This Palitoy Star Wars vinyl cape Jawa vintage figure took £18,000 at Vectis Auctions’ Star Wars 40th Anniversary sale on Thursday.

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This week marks 40 years since the release of Star Wars (now known as A New Hope), the first film in the franchise. To mark the occasion, images were released of new creatures and characters in the upcoming eighth instalment, including shots of Laura Dern with purple hair and Benicio Del Toro bedecked a dramatic space coat. But for collectors of Star War toys, original faces remain the most desirable and most valuable as was reflected in a recent record-setting sale.

It was at Teeside-based Vectis Auctions' Star Wars 40th Anniversary Sale on Thursday that a Palitoy Star Wars vinyl cape Jawa caught buyers’ attention. The lot sparked interest with phone and room bidders and soared past its estimate of £8000-10,000. It was eventually knocked down for £18,000, a new record for this Palitoy form. It went to an anonymous online bidder.

The vinyl cape Jawa, a ‘holy grail’ for collectors, measures a little less than 4in (10cm) in height and depicts the short, hooded, desert-dwelling creatures with glowing eyes that appear in original Star Wars film.

It is one of only a dozen that were produced in 1978 following the film’s release and was originally retailed for 99p. The ‘early bird’ issues of the figure feature a vinyl cape before later versions were produced with a more upmarket cloth cape.

The figure at Vectis was sold by a former employee of Palitoy who had kept the figure in its packaging and stored it in a cupboard. It was described as being in ‘near mint or mint’ condition.

In March, another vinyl cape Jawa took £10,200, also at Vectis, and another example sold on eBay in 2013 for £11,300.