Vintage Jabba the Hutt Cloisonne Pin by New Hampshire Jaycees
I’ve commented a number of times about how I keep finding things that I’ve never seen before, and this item sure fits the bill. The United States Junior Chamber (abbreviated as “JCs” or more commonly “Jaycees) is a non-profit organization that seems to focus on promoting leadership and business-related skills. They made quite a number of pins in the 70s and 80s in particular, some with pop culture images like Star Wars or the Muppets (although the Star Wars ones don’t seem very numerous). According to the blog “Collecting Superman,” (which seems to be the Superman-themed equivalent of my blog!) the pins were “developed as an icebreaker so that regional organizations participating in conventions and annual meetings would swap their group’s pins with other attendees, and then network and become friends.”
It took me quite a while to find anything at all about this pin online, but thanks to a link on “Collecting Superman,” I was finally able to find a listing for it on Pinsource.info — it didn’t help that they had misspelled both parts of Jabba’s name, giving it as “Jaba the Hut.” They list it as a fundraiser pin, with the pin ID NH8515.
It reminds me a lot of the pin put out by Hollywood Pins in the 1990s, but there are several important differences. They are both based on the same artwork, which was used on a lot of merchandise in the 1980s in particular — everything from towels to wristwatches. But the Jaycees pin only shows a closeup of Jabba, and is a color that’s a lot closer to the vintage Jabba figure rather than being green, as the Hollywood Pins pin is. But the most interesting difference is that on the Jaycees pin, Jabba is holding a goblet. It’s actually kind of a pink or purple color. I can’t recall seeing this detail on any other piece that uses this same artwork. The position of his arm does make it look like he should be holding something, but in most cases his hand is empty. The only exception I can think of is the vintage baseball cap from Sales Corporation of America, where he’s holding the hose from his hooka). In any case, I was pretty excited to find one of these.