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The Most Valuable Star Wars Memorabilia
With the latest instalment of the Star Wars saga due in December, we have partnered with Star Wars expert, Marc Airey, to compile a list of the most valuable Star Wars memorabilia in the world, along with the prices that the items currently command on the market and a set of guidelines for new Star Wars collectors.
The top 10 most valuable Star Wars memorabilia items
- The Empire Strikes Back Darth Vader Helmet £817,027 - The helmet was only estimated to sell for between US $250,000 (£204,325) and $450,000 (£367,830). The helmet, made from fibreglass, does have some missing pieces and blemishes but once revealed it was the actual mask worn during filming of Empire bids started flying.
- George Lucas’ Panavision Camera £427,000 - George Lucas’ Panavision PSR 35mm camera was used to shoot some of the first Star Wars film in 1976. It sold in 2011 for a record fee and, as of 2019, remains the most expensive piece of Star Wars memorabilia.
- Star Wars TIE Fighter model (used prop) £240,000 - This TIE Fighter model was used in the battle sequence at the end of Episode IV - A New Hope. Which means that it’s worth… *taps calculator*…roughly a quarter of a million pounds. If you’d rather spend that sort of money on a house than a plastic model of a fictitious spaceship, you can always build a real TIE Fighter. German fans managed to construct a life-sized ship for less than $20,000. Suddenly, that sounds like good value.
- Snowtrooper Helmet £155,000 - This rare helmet, worn in The Empire Strikes Back, fetched nearly a quarter of a million dollars. In October 2015, a normal Stormtrooper helmet used in the same film went for $120,000 (£82,000).
- Chewbacca’s Original Costume Headpiece £138,634 - Poor Chewbacca. In the original trilogy, he weathered insults like "furry oaf," "big walking carpet" and the cruelest dig, "flea-bitten furball." But in a 2012 auction, Chewie got the last laugh when the screen-used headpiece/mask worn in the original films by actor Peter Mayhew, realized $172,200 (£138,634) — placing it among the most expensive "Star Wars" costume pieces ever sold.
- Han Solo’s Leather Jacket from The Force Awakens £131,000 - The “new jacket” that Han Solo sports in 2015’s The Force Awakens was auctioned for the charity FACES – Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures – in April 2016. Prior to going under the hammer, Harrison Ford said that, “unlike the cynical Han Solo, I have a good feeling about this.” He was right to – 50 bidders duked it out, with the jacket eventually selling for $191,000. The cause is close to Ford’s heart, as his daughter suffers from epilepsy.
- ‘Star Wars’ Costume Design Sketchbook £130,128 - For "Star Wars" archaeologists digging deep into the saga's origins, artifacts rarely get better than this original production sketchbook by the first film's Oscar-winning costume designer, John Mollo. While legendary conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie chiefly designed the look of the "Star Wars" universe and its characters, it was Mollo who was tasked with actually creating the costumes. During production of "A New Hope," Mollo kept a personal sketchbook with hand-drawn designs for Vader, Chewbacca, the "Creature Cantina" aliens and much more. The book also served as a production diary, containing notes from his meetings with George Lucas. Under a 2018 Bonhams' gavel, this original-trilogy treasure snapped up $162,000 or £130,128.
- Luke Skywalker’s original lightsaber £113,000 - In a world where a tiny plastic figure costs the same as a new car, you won’t be surprised to learn that Luke’s trusty weapon is worth a small fortune. When it was auctioned from the private collection of Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz in 2005, it fetched over £100,000. Other lots included Darth Vader’s lightsaber (£67,000) a Chewbacca face mask (£28,000) and Skywalker’s X-Wing flight suit (£40,000).
- Boba Fett Rocket-Firing Action Figure (Prototype) £93,388 - Though it never caused a child fatality, arguably the most infamous, potential "choking hazard" toy of all time was the original Boba Fett action figure developed by Kenner. Nicknamed "Rocket Fett," the figure wore a backpack with a mechanism that fired a small plastic missile — the perfect size for getting lodged in junior's larynx. As any old-school collector worth their bounty-hunter cred knows, "Rocket Fett" was never released to the public. So what you'll find on today's market are strictly prototype figures, which reportedly number less than 30 and appear in various stages of product development. Confirmed sale prices have ranged from $20,000 to $116,000 (£93,388). At the 2019 Star Wars Celebration convention in Chicago, a high-end dealer stunned nerds by offering a mega-rare "Rocket Fett" prototype with a price tag of $365,000, plus tax. So far, no takers.
- Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi Telescoping Lightsaber £61,748 - While the ultra-rare "Rocket" Fett never reached production, this Obi-Wan action figure definitely did. With its double-telescoping lightsabre (which Kenner swiftly abandoned), this Kenobi is only one of a select few that survive in box. In July 2018, this figure sold for $76,000, a world-record price for vintage Star Wars toys.
The Empire Strikes Back Darth Vader Helmet £817,027
Jawa Action Figure With Vinyl Cape £14,498
Star Wars’ Comic Book Issue #1 £16,109
Star Wars’ Happy Birthday-Style One Sheet Poster £4026
Star Wars’ Costume Design Sketchbook £130,128
Luke Skywalker’s original lightsaber £113,000
Snowtrooper Helmet £155,000
Carrie Fisher's Personal Copy of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Shooting Script £41,058
Han Solo’s Leather Jacket from The Force Awakens £131,000
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Other valuable items include:
Carrie Fisher's Personal Copy of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Shooting Script £41,058 - Frustrated by George Lucas' often clunky, hokey dialogue in the "Star Wars" screenplay, both Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford recall telling Lucas, "George, you can type this sh*t, but you can't say it!"
Though "The Empire Strikes Back" script was penned by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett, by the time filming was underway in '79, Fisher and Ford had taken to doctoring and punching up their own lines. That is, when they weren't partying all night with the Rolling Stones and showing up drunk to work the next morning.
In 2017, Fisher's estate auctioned her personal, hand-annotated shooting script for Episode VI and collected $51,000. Sale proceeds were donated to The Jed Foundation, which works to prevent teen suicide.
Brazilian Glasslite Vlix Figure (1988) £36,246 - From the short-lived 1985 animated series Droids, Vlix might seem unfamiliar, and that’s okay. He was part of a planned second series of Droid action figures by Kenner, but the line was cancelled before it could be released. A few years later, a Brazil company purchased the rights to some of the scrapped toys and produced and sold them exclusively in Brazil - making it ultra rare in the U.S.
Star Wars’ Comic Book Issue #1 £16,109 - Is that Luke Skywalker on the cover of Marvel's premiere "Star Wars" comic? Or did Gary Busey swipe a lightsaber? In the late '70s, Marvel began testing the market waters with a five-cent increase (from 30 cents to 35 cents) on its single-issue comics. The debut issue of "Star Wars", tagged with the inflated price, was distributed to only four U.S. cities: Memphis, Toledo, Tuscaloosa and Wilmington. If you nabbed a copy and kept it minty mint all these years, expect to pocket upwards of $20,000...and laugh about Luke Busey all the way to the bank.
Jawa Action Figure With Vinyl Cape £14,498 - Forget Luke and daddy Darth. Surely topping every kid's wish list of original "Star Wars" action figures was the Jawa. Okay, not exactly, but eventually everyone bit the bullet and got a Jawa to complete their collection. The few to grab a first edition of Tatooine's pint-sized desert scavenger, would have Jawa's signature brown cloak that was made of vinyl. After the initial production run, Kenner switched to a cloth cape. Extremely scarce, a vinyl-cape Jawa packaged in its original unopened card can net between $10,000 (£8,055) and $18,000 (£14,498), depending on the condition. Loose un-carded specimens in cherry condition sell on eBay for about $1,200 (£967). The Jawa has achieved mythic status among collectors, so beware of the many fakes out there.
The Empire Strikes Back Poster up to £21,257 - A rare “Star Wars” concept poster for “The Empire Strikes Back” has sold for $26,400 (£32,257), making it the most expensive movie poster from the franchise ever sold in an auction.
Star Wars’ Happy Birthday-Style One Sheet Poster £4026 - To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Episode IV's release, the studio shipped this poster to theatres still showing the blockbuster 12 months later. By then, "Star Wars" action figures were a toy store phenomenon, so they were assembled around a candle-topped birthday cake for a poster that in today's market will put a $3,000 (£2416) to $5,000 (£4026) dent in your wallet.
Revenge of the Jedi Poster £2,416 - Though not the priciest "Star Wars" poster in the galaxy, this Episode VI one-sheet is the most infamous and widely bootlegged. Before the 1983 release of "Return of the Jedi," the movie was briefly re-titled "Revenge of the Jedi."
The studio printed nearly 9,000 posters with that title and began shipping them to theatres. In late '82, George Lucas decided the word "Revenge" was unbefitting of a peaceful Jedi knight, so he reverted to the original "Return." The previously shipped posters were recalled, while the 6,800 copies still on hand were sold via mail order to Star Wars Fan Club members for $9.50 each. Today, the fan club posters (tag-lined with the movie's May 25, 1983 release date) can fetch up to $2,000 (£1,610) in pristine condition. The rarer version shipped to cinemas, lacking the release date, can net $3,000 (£2,416) and up. But buyer beware. The market is flooded with fakes.
Star Wars expert and podcast host, Marc Airey said:
“With Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker a few months away, now might be the perfect time to start up the collection you’ve always thought about. Toys aren’t the only things to bear the Star Wars brand, and there’s a plethora of items for your household, decor, kitchen and everything in between that you could seemingly pick up. Your excitement could turn into intimidation as you struggle to get started, but don’t lose hope! Here are some easy tips to help start your Star Wars collection.
Choose what you want to collect
As mentioned, there’s so much memorabilia on the market, new collectors can easily get overwhelmed. I suggest you start by deciding what type of memorabilia you want to collect and go from there. Financially speaking, if you pick up everything you see related to Star Wars, your bank account will not thank you. Instead, figure out exactly what piques your interest the most and that way you can not only control the amount of money that you’re spending but also find an easier access point into collecting.
Create a budget
Speaking of finances, when you’re starting out on your collecting adventures, it’s a great idea to have some form of budget in place before you begin buying up items.
For many, and especially for older fans just getting started, there can be a feeling that you have to catch-up. After all, there are so many fans who’ve been collecting for years and your meager handful of collectibles might feel inadequate in comparison. This line of reasoning however will inevitably lead you to purchasing way more than you should with the end result being your bank account, and possibly a significant other being very angry with you!
Buying sprees can also cause new collectors to regret their decisions so take care to budget accordingly with a monthly collectible budget you’ll stick to. Doing so will also allow for the steady growth of your collection and allows you to really think about whether an item is essential to your collection or not.”
Image Credits: Darth Vader & Snowtrooper Helmets: www.starwarshelmets.com /Jawa Action Figure With Vinyl Cape: www.angrykoalagear.com /Star Wars’ Comic Book Issue #1: www.insider.com /Star Wars’ Happy Birthday-Style One Sheet Poster: www
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