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Vintage Return of the Jedi Bonded Leather Belt by Lee

July 30, 2012

For all the talk about how rare various vintage Star Wars action figures are, I’m convinced that some of the hardest-to-find items are clothing related. After all, they tended to get worn out or were discarded when the kids outgrew them. People tended to hang on to action figures, and some even had the foresight to keep them mint in the package for collecting purposes, but I don’t think very many people thought items like a child’s belt or pajamas would be sought-after 30 years later. And of course it’s true that they don’t command the high prices that toys can, so maybe there isn’t as much incentive for people to go digging through their attics in search of vintage Star Wars clothing to put on ebay.

In any case, I’ve been searching for Jabba items on eBay for several years now, and this is the first time I can recall seeing this particular belt, but admittedly a lot depends on the keywords you search for, so I might have missed something. In the past, I’ve posted about the vintage Jabba the Hutt belt buckle and the Jabba the Hutt elastic belt, both also made by Lee. But I was very glad to be able to get this excellent example of Lee’s bonded leather belt. It’s in nearly perfect condition, never having been removed from the original hanger. It even has the original price tag ($2.97). The “Cargo Bay” Collector’s Database says that there is also a version of this with a brown background, but has no pictures.

The belt features Jabba and Darth Vader on the rear, with some woklings (baby ewoks) and Jabba’s skiff on one side, and the Shuttle Tydirium, R2-D2, Wicket, C-3PO and Jabba’s skiff (again) on the other side. There are a couple of interesting things about these illustrations. The first is how off R2’s illustration is, with all of the red. Maybe they were trying to distinguish him from the blue background, but it’s a little hard to believe this got past Lucasfilm. The other is that they apparently copyrighted the phrase “The Skiff.” Maybe they just went a little overboard with the “TM” symbols.

As I understand it, bonded leather is basically bits of leather scraps that are chopped up and mixed with glue to form a new material that is cut into strips and used sort of like real leather. In this case, it doesn’t feel much like real leather, though. It’s almost like cork or something. This one has been displayed in a circle for a long time, so it wants to stay that way, but I did manage to straighten it out for a shot of the whole thing (click for a larger view):

 

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. luke ryder permalink
    September 13, 2012 8:47 pm

    I have the brown one. I picked it up at a yard sale. I have never seen one before. They must be pretty rare.

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