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Dark Side Threatens West Nyack Star Wars Buff's 10,000 Piece Collection

West Nyack's Scott Gunther with world-renowned artist Greg Hildebrandt and his new acrylic painting. Photo Credit: Scott Gunther
Gunther keeps his 10,000 piece Star Wars collection in his West Nyack basement. He's planning on seeing "The Last Jedi" this Friday with his two nephews, who he says are equally enthusiastic.
Gunther keeps his 10,000 piece Star Wars collection in his West Nyack basement. He's planning on seeing "The Last Jedi" this Friday with his two nephews, who he says are equally enthusiastic. Video Credit: Scott Gunther
Scott Gunther purchased Route 17's Wild Birds Unlimited in 2006. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. — Scott Gunther of West Nyack has seen the dark side.

In a way, he's is still there, as he's still working to repair the damage from a waterline break that flooded his basement in October.

The waters threatened to wipe out his entire empire, comprised of 10,000 collectibles he keeps stored in display cases and boxes.

But it seems that The Force was with Gunther the whole time, as not one of the items the date back to the late 1970s received even a scratch.

Could it have been his uncompromising positivity that saved him?

"It is what it is," he said with a shrug and a smile, from the office of his Paramus store, Wild Birds Unlimited on Route 17.

"Nothing was ruined, I just can't get to it."

Gunther has been collecting since the first movie came out in 1977, and with "The Last Jedi" set to hit theaters this coming Friday, he's still going strong -- most recently with a remote-controlled R2D2 he received for Hanukah this year.

Although Gunther can't recall exactly why, or when, or where the obsession began -- "it's just always been there," he said.

The local buff began with little toys and action figures, and eventually progressed to larger pieces from eBay, comic conventions and simply knowing the right people.

His replica of the original Death Star is one of his favorite pieces, but that's subject to change.

"A hot piece is different for each collector," said Gunther, formerly of Waldwick. "It's something that’s true to their heart."

Gunther's "hot piece" is one that he purchased over the summer from world-renowned fantasy and science fiction artist Greg Hildebrandt: an acrylic portrait George Lucas in a scene from "The Last Jedi."

The only other person in the world who could have gotten it was George Lucas himself. It's one of a kind, and has not even been released to the public yet.

Gunther could not disclose how much he paid, but said that it cost thousands.

His coworkers make fun of him, but he takes it all in jest.

"We're always like, 'How old are you? Do you really need another Star Wars item?'" one of his Wild Birds colleagues told Daily Voice Tuesday evening. "His basement is like a museum. He has toys everywhere, toys in boxes."

The only trace of "Star Wars" Gunther has at work is a bag of promotional popcorn on his desk, which one of his colleagues got for him as a gift.

For now, he's waiting for painting and repairs in his basement to wrap up, so he can get back to his passion, he said: "I'm going to put everything back together, add some more and keep collecting."

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