need to share some distressing news with you because I need your help.

In February we at Rancho Obi-Wan found out that we had been the victim of a major theft that surreptitiously took place over many months in late 2015 through 2016.

There were more than 100 valuable items stolen, the majority of them vintage U.S. and foreign carded action figures, many of them rare and important pieces. Most have either been resold or professionally appraised for a total of more than $200,000.

The theft came to light after Philip Wise, a good friend, major collector and owner of several Star Wars websites, posted news of the theft of his rare prototype rocket-firing Boba Fett action figure from his Texas warehouse. Zach Tann, a respected toy dealer and collector in Southern California, immediately notified Philip that he had purchased that figure from Carl Edward Cunningham, 45, a well-known Star Wars collector and R2-D2 builder from Marietta, Georgia.

Tann further told Philip that he previously had bought many other rare Star Wars collectibles from Carl and sent a detailed list. Philip said that he quickly concluded by the quantity and quality of items that they had likely been stolen from my collection here in Petaluma, California.

Tann is working closely with us and authorities to help recover and return as many of the stolen collectibles as possible. Without Zach Tann’s call to Philip, which came despite great potential personal financial exposure to himself, we might still not know of the theft or its extent.

Carl surrendered on an arrest warrant from the Sonoma County, California Sheriff’s Department at the end of March and was charged with felony grand theft. He is currently free on bail with additional hearings in the case scheduled.

I have known Carl for many years, considered him a good and trusted friend, and played host to him at my home numerous times. I, and the staff at Rancho Obi-Wan, are devastated that he is the alleged perpetrator of the thefts. Not only have important items been stolen from the collection, but also our time, energy and ability to trust unconditionally have taken a blow.

If you have any information about Carl Cunningham’s activities or items that he has sold please write to tips@ranchoobiwan.org. If you think you may have purchased a stolen item, please be patient while we work through this process. It is our goal to resolve this situation as quickly as possible and to continue to use the collection at Rancho Obi-Wan to “Inspire through the Force” despite the destruction caused by one person.

Thank you for your help,
Steve Sansweet
Rancho Obi-Wan

This is a LIST OF ITEMS that hasn’t been accounted for. If you bought any of these, especially on eBay (user name: winterceltic) or through the Rebelscum.com forum in the last year from Carl Cunningham, please let us know at tips@ranchoobiwan.org
Harbert 12-Back C-3PO
Kenner 12-Back Han Solo (Large Head)
Kenner 20-back Jawa
Kenner 20-Back Death Squad Commander
Kenner 21-back Hammerhead
Kenner 21-Back Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot
Kenner 21-back R5-D4 SW card
Kenner 31-back R2-D2
Kenner 41-Back Stormtrooper
Kenner 41-Back-A Darth Vader
Kenner 47-back Luke Skywalker (Bespin) Brown hair
Kenner POTF Han Trench AFA 75+Y #11842094
Kenner POTF Ben Kenobi AFA 85Y #11190100
Kenner POTF Darth Vader AFA 85Y #11667777
Kenner POTF Chewbacca
Kenner Diecast Cloud Car Pilot
Kenner Diecast X-Wing
Kenner Canada Ewoks King Gorneesh AFA 75+ #17591428
Kenner Canada Ewoks Canadian Lady Urgah
Meccano 20-Back Jawa AFA 70Y #11973891
Palitoy 12-Back-B Death Squad Commander
Palitoy 12-Back Jawa (cloth cape)
Palitoy 12-Back-A Sand People
Palitoy 12-Back-B R2-D2 AFA 75 #14754625
Palitoy 12-Back-A C-3PO AFA 85 #11805509
Palitoy 12-Back-B Princess Leia AFA 80 #11810768
Palitoy 12-Back-B Stormtrooper AFA 85 #11860712
Palitoy 12-Back-A Han Solo AFA 85 #12889727
Palitoy 12-Back-B Darth Vader AFA 85 #11696213
Palitoy 20-Back Death Star Droid AFA 85 #19616463
Palitoy 20-Back Hammerhead AFA 85 #12519045
Palitoy 30-Back-A Hoth Trooper AFA 85 #11584683
Palitoy 65-back R2-D2 with Sensorscope
Palitoy Tri-Logo Imperial Dignitary AFA 75+ #19588540
Palitoy Tri-Logo Amanaman
Palitoy Tri-Logo Hammerhead
Palitoy Tri-Logo Luke Skywaker (brown hair)
Palitoy Tri-Logo Princess Leia Organa
Palitoy Tri-Logo Yak Face
Palitoy Diecast Tie Fighter
Takara Sticker 12-Back-B Ben Kenobi
Toltoys Death Star Spherical Cardboard Playset with Palitoy innards
LEGO Millenium Falcon #10179
LEGO Super Star Destroyer #10221
LEGO Rebel Snowspeeder #10129
LEGO Imperial Shuttle #10212
Goodbye party Gooney watch
Goodbye party Gooney yellow mug
Goodbye party Gooney hat
Multi-color K tie tac
Terminator Gooney mug
Raiders slide
Gooney hats x 4
Star Wars blue Fall flyer

501st Donates $12,410 to Rancho Obi-Wan

The 501st Legion, the 10,000-strong worldwide organization of “bad guys (and girls) doing good” has donated the largest single gift ever to Rancho Obi-Wan, the nonprofit 501(c)(3) museum that houses the Guinness World Records-certified largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia.

In making the donation, which came from fundraising at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 and was the same amount contributed to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the 501st said: “Please use the donation to continue spreading the wonder and excitement of the Star Wars universe, the art of collecting and the camaraderie that comes with sharing a passion.”

Rancho Obi-Wan became a nonprofit and started giving tours to the public in November, 2011. It will celebrate its sixth anniversary with a fundraising gala on Nov. 4, 2017.

Rancho’s purpose is to serve the public through the collection, conservation, exhibition and interpretation of Star Wars memorabilia and artifacts, using the collection to provide meaningful educational, aesthetic, intellectual and cultural experiences for a wide array of audiences and to carry out other charitable and educational activities associated with this goal.

Funds raised are used for insurance, utilities, professional services, maintenance on the buildings, and protection and preservation of the collection. None is used to acquire collectibles. Monies raised also enable Rancho Obi-Wan to perform public outreach to schools and other charitable organizations and to support community programs.

“We want to thank the 501st for this surprise and most generous gift, which we’ll use to further our goals and meet some pressing needs,” said Steve Sansweet, chairman, and Anne Neumann, vice president and curator. “The men and women of the 501st have always been huge supporters and volunteers at our events. We are thankful to call so many members friends.”

A Tremendous Thank You!!!

Thank you for your tremendous support and for sharing our posts and information on social media!

Together we raised more than $28,000 to help Rancho Obi-Wan in our spring fundraising campaign. Every dollar raised from 400+ donors and 20+ individual fundraisers supports our mission to inspire kids—and the kid in all of us—by sparking the imagination and creativity that makes Star Wars the worldwide phenomenon that it remains after nearly 40 years.

Your continuing support helps fund the operation of the museum including the preservation of collectibles and documentation for future generations, lets us give free educational tours to schools, allows us to donate tours to other charities for their own fundraisers, and helps support traveling exhibits of specially curated objects.
None of the funds raised goes to acquire or ship collectibles so we would also like to thank those who have recently donated pieces to the museum.

In the U.S., your donations are tax-deductible (check with your tax advisor), but the worldwide care and backing for our mission is priceless. This is our fifth year operating as a nonprofit and we continue booking tours and events, but we will always need your help to keep the lights on and our mission moving.
The Force is truly strong with you all!

Our best regards,

Steve Sansweet, CEO
Anne Neumann, General Manager
Our Board of Directors and Staff

^ Thank you note by Drawing Board Greeting Cards circa 1977

Inspiration for Every Generation

Last year’s build-up to The Force Awakens took us many places. We saw lots of old friends and met many new ones. Today we’d like to tell you all about what’s up this year–our fifth anniversary!

Thanks to your contributions and support, at the end of 2015 we added a large off-site working space to the museum.  We have hundreds of boxes to open and sort.  We will be sharing the treasures we find on social media, in the museum and in future books and exhibits.

We have also welcomed several part-time staff members. Our new head docent, bookkeeper and office assistant are enabling ROW to grow and find additional ways to inspire.

We have two collection installations that you can currently view:

  • “Eye of the Collector” at The Perot Museum in Dallas can be seen through Labor Day. Enjoy a sampling of the items found here at ROW as well as many other diverse collections like PEZ, Dallas Cowboys and fossils.
  • Copperfield’s in Petaluma has a small selection of unusual Star Wars books from ROW displayed in one window.

Our free school-tour program has tripled now that we have docents who are expanding our ability to serve the increasing number of young people embracing Star Wars fandom. We have recently inspired groups from local middle and high schools, universities, homeschoolers and continuing education programs.

Already this year, we have donated thousands of dollars in tours to other charities to help them raise money for schools, gardens, libraries, music, community radio, medicine, the homeless and those with disabilities.


Please partner with us to continue these endeavors as we use the collection at Rancho Obi-Wan to serve the public and inspire the world. Announcing our spring 2016 fundraiser:
Inspiration for Every Generation


INSPIRATION FOR EVERY GENERATION
DONATE NOW AT DONATE.RANCHOOBIWAN.ORG

You can join with Rancho Obi-Wan to fulfill its mission to inspire creativity for generations to come! Even a small donation helps fund:

  • the operation of the museum
  • the protection and documentation of the collection
  • free educational tours for schools
  • donated tours to other charities for their fundraisers
  • traveling exhibits of specially curated objects
  • and the future preservation of irreplaceable items from Star Wars history.

Every donation of $45 or more receives a one-year membership to Rancho Obi-Wan and a special thank you gift. This year’s membership patch features art by Daniel Bergren.

Rancho Recruiter continues–refer a friend or Become a Fundraiser with your own official Rancho Obi-Wan fundraiser page and share with your office, Facebook friends, or family.

New matching program!  Many corporations will match your contribution to Rancho Obi-Wan since we are an IRS-accepted nonprofit institution.  On the donation page check the box next to “Would you like your employer to match?” Do you want to challenge others by matching donations yourself?  Email Anne for more information.


FRIDAY, APRIL 29TH, 6-10PM PST
LIVE PODCAST FUNDRAISER @ WWW.RANCHOOBIWAN.ORG

Listen to a live podcast fundraiser to benefit Rancho Obi-Wan hosted by Jimmy “Mac” McInerney of Rebel Force Radio and Steve Sansweet.  Special guests from the Star Wars world and beyond will be coming to you direct from Rancho Obi-Wan in Petaluma, CA. You won’t want to miss the fun!

 
Rebel Force Radio is on Mixlr

Listen Live on Mixlr and www.rebelforceradio.com
Contribute at donate.ranchoobiwan.org starting today!

Submit questions for Jimmy Mac, Steve or anyone at ROW by April 27 10pm PST

TUESDAY, MAY 3RD, 5:30-8:30PM
“STAR WARS DAY: THE PREQUEL”
FUNDRAISER @ LAGUNITAS TAPROOM

1280 N. McDowell Blvd in Petaluma, CA. See Jabba the Hutt and costumed characters! This family-friendly event includes a raffle, door prizes, kids’ costume contest, and Roy’s Chicago Dogs available for purchase (as well as great Lagunitas refreshments for the adults). Silent auction contributions from Brian’s Comics, Comic Images, Entertainment Earth, Funko, Kotobukiya, artist Michael O’Shields, and Santa Cruz Skateboards.
$20 cover for adults. Purchase tickets online at 
donate.ranchoobiwan.org/lagunitas2016

Limited number of tickets available at the door.
Kids 12 & under get free admission and they walk out with a goodie bag stuffed with contributions from Brian’s Comics, DK Books, and Entertainment Earth! While supplies last, limited quantities available.

 

OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT RANCHO OBI-WAN
AS ALWAYS, YOU HAVE OUR DEEPEST GRATITUDE FOR
YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN INSPIRING THROUGH THE FORCE!