Jawa was part of the original Star Wars 12 Back wave which were the first figures produced by Kenner for the Star Wars movie. There’s an interesting back story or two regarding the 1978 Kenner Star Wars Jawa action figure. This action figure was originally produced with a brown vinyl cape. In fact, if you have one of these vinyl caped Jawa figuresfigures you’re probably looking at about a $2000.00 figure depending on the demand. The reason for the high price is because the 1978 Star Wars Jawa from Kenner underwent a dramatic costume change the very next year. Apparently Kenner felt that the action figure buying public would feel cheated if they paid the same price ($1.99) for a tiny Jawa figure as they would for a larger Obi Wan Kenobi or Darth Vader action figure. So, they decided to break out the sewing kits for the 1979 version of the Jawa and gave them a cloth robe instead of vinyl hoping that the cloth robe would add more value to the figure for its $1.99 price.
Back in 1978, there were so few Star Wars action figures that fans would snag up whatever they could find in hopes of trading up. Anyone from that era can tell you, it wasn’t hard to find the Jawas as they would be the only ones left on the rack. On the other hand, die hard Star Wars fans who liked to make dioramas or scenes would grab up multiple Jawas to mimic the scenes where Luke first bought R2D2 and C3PO. Often fans would buy half a dozen of the Jawas. Those lucky few that took great care of them or left them mint in the box could fetch quite the great monetary prize now. Unfortunately if you have the cloth robe Jawa you’re not as lucky. A loose cloth robe Jawa will sell for around $5.00-10.00 while one still in the packaging might sell for $75.00-100.00 though I have seen them sell for more in high grade condition.
Given the astronomic prices of vinyl caped Jawas there now, of course, many fake Jawas out there so be careful if you’re looking to buy one. It’s probably best to only buy one that has been certified by a known expert. Anyone can buy a reproduction vinyl Jawa cape off of eBay now and stick on a Jawa figure and claim it as original. Some even try to cut down the vinyl cape that came with Ben Kenobi and fit it to a Jawa and claim it as original. An original Jawa cape should match the color of the Jawa figure. Kenobi’s cape was a little darker. Since the 12 Back cards have been reproduced as well it’s fairly easy to put together a fake vinyl cape Jawa. Some of the fake Jawa’s have incorrect blisters or bubbles. Below you can see three types of plastic bubble used to package Jawa.
The bubble on the left is the only bubble that the vinyl caped Jawa came in. The other two bubbles were used on cloth Jawa’s but not on vinyl Jawa’s. So, if you see a vinyl Jawa in one of the two bubbles on the right then it is a fake Jawa. For great detailed info on spotting original vs. fake vinyl caped Jawa check out 12Back.com.