Ready to join Star Wars's Dark Side? An original Darth Vader helmet from the late 1970s could help push you over the edge. Ewbank’s Auctions in Surrey, England, will be handing over one such prop to the highest bidder on November 15—and it could be yours for about $19,000.
That's a conservative estimate, though. The Propmasters-owned helmet could fetch more than $26,000, as it is vintage, after all. The fiberglass prop was made during the gap between A New Hope (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and is believed to have been a “transitional test production piece,” meaning that it was used as a reference and not for the screen. A triangular cut-out on the chin is unique to the kind of helmets featured in the earlier film, while the “dome to face plate male/female attachment ring” is more characteristic of the latter film’s style, according to the auction house’s description.
The high price tag shouldn’t be too surprising, if past auctions featuring Star Wars props are anything to go by. A film-ready Chewbacca mask sold for $172,200 in 2012, a rare snowtrooper helmet sold for $276,750 that same year, and George Lucas’s Episode IV Panavision camera went for $625,000 (more than three times its original estimate) in 2011.
The Ewbank’s auction, which will feature more than 350 pieces from Propmasters's film and television archive, is being held in celebration of the prop company’s 30th anniversary. Also up for grabs are Lara Croft’s tiger jacket (worn by Angelina Jolie), autographs from eight original Star Trek actors (including William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy), a life-sized statue of Pinhead from Hellraiser, and a mold for the Facehugger creature from Aliens. Bids can be placed in person or online.