Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Valuable Items Ever Sold

justCollecting

justCollecting

2017-05-03 10:22:16

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Props and costumes from the Star Wars movies are amongst the most sought-after and valuable pieces for movie memorabilia collectors around the world.

We've compiled a list of the most expensive Star Wars memorabilia ever sold at auction - from Stormtrooper helmets to slave girl outfits, wookie heads to "weapons for a more civillized age".

If you're in the market for a piece of Star Wars movie history, you're going to need a lot of intergalactic credits...

25) Princess Leia's 'slave' costume

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

This outfit was worn by Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi, when Princess Leia is reduced to a slave girl by the evil Jabba the Hut following her failed attempt to rescue Han Solo.

It originated from the collection of Richard Miller, a 30-year veteran with Industrial Light and Magic and the original designer and sculptor of the memorable costume.

The outfit was comprised of screen-worn, production-made rubber elements, along with fabric parts recreated from existing photographs.

Described as the most complete and important version of the costume to have survived in private hands, the outfit sold at Profiles in History in October 2015 for $96,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

24) Return of the Jedi Stormtrooper helmet

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

Return of the Jedi featured more Imperial storm troopers than ever before, particularly for the battle scenes on Endor, so the production team produced around 50 new helmets based on the original molds used for those on The Empire Strikes Back.

The helmet was worn during filing by stunt performer Billy Horrigan, who also worked on movies including the original Indiana Jones trilogy.

It remained in his collection for years following the production, and eventually sold at Profiles in History in July 2012 for $98,400 (inc. buyer's premium). 

23) Empire Strikes Back Stormtrooper helmet

(Image: Prop Store)

(Image: Prop Store)

When it came time to film The Empire Strikes Back, producer Gary Kurtz noticed the original Imperial Stormtrooper costumes from the first film were looking a little worn.

Most of the helmets had been reconditioned and repainted, so a new set or around 8-10 helmets was ordered. This example was one of the new MK II style helmets made during production.

Although showing signs of excessive use, and missing its original communicator ear piece on one side, the rare helmet sold for $99,400 (inc. buyer's premium) during a Prop Store auction in September 2015.

22) Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Cloak

(Image: Bonhams)

(Image: Bonhams)

Based on Ralph McQuarrie’s conceptual designs, the last of the Jedi Knights appeared as a nomadic monk rather than a great warrior.

Not only is ‘Old Ben’ Kenobi’s cloak indicative of the peaceful nature of the Force, it’s also the only thing left of him after his battle with Darth Vader in Episode IV.

The iconic costume appeared in the first two original films, and then remained in storage in Los Angeles until the Bonhams auction in 2007 when it was sold for a price of $104,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

21) Stormtrooper DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

This DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle was originally created for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope by the British movie weapons company Bapty & Co.

Based on a deactivated World War II-era German MG 34 machine gun, the rifle was one of four seen in a weapons rack in the communications room on the Death Star.

Just two of those rifles included Bakelite stocks as seen on this example, meaning there's a 50% chance it was the rifle used by Chewbacca himself during Princess Leia's prison break sequence.

Having been restored to its screen-used appearance, this blaster rifle – the only one of its kind ever auctioned – sold at Profiles in History in July 2012 for $104,500 (inc. buyer's premium).

20) Darth Vader helmet & shoulder armour

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

Following the end of filming on The Empire Strikes Back, Lucasfilm sent this Darth Vader helmet and shoulder armour set to be replicated by N.J. Farmer and Associates.

The company then used the production-made originals to create promotional suits, to be worn at the film's premier in May 1980.

The helmet then spent almost two decades in storage with the company, before being rediscovered, and sold at a Profiles in History auction in July 2012 for $110,700 (inc. buyer's premium).

19) X-Wing Fighter production miniature

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

As the Star Wars effects unit filmed the final climactic attack on the Death Star, they realised they were blowing up miniature X-Wing and Y-Wing fighters faster than they could make them.

To save time, they started reusing parts from exploded models to create more cannon fodder for the Imperial guards (sorry Porkins).

This unpainted X-Wing filming miniature was created from a variety of screen-used components which survived the effects team's pyrotechnics.

It was the first X-Wing production model ever offered at auction, and sold at Profiles in History in 2010 for $112,100 (inc. buyer's premium).

18) Darth Vader’s helmet from The Empire Strikes Back

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

The second Darth Vader helmet to appear on the list was also used in the production of The Empire Strikes Back.

It was created for use during the climactic fight scene between Vader and Luke Skywalker, during which Vader reveals (spoiler alert) he is Luke’s father.

The helmet featured transparent cheeks and a modified grill, which enabled the Olympic fencing champion Bob Anderson a much clearer view whilst performing the fight sequences with Mark Hamill.

It was sold at a Profiles in History auction in April 2003 for a price of $115,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

17) Darth Vader’s Lightsaber from The Empire Strikes Back

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

Here's one of the most feared weapons in the galaxy – Darth Vader’s lightsaber.

This screen-used prop was used by David Prowse during production on The Empire Strikes Back -most notably in the climactic fight scene in Cloud City, in which the Skywalker family reunion goes slightly awry.

Luke gains a parent and loses a hand, as Vader slices it off with this very weapon in one of the worst examples of father-son bonding in cinema history. 

Originating from the personal collection of producer Gary Kurtz, this rare original trilogy lightsaber sold at Profiles in History in 2005 for $118,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

16) C-3PO's head

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

This original C-3PO helmet was worn on-screen by Anthony Daniels in his role as the faithful protocol droid throughout Return of the Jedi – whether it was translating threats for Jabba the Hutt, or being worshipped as a golden god by the Ewoks on Endor.

The helmet originated from the collection of Brian Lofthouse, who worked as prop supervisor on the original Star Wars trilogy and oversaw all elements of Daniels' complex C-3PO costume.

It was sold by Profiles in History in December 2008 for $120,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

15) The Motion Control 'Rama' Camera

(Image: Prop Store)

(Image: Prop Store)

This special movie camera was one of the earliest designed by Industrial Light and Magic to create groundbreaking special effects for Star Wars.

In order to shoot realistic space battles using a fleet of miniatures, the production team – led by pioneer John Dykstra – invented the Motion Control system, which used a computer-controlled camera known as the 'Dykstraflex'.

The second Motion Control camera built by ILM was this camera, known as the 'Rama'.

Not only was it used extensively to film battles between X-Wing and TIE-Fighter models, it was reportedly used to create one of the most famous shots in movie history – the moment the Millennium Falcon jumps to light speed for the first time.

The camera was then used extensively to create effects shots for both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and was also used by ILM to create effects for classics such as E.T, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dragonslayer, Poltergeist.

The historic 'Rama' camera sold at a Prop Store auction in September 2016 for $140,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

14) The Empire Strikes Back X-Wing model

(Image: Prop Store)

(Image: Prop Store)

During production of Star Wars, the effects team often struggled to produce space craft miniatures quick enough to be blown up on screen by the pyrotechnics team.

However, during production on The Empire Strikes Back, they came up with a clever solution to save time and money (both of which were in short supply during the first shoot).

Instead of build a fleet of Rebel fighters from scratch, the team simply bought some commercially available X-Wing model kits from a toy store, assembled and painted them in the ILM workshop, then shot them on the motion control stage.

This particular model was given a battle-scarred paint job, with an Astromech droid situated behind the canopy, and was used to film scenes during the rebel evacuation from Hoth.

Following production, it was gifted to Special Visual-Effects supervisor Brian Johnson, and sold at the Prop Store in September 2016 for $140,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

13) Chewbacca’s Head

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

7’ 3” tall actor Peter Mayhew was immediately cast as Chewbacca by simply standing up to greet George Lucas at a London audition.

The character was based on Lucas’ dog Indiana, who often sat next to him in his car like a ‘co-pilot’ (and who later gave his name to a certain Dr Jones).

This screen-worn Chewbacca mask, made from yak hair and mohair, was one of five used during filming and is currently the most valuable – having sold for $172,200 (inc. buyer's premium) at Profiles in History in July 2012.

12) Han Solo's The Force Awakens Jacket

(Image: IfOnly)

(Image: IfOnly)

The most recent piece of memorabilia on the list is this leather jacket, worn by Harrison Ford when he returned to the big screen as Han Solo after 32 years in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The jacket was donated to a charity auction by Ford himself, to raise funds for the NYU Langone Medical Center's FACES (Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures) department. The cause was close to Ford's heart, due to his own daughter's struggles with epilepsy and seizures.

Regarded as the most significant Han Solo costume item from the entire Star Wars series to ever hit the block, the jacket sold through the charity site IfOnly in March 2016 for $191,000.

11) X-Wing miniature composite

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

This X-Wing model was built by the film's Oscar-winning Miniature and Optical Effects Unit, led by Chief Model Maker Grant McCune.

Following filming of the final space battle in Star Wars, the effects team was left with a number of scorched spacecraft parts left over from miniatures which had been blown up.

This model was assembled from those surviving pieces and gifted to McCune, who kept it in his personal collection for almost 40 years.

During this time it was proudly displayed in the offices of Apogee, Inc., the visual effects company formed by John Dykstra, McCune and other former ILM employees.

McCune consigned his memento to auction with Profiles in History in July 2016, where it sold for $192,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

10) Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter model

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

This screen-used effects model X-Wing appeared throughout The Empire Strikes Back – identifiable as Luke Skywalker’s fighter by the tiny model R2-D2 behind the cockpit.

Bearing battle scars and blast marks, the X-Wing was used in numerous multi-element motion control shots during production. It sold at Profiles in History in July 2012 for $221,400 (inc. buyer's premium).

9) X-Wing fighter model

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

This exceedingly rare X-Wing fighter model was one of the few fully painted and finished models to emerge from the production of Star Wars in one piece.

Most were damaged by pyrotechnic effects designed to simulate explosions during filming of the final assault on the Death Star.

Measuring approx. 22 in. long by 18 in. wide, the model was consigned from the collection of a multiple Academy Award-wining visual effects supervisor and sold at Profiles in History in December 2012 for $225,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

8) Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

The lightsaber is one of the most iconic screen weapons in movie history – “an elegant weapon for a more civilised age” used by generations of Jedi knights.

In 2008, the weapon used by Mark Hamil as Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars film was sold at auction from the personal collection of producer Gary Kurtz.

It realized $240,000 (inc. buyer's premium) at Profiles in History, an auction record for a screen-used lightsaber.

7) Han Solo’s Blaster

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." Han Solo’s weapon of choice may be a little more down-to-earth, but for collectors it was equally as desirable.

Screen-used by Harrison Ford in both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the blaster was described as “possibly the most exciting science fiction weapon to have been offered for public auction”.

It sold at Profiles in History in December 2013 for $246,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

6) Empire Strikes Back Snow Trooper helmet

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

Although numerous Imperial Stormtrooper helmets have appeared on the market, this unique example is the only Imperial Snowtrooper helmet to ever come to auction.

Worn during the battle scenes on the ice planet of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, this helmet remained in original production condition more than 30 years later.

It sold at Profiles in History in July 2012 for an exceptional $276,750 (inc. buyer's premium).

5) Imperial TIE fighter pilot helmet

(Image: Prop Store)

(Image: Prop Store)

The Imperial TIE fighter pilot helmets were originally designed by John Mollo, with inspiration from the concept art of Ralph McQuarrie, and manufactured from black vac-formed ABS plastic.

Just 14 helmets were made by the production team back in 1977, and of those 14, only 12 were used on-screen.

This particular example appeared in several sequences such as dog fights between Imperial TIE Fighters and Rebel X-Wings, the Millennium Falcon's escape from the Death Star, and the final battle to destroy the Death Star.   

A few of the helmets were destroyed during filming, two were repurposed as AT-AT crew helmets in The Empire Strikes Back, and some reused during Return of the Jedi.

This highly rare surviving helmet crossed the block at the Prop Store in September 2016 with a pre-sale estimate of £50,000 - £70,000, but sold for a final price of £216,000 ($280,320, inc. buyer's premium).

4) Imperial Stormtrooper costume

(Image: Christie

(Image: Christie's)

This set of Imperial Stormtrooper costume components features pieces made for both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.

The set was given to a teenage member of an amateur dramatics society in 1993, by another member of the group who had previously worked at Elstree Studios as a pyro-technician.

Despite minor damage and restoration, the costume sold for an impressive $319,574 (inc. buyer's premium) at Christie’s in December 2011.

3) Miniature TIE Fighter model

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

The most valuable prop on the list is another survivor from the first attack on the Death Star – a screen-used model TIE fighter.

The fighter is known to fans as the one which collides with Darth Vader in the trench, allowing Luke to take his shot and sending Vader hurtling off into space to fight another day.

As a prop which changed the fate of the galaxy, the TIE fighter model commanded a top price at auction – a then-record $402,500 (inc. buyer's premium), realized at Profiles in History in 2008

2) Rebel Blockade Runner spacecraft

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

This Rebel 'Blockade Runner' ship features in the first moments of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, as it comes under fire from a far larger Imperial Star Destroyer – perfectly capturing the central struggle of the story in a single opening shot.

The unique 16-inch miniature was filmed moving along the entire length of the Dykstraflex track (the world's first digital motion control camera system designed specifically for Star Wars).

It originated from the collection of Grant McCune, Chief Model Maker on the film's Miniature and Optical Effects Unit who won an Academy Award for his efforts.

It was auctioned at Profiles in History in October 2015 for $465,000 (inc. buyer's premium), making it the most expensive Star Wars movie prop ever sold.

1) George Lucas' Panavision Camera

(Image: Profiles in History)

(Image: Profiles in History)

The most expensive piece of Star Wars memorabilia ever sold never even appeared in Star Wars – because it was too busy shooting it.

This Panavision PSR 35 mm camera was used by George Lucas during principle photography of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope in 1976.

It was later acquired by legendary Hollywood actress Debbie Reynolds as part of her famous movie memorabilia collection, and sold at Profiles in History in December 2011 for $625,000 (inc. buyer's premium).

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