Arguably the most iconic movie franchise of all time, the Star Wars saga has had no problem bringing in a dollar or two since its premier. While the movies retain the same value today as the day they came out, the props and equipment used within the movies only increase in value as time goes on. While the saga has recently continued as of Disney’s takeover of Lucas Arts, many characters we’ve come to love have been killed off throughout the course of the movies, leaving a lot of character-specific weaponry, spacecraft and costumes up for grabs.
They can all be had for the right price. For some people, the right price can be very, very high, as you’ll come to see as we go through this list. Would you pay $50,000 dollars for a cloak? What about over half a million for an old camera? Surprisingly, many people would. Without further ado, here are the 20 most expensive Star Wars items ever auctioned.
1. George Lucas’ Camera
While not in the movie, per say, the Panavision camera owned by George Lucas certainly played an integral part in the production of the movie. In the film Star Wars: A New Hope, the camera took a large portion of the workload involving the studio’s photography. George Lucas was the person behind the camera’s first and last auction to date. Debbie Reynolds, a renowned actress in Hollywood, first acquired the camera after Lucas auctioned it off where she added it to her collection of movie memorabilia. The camera was purchased through legendary auction house Profiles in History for a whopping $625,000 (Mrs. Reynolds really loved her cameras). The camera is still owned and preserved in Reynolds’ movie memorabilia collection to this very day. This has held the record for the most expensive Star Wars auction throughout history and will likely hold that record for quite some time; Reynolds doesn’t seem to plan on letting her camera go any time soon.
2. Blockade Runner Spaceship Model
While many people may not recognize the name “Blockade Runner,” they’ll likely recognize the ship itself upon seeing it. In the series’ first movie,Episode IV – A New Hope, the opening scene features Princess Leia’s spaceship being overrun by Imperial soldiers accompanied by Darth Vader. The ship that housed Princess Leia during this time was known as, you guessed it, the Blockade Runner. The then-owner of the spaceship model, Oscar-winner Grant McCune, had predicted it would sell for no more than $300,000. In the end, it was auctioned off at the much higher number of $450,000, making it the second most expensive Star Wars item auction of all time. While not the size of a spaceship, the item’s true value stems from its official Star Wars prop status. Needless to say, its status certainly worked.
3. TIE Fighter Model
The TIE Fighter spaceship is, without a doubt, the most recognizable Star Wars spaceship of all time, even more so than the Millennium Falcon. For those who aren’t aware of what exactly the TIE Fighter is, it was a spaceship widely used by the Imperial fleet. During the attack on the Death Star, the ship which collided with Darth Vader’s, leading to his temporary loss, was a TIE Fighter. This particular TIE Fighter model was the prop actually used on the screen to mimic a real, life-sized spaceship. Needless to say, the fact that it appeared on the set of Star Wars several times meant it had/has a tremendous cash value. As with many items on this list, the TIE Fighter model in question was sold through auction house Profiles in History. The item was eventually sold for $350,00, making it one of the most expensive spaceships the size of your fist.
4. Official Stormtrooper Costume
Perhaps costumes would have been a better word. Somewhere between the first movie (Episode IV) and the third movie (Episode VI), the minds behind the Star Wars saga decided the Stormtroopers needed a makeover (for a fun Saturday night, re-watch the original trilogy with this in mind, you’ll pick up on some changes you hadn’t seen noticed up until now). This costume set actually includes the original costume along with pieces from the second set of Stormtrooper attire which can be added on to reflect the second set, meaning, if you were to dress up in it, you could dress the same way as either the Stormtroopers from Episode IV or Episode VI depending on which pieces you added onto the base costume. After passing through the hands of several different people, the costume set eventually sold for $319,000 and change. Interestingly enough, the costume had been refurbished at some point. Imagine how much it would have gone for if that wasn’t the case. The helmet was unfortunately not included with the costume.
5. Stormtrooper Helmet Signed by George Lucas
For those wondering what happened to the helmet belonging to the above costume, is was sold separately for some reason or another. Singed by George Lucas himself, the official Stromtrooper helmet was eventually sold for $245,000, only slightly less than the entire rest of the costume. This no doubt had something to do with George Lucas’ signature scrawled across the top of the helmet in permanent ink. Unlike the rest of the costume it once belonged to, the Stormtrooper helmet has undergone no refurbishing (at least none that experts seem to be able to point out) and appears to be in mint condition. This isn’t something you can say about a lot of memorabilia from movies as old as the original Star Wars trilogy.
6. X-Wing Fighter Model
Remember those nasty TIE Fighters we previously mentioned? Well, when those TIE Fighters were defeated by the Rebels while accompanied by Luke Skywalker, they were using X-Wing Fighters. While perhaps not as recognizable as the spaceships they were shooting down (though still pretty close), everybody wants a piece of the action when it involves the main character of a movie – Luke Skywalker, in this case. An interesting fact, these models got so beat up during production (presumably from being shot down by Darth Vader and his gang), it’s actually quite a miracle that even one of these models made it out in one piece. As if that wasn’t lucky enough, the owner ended up trading in his model for a whopping $225,000, auctioned through Profiles in History. The lack of identical models certainly added quite a bit of value to this particular item. It’s one of the most rare pieces of Star Wars memorabilia still circulating today.
7. Snowtrooper Helmet
The Snowtroopers appear in Episode VI – The Empire Strikes Back. Due to the misleading name, many folks may be unaware just who the Snowtroopers were. Remember when the heroes were in the frozen wasteland which housed the yeti that tried to eat Luke? Remember the large battle that took place there with the giant metal dogs? Remember those Stormtroopers all wearing an extra layer of clothing? Apparently, when they throw on that extra layer they suddenly take on the name Snowtrooper. What’s odd about this auction is that the Snowtrooper helmet in question has not been signed by George Lucas (unlike the aforementioned storm trooper helmet) and it tends to be not nearly as recognized as the Stormtrooper helmet throughout pop culture. Despite that, it sold for only $20,000 less. Being that the end price totaled $225,000, that $20,000 difference isn’t a whole lot. As I’m sure you can guess by now, the helmet was sold through Profiles in History.
8. Han Solo’s Laser Blaster
When we think of Star Wars fighting scenes (even in the first Star Wars movie ever made, in which the majority of fighting scenes were dominated by laser blasters) we think lightsabers. Throughout the entire series of movies, a solid 90% (at least) of characters who fought used lightsabers; those who didn’t just weren’t “cool.” The one exception to this rule was Han Solo, every character played by Harrison Ford is cool, that’s common knowledge. So when Han favored the laser blaster in place of a lightsaber, we let it slide. The blaster in question was put up for auction through Profile in History (of coarse) for $200,000. You couldn’t even find a real laser blaster going for such a high price. Unlike many of the items on this list, Han’s blaster isn’t exactly in what you’d call pristine condition, though that didn’t stop it from being one of the most expensive Star Wars items ever auctioned.
9. Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber
I know, I also expected this to go for a higher price than Han Solo’s blaster. Although it didn’t go for a higher price, it didn’t go for a lower price either. At $200,000 right on the dot, the two items were tied in their apparent worth. The lightsaber was sold at Profiles in History in 2008 and hasn’t been heard of since (it’s likely on display in someone’s house). Unlike a lot of movie memorabilia (both in and outside of the Star Wars series), there was only one lightsaber belonging to Luke Skywalker. If you miss out on this auction, you’ll never get to have it. Couple that with the lightsaber’s pristine condition at the time of sale and you’ve got yourself one valuable piece of equipment. The lightsaber is merely a handle and emits no light whatsoever.
10. Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter Model
While we’ve already talked about an X-Wing Fighter model, this one is a bit different. While there were many X-Wing Fighter models which appeared throughout the movie, there was only one belonging to Luke Skywalker. Why? Well, his had an R2-D2 unit behind the cockpit for one. Secondly, the model was also purposely scuffed up from the start, as that’s how the makers (presumably George Lucas) wanted it to appear. Either way, there is only one of these models in existence and, in 2012, that model went for $140,000 at Profiles in History. Interestingly enough, the model exclusive to Luke SKywalker actually went for several tens of thousands of dollars less than the generic model which was used for all of the secondary character pilots in the movie. Maybe the auctions had a low turnout, or perhaps people mistook its rugged appearance as wear and tear. Either way, the guy who got his hands on this model got pretty lucky.
11. Chewbacca’s Head
This is the actual headpiece worn by the giant actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies, Peter Mayhew. Well, it was one of five of them. Still, an item of which there are only five is still quite a rare item indeed, adding and immediate, steep value to it. Couple that with lots of screen time in one of the most famous movie franchises of all time and you’ve got yourself one expensive mask. Made of mohair and yak hair, it wouldn’t look like much to those who haven’t seen the movies. But to fans, this is the best clump of hair you can get your hands on; just look at how much it sold for! In the year of 2012, this mask was auctioned off through Profiles in History for $140,000. This certainly isn’t a dollar store Halloween mask.
12. Darth Vader’s Fighting Helmet
I don’t need to explain who this character is. The actor who played Darth Vader in Star Wars went through more than one helmet throughout the making of the movies. Maybe Luke gave him one too many runs for his money, or perhaps certain helmets were easier to work with at certain times depending on the scene at hand. This particular helmet was used in what was perhaps the most iconic scene in the original Star Wars trilogy. Near the end of The Empire Strike Back, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (and, in the end, the Emperor) had their final showdown while Darth was wearing this particular mask. One of the older auctions on this list, Profiles in History saw this mask go for $115,000 in 2003. The most famous character of all of the films, you’d think a Darth Vader mask would take the cake for the most expensive piece of Star Wars memorabilia sold. Perhaps the fact that there were several masks used drove its value down a bit. Who knows?
13. Darth Vader’s Lightsaber
It’s understandable that Darth Vader’s lightsaber would go for a bit less than his mask; nobody really recognized him by what he held in his hand. In fact, he was more likely to kill enemies with the flick of his wrist rather than using his lightsaber at all. Either way, Darth’s weapon of choice still managed to demand a pretty penny for its acquisition. In the year 2005, Darth Vader’s lightsaber went for $100,000 at Profiles in History, the auction house of auction houses. As with Luke Skywalkers lightsaber, it’s worth noting that this one also gave off no light and merely served as a handle on camera. George Lucas and his team of special effects experts took care of the rest. Either way, this is a nice find.
14. Princess Leia’s Slave Costume
One of the most infamous scenes in Star Wars was when Jabba the Hut had captured Princess Leia and held her captive on a chain next to his thrown. For some reason, he had felt the need to dress her up in an over-the-top, expensive-looking, gold bikini. The bikini in question has been replicated time and time again by other TV shows parodying the scene as well as Halloween costume designers everywhere. Being such a seemingly popular costume around the globe, you’d have to wonder what people would pay for the costume that started it all – the original Princess Leia slave costume. As it turn out, they’d pay quite a bit. The item was auctioned off for exactly $96,000. While perhaps not as large a figure as others on this list, after factoring in the cost of making the costume, it’s a pretty impressive profit margin indeed.
15. Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi Cloak
If there’s one thing the Jedi are known for its liking to keep things casual. Obi-Wan Kenobi was never seen without his comfy, brown cloak. Unlike many items on this list which are fragmented (Darth Vader’s helmet minus his cloak, or the Stormtrooper costume which didn’t come with the helmet) or those which appear different on the screen than in reality (like lightsabers which only work on camera), Obi-Wan Kenobi’s cloak is exactly what we saw in the movie; no more, no less. While it goes without saying that the only reason someone would buy such a cloak is for the novelty (you can get cloaks of the same type for 1% the cost at Wal-Mart), it’s worth mentioning that this cloak is in completely wearable condition (and looks quite comfy at that). Although, I might not recommend wearing it during a night out on the town.
16. Darth Vader’s Helmet and Shoulder Armor
We’ve covered one of Darth Vader’s many helmets already; here’s another one. Unlike the previous helmet, this one comes with Darth’s shoulder armor as well, making the wearer indistinguishable from the original Darth Vader from the chest up. This particular costume was used exclusively in The Empire Strikes Back (much like the Stormtroopers, Darth Vader seemed to get a makeover in between movies). While it doesn’t belong to a particular iconic scene like the fighting helmet belonging to the same character, the shoulder armor goes well with the helmet (of coarse) and is a nice touch. Novelty and famous Star Wars scenes aside, this one packs more of a punch than the other helmet on this list. In 2003, this helmet and armor set passed through Profiles in History, netting the previous owner $70,000, which, while minuscule compared to others on this list, is still a nice sum of money.
17. Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Flight Suit
Here’s one you wouldn’t recognize unless someone pointed it out to you. Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Flight Suit was barely noticed on the screen due to the giant spaceships and exploding Death Stars often surrounding it seemingly every time Luke Skywalker was wearing it (it wasn’t exactly his Sunday afternoon attire). Nevertheless, this everyday-looking, orange jumpsuit has quite the novelty value attached to it. Unlike a large portion of Star Wars props and costumes, the makers of the original trilogy didn’t feel the need to constantly change the item over the course of the movies. In Episodes V and VI, this very jumpsuit was used whenever Luke Skywalker would fly his X-Wing spaceship. In 2005, this jumpsuit went for $60,000 through Profiles in History. Since then, it hasn’t been seen or heard of. One would assume it’s simply hanging an a wall somewhere, going untouched.
18. Qui-Gon Jinn’s Lightsaber
Poor Qui-Gon Jinn. He was one of those characters fans everywhere fell in love with from the start. Unfortunately, his screen time was cut shorter than most would have liked. Due to only having been a main character for one episode (in fact, slightly less than one episode, as he died part way through The Phantom Menace), you’d have to assume right off the bat that his weapon of choice might not go for as much as that of Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. It did still fetch a pretty penny, though. In contrast to nearly every other item on this list, Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber wasn’t auctioned off through Profiles in History, but was one of the main attractions at UNICEF’s 2003 charity auction. The lightsaber in question was ultimately sold for $56,000, a price which looks quite modest stacked up to the likes of George Lucas’ Panavision camera, but a solid sum nonetheless.
19. Darth Vader’s Cape and Robe
Believe it or not, Darth Vader’s outer layer of attire is not one solid object; it actually comes as a cape and robe, contrary to popular belief. At first glace, it looks like a standard, black, felt and leather cape and robe (not that you’d really consider a black cape and robe standard). For this reason, it’s understandable that it might not go for as much money as, say, Darth Vader’s very recognizable helmet. You could pick up any old cape and tell your friends you got it from the actual set of Star Wars. Either way, the cape and robe was still a fairly expensive piece of felt and leather, having gone for $55,000 at Profiles in History during the year 2005.
20. Boba Fett Action Figure
This is the only item on this list not actually in the Star Wars movies (except for George Lucas’ camera, depending on your definition of in). The action figure was made by British toy company Palitoy, a company who has long been out of business. It wasn’t sold at Profiles in History or any other auction house, but was auctioned online and netted the seller $27,000 after the transaction was all said and done. Not bad for an action figure that would have originally costed $20 or $30 after today’s inflation.