A Star Wars figure in ultra-rare packaging released to mark the iconic film The Empire Strikes Back has sold for more than £9,000 at auction.

Expert Nick Dykes said the Princess Leia Organa toy was possibly among “four or five” still in existence, which features an original picture card from its first release.

When the figure went on sale at Vectis Auctions house, Stockton-on-Tees, on Tues (Nov 30), it was snapped up by an unnamed collector based in Wales for £9,375.

The auction house said the original owner – also not named – was given the toy when she was a child.

Mr Dykes said the Princess Leia figure was originally created by toy manufacture Palitoy as part of their Empire Strikes Back range, which was distributed in 1980 to coincide with the famous film.

The reason why this particular figure demanded such a high price was that it only had half of its original backing card, featuring a picture of Princess Leia.

Known as a "transitional card”, Mr Dykes said this version did not remain on shelves for very long before it was replaced by a full-length picture of Princess Leia, making it exceptionally rare.

He said: "We think there are only a handful of the transitional card in the world, maybe four or five.

"This is certainly the first one I have sold."

He said that a figure with the full-length packaging could still fetch up to £1,500 while the toy without a box could reach about £60.

When he first found out about the figure, Mr Dykes said that he was aware that it would attract a lot of attention but was still surprised a the price it was finally sold for.

He said: "I knew this example would get a lot of excitement but I did not expect it to go for as much as it did.”

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