X-ray machine used to disappoint 'Star Wars' fan

Back in the day, British Star Wars fans could send off for a figurine enclosed in an opaque white box. Of course, if you wanted to peek at whatever was hidden inside, you'd have to open the packaging, which would take a massive chunk off the value. Without it, however, you'd never know what was inside, with toys ranging from standard-issue models through to ultra-rare Boba Fett pieces that are now worth around $8,000. UK collector Dave Moss paid just $8 for one such box, and began to wonder if it was possible to peek inside using more modern methods.

An online appeal put him in touch with Rob Burman (pictured) from Collectors Gazette who decided to contact the University of Nottingham to see if it could help. It turns out that the Hounsfield Facility has some super-powerful CT scanners, which are usually used to study the roots of plants while they remain undisturbed in soil. It wasn't a big leap to make between roots in soil and a toy in a box, and it wasn't long before the university was scanning the package. On the upside, the hardware was able to visualize a detailed 3D image of the piece, but on the downside, it was a regular ol' Emperor figure that's only worth around $50. Still, Dave Moss isn't complaining now that the mystery has been solved, but we're left to wondering what would have happened to Erwin Schrödinger and his imperiled cat had the tech been around way back in 1935.

[Image Credit: The Hounsfield Facility / University of Nottingham]