COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Remembering Kamala, the Ugandan Giant

By Michael Moore, PWTorch Collectibles Specialist


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Pro wrestling lost one of its all-time great characters on Aug. 9, 2020, with the passing of Kamala, aka Jim Harris.

With his large frame, loin cloth, face paint, and spear, Kamala looked just like a 1980s action figure come to life. It’s easy to picture Kamala doing battle with He-Man from the Masters of the Universe Toy Line, or tangling with heroes like Conan the Barbarian from the Remco toy line.

In terms of wrestling collectibles, there’s plenty of Kamala to go around: action figures, trading cards, signed pictures, original artwork and even the Ugandan Giant’s autobiography. Several items can be found at KamalaSpeaks.com, with proceeds going to Kamala’s widow. PayPal gifts can also be sent to her at jkimala@aol.com, according to Kenny Casanova, the co-author of “Kamala Speaks!”

Here’s a look at five Kamala collectibles that have garnered quite a bit of attention since his passing…

  1. 1986 Carnation Major League Wrestling Cards. This rare gem is the earliest known trading card of Kamala, so many collectors consider it to be his rookie card. The card is pure 80s nostalgia, with a picture of Kamala holding a spear against a bright green background. The back of the card lists Kamala’s hobbies as “eating live chickens” and “war-like rituals.” The 1986 Carnation cards are very tough to find; Kamala’s card has been selling in the $20-$60 range, depending on the condition of the card.
  2. Sports Review Wrestling Magazine – March 1987. The old saying “red equals green” has often been used to describe gory pictures of a bloodied Bobby Heenan on 1970s magazine covers. Long before Photoshop was a thing, Sports Review Wrestling took things a step further. This memorable cover shows Kamala holding a spear with the bloodied, severed head of Hulk Hogan, with this headline: “Who Gave Kamala This Gruesome Order: ‘Bring Me the Head of Hulk Hogan!’” Finding one of these magazines in 2020 is no easy task; two recently sold on eBay for $19.99 and $24.95, respectively.
  3. Hasbro WWF Wrestling Figures Series 7. Kamala’s first figure can be found in the fourth series of LJN action figures from 1987, and Jakks and Mattel also have produced figures in recent years. But Kamala’s best figure is from the 1993 “yellow card” set of Hasbro figures. Most figures have white stars painted on Kamala’s chest and a yellow star on his belly. There is, however, an extremely rare version that has a yellow crescent moon on his belly instead. This figure has become something of an urban legend among wrestling collectors, with many agreeing that the moon variation was part of a limited test run. The version with the star on the belly typically sells in the $40-$50 range for a loose figure, or anywhere from $125 to $200 for one that is mint on card. Assigning a value to the moon variation is practically impossible; however, one eBay seller currently has one listed for $20,000.
  4. 2012 Topps WWE Heritage Autograph. Kamala has appeared in several Topps WWE sets over the years, but his only certified WWE autograph can be found in 2012 Topps WWE Heritage. It’s a very tough card to find and rarely surfaces for sale on eBay; one sold on Aug. 10 for $99.99. Kamala’s signature also appears in several products from Leaf Trading Cards; these cards are much easier to find and considerably more affordable than his lone Topps auto. Some of Kamala’s Leaf autographs can be found for as low as $15.
  5. “Kamala Speaks!” Book. Kamala published his autobiography with cowriter Kenny Casanova in 2015, and signed copies are still available at KamalaSpeaks.com for $34.95. Kamala’s autobiography received substantial praise from wrestling journalists and fans; the real-life Jim Harris writes in painful detail about his struggles in wrestling and in life.

PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at michaelmoorewriter@gmail.com or @MMooreWriter on Twitter. 


NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Mattel gets back into the Hulk Hogan business, and five controversial action figures

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