One of the world’s rarest Star Wars toys found in a loft sold at auction for a whopping £26,670 ($34,234) – more than 17,000 times its original retail price of £1.50 ($1.93).
The highly sought Palitoy Jawa figure – considered the holy grail for Star Wars collectors – was still in its original 1970s packaging.
It finally sold to a UK-based telephone bidder for £26,670 ($34,234) – smashing the pre-sale estimate of £10,000 to £15,000 ($12,836 – $19,254) – following competitive bidding from around the world at Excalibur Auctions on July 22.
The Jawa was from the first group of 12 Star Wars figures ever made in 1978 and was still mounted on its original 12-back card, with no fading of color or damage.
The figure is also one of only a few to exist that sports an original vinyl cape, which Palitoy later replaced with a fabric one.
The seller received it as a gift from Palitoy during the promotion of the Star Wars line in Marvel’s comics.
He served as the art director for Marvel UK between 1974 and 1979 and didn’t realize its value until he took it in to the auctioneers on a whim.
Jonathan Torode, auctioneer at Excalibur Auctions, said: “I am very pleased that this, one of the rarest carded Star Wars figures known to exist, with only 10 to 15 examples documented, has stayed in the UK with an avid Star Wars private collector, who was bidding anonymously on the telephone.
The highly coveted figure comes with its rare vinyl cape on its original 12-back card.
Jawas appear throughout the Star Wars franchise as meter-tall robed scavengers who comb the deserts of lawless Tatooine for scrap metal.
Torode said of the seller: “He was coming in to sell some comics and artwork and talk to our comic specialist.
Torode explained that the Jawa figure was first produced in the US, but soon after it was made a Star Wars employee claimed it looked too cheap with its vinyl cape and suggested a cloth cape would work better.
Production quickly stopped and the Jawa was given a cloth cape instead, leaving only a few vinyl ones behind.
However, with the “cheap” figures already on their way to the UK, a few made it across the pond and were set to be sold for around £1.50 ($1.93) a piece.
Torode added: “The UK figures are even rarer because by the time these figures got to the UK they had already withdrawn them and started producing cloth versions.
“Up until the early 2000s they were thought to not exist – they were like a legend.
“People thought they must have existed and that they had got recalled and scrapped, but then some suddenly appeared in the wild.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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