Is this the rarest of all Star Wars figures? The figure known by collectors as the Vinyl Cape Jawa was one of the original series of a dozen figures that accompanied the release of the film in 1978 (jawas are the hooded creatures with glowing eyes who buy and sell droids).
The very first 'early bird' issues featured the character in a
brown plastic cape but, after negative feedback that suggested it
looked a little cheap, the design was changed to give Jawa a cloth
Most surviving Vinyl Cape Jawa figures (they retailed at the
time for 99p each), were made in the US by Kenner and can now
command upwards of $5000. But earlier this year a
British-manufactured figure, made by Palitoy of Coalville, near
Leicester, appeared on eBay.
Authenticated by the US-based Action Figure Authority, it sold
in its card and bubble plastic packaging for £11,300. Another has
Thornaby auction house
Vectis are tight-lipped as to where their example has come from
but expect it to fetch between £6000 and £8000 at their television
and film-related auction on October 24.
'Holy Grail' for Collectors
The Vinyl Cape Jawa was the first Star Wars figure to assume
mythic status among collectors. But it was by no means the last.
Here are four more models that have become part of Star Wars
- Double Telescoping Darth Vader, 1978
When the first wave of Star Wars 'early bird' action figure sets
began arriving on the market in 1978, the original Darth Vader,
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker figures came with 'double
telescoping' rather than fixed light sabres. Luke Skywalker is
scarce but Darth Vader and Ben Kenobi even rarer.
- Blue Snaggletooth, 1978
Another figure featured in the 'early bird' sets released in
1978 was Snaggletooth. The story goes that the design was produced
from a grainy, black-and-white photograph of the character's head
and both his scale and colours were wrong. It was quickly
- Rocket Firing Boba Fett, 1980
The Rocket Firing Boba Fett was scheduled for mass production by
the Kenner factory, but fears that children could potentially choke
on the small red rocket led to its demise. Only a handful are known
in two variations.
- Yak Face, 1985
When Kenner finally ceased production of Star Wars action
figures in 1985 one design - Yak Face - had yet to be distributed
to toy stores in the USA. Some were destroyed by the factory as
overstock while others were sent to outlets in Europe and