Tag Archives: Star Wars

Most Expensive Star Wars Movie Props Ever Sold at Auction

The Force Is Strong With These Original Star Wars Movie Props
han-solo-blaster

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a little film out called Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  It’s already the most successful movie in film history and it hasn’t even been released for a month.  My family has helped that number, with multiple viewings to our collective credit and more planned.

Despite it’s mainstream commercial appeal, this is a film franchise for Monster Kids.  Thankfully, director JJ Abrams returned the franchise to the original trilogy roots with a heavy focus on practical effects.

To celebrate this most-welcome news, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the most expensive props and costumes from the Star Wars movies (yes, even the prequels).  The folks over at JustCollecting.com compiled this 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…

20) Princess Leia’s ‘slave’ costume

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

19) Return of the Jedi Stormtrooper helmet

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

18) Empire Strikes Back Stormtrooper helmet

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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.

17) Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Cloak

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

16) Stormtrooper DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

15) Darth Vader helmet & shoulder armour

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

14) X-Wing Fighter production miniature

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

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

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

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

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

11) C-3PO’s head

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

10) Chewbacca’s Head

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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. (Image: Profiles in History)

9) Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter model

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

8) X-Wing fighter model

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

7) Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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.

6) Han Solo’s Blaster

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

5) Empire Strikes Back Snow Trooper helmet

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

4) Imperial Stormtrooper costume

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(Image: Profiles in History)

The second-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 ship

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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

Star Wars Memorabilia: The Most Expensive Items Ever Sold

(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).

courtesy of JustCollecting

(Video) Monsterama Episode 22 – Alien Movie Props

Alien Movie Props in The Bob Burns Collection

Original Alien Face Hugger Puppet

We wrap up the Monsterama series with a monster movie that is near and dear to me.  On the heals of Star Wars, I was space crazy like most other pre-teen kids of the late 1970s.  But I had never lost my love for monster movies.  Famous Monsters of Filmland had effectively (to younger readers) folded the Star Wars generation into their world of classic monsters to stay relevant but also because George Lucas was himself a monster kid who had grown up under the  influence of Uncle Forry and crew.   Then, in 1979, the perfect merger of sci-fi and monster movies arrived to scare all of us Star Wars fans out of our seats.

My parent’s dropped my younger brother and I off at the theater and bought us tickets, giving permission for us to see Alien.  It was terrifying.  I was twelve and it was one of the first monster movies I had ever seen on the big screen.  It was also the first R rated movie I had ever seen.

Needless to say, Alien had a huge impact on this monster kid and I take great pleasure in knowing that so many of the original props used in this terrifying monster in space movie are in the possession of the one and only Bob Burns.  This episode of Monsterama takes us back inside his collection for a closer look at his amazing collection of movie memorabilia from the Alien franchise.

Enjoy:

Related Posts:

(Video) Monsterama Episode 15 – Don Post Studios

The Company the Made Monsters out of Monster Kids for Generations!

Hollywood Horrors Don Post Studios Ad

As a kid, the Captain Co. ads in the back of Famous Monsters of Filmland were every bit as fascinating to me as the pictures and articles in the magazine.  Perhaps more so.  Because seeing the movies that were featured in the magazine each month was a crap shoot based on whatever was playing on TV and my ability to convince my parents to let me watch them when they did come on.  But the merchandise was within my grasp.  Though my allowance was meager, I made sure that these ads were front and center with my mom come birthday and Christmas time.  Sometimes, it even worked.

This is a shared experience with Monster Kids throughout the 60s and 70s and perhaps no ads were more want-inducing than those featuring the masks of Don Post Studios.

This episode of Monsterama takes us back to the beginning of this mask making enterprise and brings us all the way to the current time  – with Halloween approaching, there’s no better company to celebrate than Don Post Studios.

Enjoy:

Collecting Don Post Masks

We’ll be featuring much more about Don Post masks soon, but with Halloween approaching:

Click here are the current eBay listings for Don Post Studios Masks

Click here for current Etsy listings for Don Post Studios Masks

To read more about collecting Don Post Masks, and monster masks in general, I highly recommend The Blood-Curdling Blog of Monster Masks – let them know you found them through us of course!


 

Special Announcement!

DON-CON is COMING

Anyone in the Southern California region with an interest in Don Post Studios has to check out the upcoming Don-Con on November 7-8, 2015 in Burbank, CA.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime event to celebrate the transcendent Don Post Studios, who started it all.

Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets:
Don Con 2015 Celebrating Don Post Studios

Expecting Collectibles’ Prices to Keep Going Up is a Losing Bet

Collecting as an Investment Has It’s Limitations

Star-Wars-Collectibles

Collecting is a very personal passion.  It’s also one that has potentially huge financial ramifications.  Many collectors don’t consider, or at least focus on, the resale value of their collections because, quite simply, they can’t imagine ever parting with their prized collection.  There’s always that temptation though – family and friends who don’t ‘get it’ will read an article about a comic book collection selling for millions after the collector’s death and ask what your collection is worth.

Truth is, while you may have no intention of ever selling your collection, eventually it won’t be your decision.  If you are lucky enough to have children or heirs in the next generation who share your passion, and you plan to leave your collection to them, then you’re off the hook as long as you make the necessary arrangements in your estate planning.

If not, there is a real possibility that your collection will be sold and it’s up tot you to decide how that will happen.  Will it be sold of piecemeal at an estate sale or will you make arrangements to have it auctioned off after your death.  The choice is yours but it only makes sense  that a collection you so lovingly accumulated during your lifetime should be thoughtfully included in your estate planning.  I came across this article and thought it was worth sharing.  Be aware that the author  is Josh Levine who co-owns J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale and EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale, Arizona.  His company profits from collectors selling and buying, so his focus is on helping sellers get he most return on the items they are selling – it’s simply good business on his end.  Seven if selling is the furthest from your mind, the article is thought provoking.

Here’s the article in full:

I am often asked, “When is the best time to sell my collection?”

And not to be one accused of keeping my opinions to myself, I say, “Strike while the iron is hot.” What do I mean by that?

When you see record prices happening, sell your collection. Sounds obvious to most, but so often I hear, “I’ll hold on to it. It can only go up from here,” or “Imagine what it will be worth 20 years from now!”

I don’t know if it’s prospecting, greed, or something their parents ingrained in these collectors, but I think it’s a losing bet. Let me cite a few examples.

Fifteen years ago, we were selling Hummel collections and prices were riding high. I would see collections in my travels and ask folks if they wished to consign for auction, and more often than not, the owners would decline. Their consensus was, this would never end, and Hummels would keep increasing in value.

Then about 10 years ago, large collections began to be sold off and we could see it coming quickly. The crash.

The collectors blamed the economy and kept waiting. And waiting. … It wasn’t the economy, but simple economics. Huge supply, in this case, and no demand from the next generation. I have yet to meet a Gen X’er or Millennial that collects them. Most have no idea what they are.

The next example is toy trains.

A Pre-War Lionel Train set was money in the bank for a long run as they were desired by many collectors and enthusiasts spanning several generations. They all had a train set when they were kids, and had many fond memories of them. They sold like hot cakes, and there were many serious collectors.

Over the past five years, toy collectors’ tastes have changed, and you can see the Hummel thing happening. A 2003 price of $12,000 for a Lionel Pre-War set is now $1,500 if you are lucky.

Some say it was video games that caused the younger generations to lose interest, and that really may be true.

What to do now? If you are thinking of selling a collection, sell it when it’s hot.

What is hot in toys? Star Wars toys from 1977 through 1984 as well as most action figures from this period. Hot Wheels Redlines and AFX Aurora Slot Cars from the late 1960s through the early 1970s.

Let me give you my forecast. Star Wars is going to peak with this new movie release. It’s a great time to sell your Star Wars collectibles.

Hot Wheels and Slot Cars are more urgent to sell as I feel they are going to go the way of the train set soon.

I hate when I see a collection that was just held on to a little too long. It’s just like playing the stock market, but when they fall off the cliff, they don’t recover to former glory.

courtesy of AZCentral