WEB jawa east bristol 12-10-17.jpg
The sought-after Star Wars Jawa figure on offer unboxed at East Bristol Auctions on October 21 estimated at £1000-2000.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Not that most of us think that way, of course, when young. The Star Wars AT-AT walker box wrapped up as a present hidden on top of my brother’s wardrobe was never going to last long unopened on an early 1980s Christmas Day morning, for example.

Original condition is often key for vintage toy value, as demonstrated by the estimate put on a Star Wars figure coming up at East Bristol Auctions on October 21.

The Jawa - one of those little mumbling creatures that live in the desert on Tatooine and attempt to sell C3PO and R2D2 in the first movie made – is estimated at £1000-2000.

While that is a hefty hike on the toy that retailed for less than a quid, had this figure still been in its packaging it might have rivalled another Jawa sold in May for a hammer price of £18,000, at Teesside saleroom Vectis Auctions.

Going cape 

East Bristol auctioneer Andrew Stowe says: “The Jawa is the smallest of the first figures ever produced, and he originally came with a small vinyl cape. However, the toy company - Palitoy - almost immediately changed their mind and switched production to a fabric cape.

“Feeling that the cheap plastic cape and small figure didn’t equate to value for money compared to other figures in the line, this meant that very few Jawa figures with vinyl capes were ever sold.”

Consigned from a local collection, the figure comes with its original weapon – a small black blaster. “Condition is everything,” adds Stowe. “Collectors like toys as pristine as possible.”

Star Wars figure records

The Vectis vinyl-cape Jawa had been estimated at £8000-10,000 and set a new record for this Palitoy form. It sold to an anonymous online bidder.

It is one of only a dozen that were produced in 1978 following the film’s release and was originally retailed for 99p. 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.

In July 2016 Vectis set a new record for a Star Wars production figure when a French issue of Boba Fett, the memorable bit-part character in The Empire Strikes Back, sold for £21,000.

When Vectis sold the Craig Stevens collection in 2013, the Palitoy version of this figure, preserved in mint condition on its un-punched card back, took £15,000. The French version, retailed by Meccano, is thought to be rarer still. This example was deemed near mint with the square punched card back rated as ‘good plus’. Estimated at £4000-5000, it sold to an American buyer.