Last week was a big one for Vectis auction house in the small town of Thornaby, Teesside, UK, where one of the rarest pieces of Star Wars memorabilia was ready to go under the gavel. But what was the ultra-rare piece of memorabilia, and how much was it due to fetch? And how much money is there in Star Wars memories?
6. Jawa figure with vinyl cape ($16,500)
What separates this Jawa figurine from the other thousands that were manufactured in Leicester, UK 35 years ago is its cape. What would ordinarily be a basic collectable becomes incredibly valuable because its cape is made of vinyl, not fabric. A U.S. collector bought the figure—which is only the sixth known to be extant worldwide—for $16,500 on Thursday.
5. Chewbacca film-ready head ($172,200)
Though a $1.50 figure selling for 11,000 times that amount is impressive enough, the really big money starts when you get into film-worn props. In July 2012, a head mask worn by Peter Mayhew—and one of only five costumes created for the movies—was sold by Profile in History, an auction house, for $140,000 (plus a buyer's premium of $32,200).
4. Luke Skywalker’s Episode IV lightsaber ($240,000)
Lightsabers are the iconic props connected with Star Wars, and Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber is perhaps the most memorable of the lot. The lightsaber, sold from the collection of movie producer Gary Kurtz in 2008, gained bids up to $240,000.
3. Episode V snowtrooper helmet ($276,750)
The proud possessor of this piece of memorabilia, sold in July 2012 for $225,000 (plus a 23 percent buyer's fee), can boast that they have the only snowtrooper helmet known to have made it to market. What’s more, the imperial snowtrooper helmet was worn in the decisive battles held in Hoth in Episode V.
2. Miniature Episode IV TIE fighter ($402,400)
The TIE fighter battle in Episode IV is well-known by Star Wars fans, and someone was so keen to buy a piece of that battle that they spent more than a third of a million dollars (the winning bid, $350,000, was subject to a 15 percent buyer's premium). What they got is arguably worth it, though—they didn’t just get any old TIE fighter. They got the one that collided with Darth Vader in the hidden depths of the Death Star.
1. George Lucas’ Episode IV Panavision Camera ($625,000)
Far and away the most expensive piece of Star Wars memorabilia ever sold is the Panavision PR 35mm camera George Lucas used in filming A New Hope. Lucas’ camera was listed at a price of around $200,000, but ended up gaining more than three times that amount as people strove to buy a piece of movie history.