The incredible popularity of Star Wars has helped elevate the value of anything associated with it. From action figures to props, some of the most expensive Star Wars items are directly connected to the main characters in the films released over the years.
The massive Star Wars franchise includes nine main films and several spin-offs and shows, including animated serials. Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977) was the first film of the franchise. It was followed by Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). The first three films are known as the original trilogy.
The other six main films are referred to as the prequel trilogy and sequel trilogy. The prequel trilogy includes Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005). And, the sequel trilogy comprises Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017) and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
The original trilogy — which is around four decades old — has a special place in the hearts of fans and its items are in higher demand among Star Wars collectors. But the newer films have proven to be popular too, with related merchandise and props selling for as much as six figures. For example, a Han Solo leather jacket worn by Harrison Ford in The Force Awakens went under the hammer in 2016 for USD 191,000 (Rs 1,52,56,287).
Apart from memorabilia, Star Wars-themed experiences have also managed to fetch hefty prices. Earlier this year, Disney unveiled the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel where a two-night stay for two persons costs a whopping USD 5,000 (Rs 3,99,356) and can go up to USD 6,000 (Rs 4,79,228) for four persons. In June, Disney also introduced a Kaiburr Crystal cocktail onboard its Wish cruise ship. Comprising Camus cognac, Grand Marnier Quintessence, port, bourbon and more, the libation is presented in a bounty hunter vessel called a Camtono, which appears in The Mandalorian (2021-) and The Book of Boba Fett (2022). It’s available for an eye-watering USD 5,000 (Rs 3,99,356) and comes with frills such as a tour of Star Wars creator George Lucas’ Skywalker Vineyards (which isn’t open to the public).
Intrigued? These aren’t even the dearest products associated with the beloved franchise. Read on for a list of the most expensive Star Wars items in the galaxy.
Here are some of the most expensive Star Wars items of all time
Years used: 1977-1983
Auctioned for USD 2.76 million (Rs 22,04,57,346)
The most expensive Star Wars memorabilia ever sold is the famous R2-D2 droid. Auctioned in June 2017, the unique piece measures 43 inches in height. According to the auction house, Profiles in History, the droid was compiled from parts used throughout the filming of the original trilogy. Although the owner of this piece remains unknown, the auction house had then said that it was the most expensive item ever offered in a movie memorabilia auction.
Year used: 1977
Auctioned for USD 2.3 million (Rs 18,37,36,190)
An X-Wing is one of the most recognisable spacecraft in the Star Wars universe. Also known as starfighters, X-Wing got its name from the distinctive X-like shape the four wings of the aircraft make when in attack formation.
In June 2022, a miniature model of an X-Wing fighter was sold at an auction held by Prop Store Auction. The screen-matched model was sold in good condition. It was the same model seen in the first film of the original trilogy, where it was flown in a climactic battle by Red X-wing Squadron Leader Garven Dreis, a character played by the late Drewe Henley.
The model was made by Industrial Light & Magic and designed to show an on-screen explosion around the engine.
Darth Vader’s helmet
Year used: 1980
Auctioned for USD 898,420 (Rs 7,17,70,551)
Perhaps things seem very different when viewed from under the most iconic symbol of fear in the Star Wars universe. Darth Vader’s helmet went up for auction in Los Angeles, US, in September 2019. Made of fibreglass and foam, the helmet was the same that actor David Prowse wore in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) — the most famous of the nine films in the three main trilogies. Its maximum expected price was half of what the helmet went up for, indicating the coveted status that things connected to Darth Vader command among collectors of Star Wars items.
This is not the only Darth Vader helmet sold. At the auction where R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber were sold, a Vader helmet went under the hammer for USD 96,000 (Rs 76,68,988).
The first Star Wars camera
Years used: 1977
Auctioned for USD 625,000 (Rs 4,99,28,312)
George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, captured the world of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope on a Panavision PSR 35 mm camera. In December 2011, Profiles in History sold the camera at an auction in Beverly Hills at a record price, making it one of the most expensive Star Wars items ever auctioned.
Lucas used the camera for principal photography of the film. It was later acquired by legendary Hollywood actress Debbie Reynolds and became part of her film memorabilia collection, before its eventual sale at the Profiles in History auction.
Two 304-metre-long magazines, six equipment cases, Moy geared head, follow focus, matte box, camera dolly, lens, a Panaspeed motor, a photograph of George Lucas seated at this camera on the set of Star Wars, and papers proving Lucas’ ownership of the camera were also part of the lot.
Given the legacy of Star Wars and that it was one of the few privately held Panavision products, the camera has long been the most sought-after piece of memorabilia for fans. This is why its realised price was over six times the listed price of USD 200,000 (Rs 1,59,77,060).
Han Solo’s blaster
Year used: 1983
Auctioned for USD 550,000 (Rs 4,39,36,915)
Han Solo is one of the prominent heroes of Star Wars who is not Force-sensitive and does not use a lightsaber. His trusted weapon? A blaster. What makes Solo’s blaster different from those of the clone troopers and stormtroopers is that his weapon is shaped like a pistol and can be fired using one hand.
A blaster used by Harrison Ford in the character of Solo was sold at a Las Vegas auction in June 2018. This particular blaster, which is made mostly of wood, was featured in the film Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). Julien’s Auctions, the auction house which sold the blaster, said that it was bought by Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Princess Leia’s ‘Blockade Runner’
Year used: 1977
Auctioned for USD 450,000 (Rs 3,59,48,385)
A model of the blockade runner spaceship became one of the most expensive Star Wars items ever sold at a Hollywood memorabilia auction by Profiles in History in Los Angeles in October 2015.
Measuring only 16 inches, the model was featured as a flying ship in the first film of the original trilogy. It is one of the most significant movie memorabilia in history because it appears in the very first scene of the film, where Carrie Fisher’s character, Princess Leia, is escaping Darth Vader with droids C-3PO and R2-D2.
The model was part of the collection of the late Grant McCune, an Academy Award-winning visual effects designer.
Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber
Years used: 1977-1980
Auctioned for USD 450,000 (Rs 3,59,48,385)
Who wouldn’t want to get their hands on the green lightsaber used by the legendary hero of the Star Wars franchise? Of course, the ‘light’ of the lightsaber is CGI and the actual prop is just the hilt. However, it doesn’t matter to fans of Star Wars, especially when it was wielded by Luke Skywalker.
This lightsaber used in the first two films of the original trilogy was sold at the same auction where R2-D2 created history. Like the latter, its owner is unknown.
TIE fighter model
Year used: 1977
Auctioned for USD 402,400 (Rs 3,21,45,844)
One of the most expensive Star Wars items ever sold at auction is a tiny model of a TIE fighter that was featured in the first film of the original trilogy. Sold by Profiles In History, the 18-inch model was part of a huge collection of Hollywood props that also included the iconic hoverboard of Michael J. Fox’s character, Marty McFly, in the Back to the Future films.
Year used: 1980
Auctioned for USD 276,750 (Rs 2,21,08,256)
Snowtrooper helmets are among the rarest Star Wars items ever seen outside of films. In August 2012, Live Auctioneers sold a snowtrooper helmet in its original condition. It fetched more than thrice its minimum listed value because of its attributes. According to the auction house, the helmet was used on-screen during the epic battle scenes on the planet Hoth in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. The helmet came with the white vinyl wind, snow shields and green lenses that distinguished a snowtrooper from other Imperial troopers.
Kenner Star Wars Boba Fett prototype
Year produced: 1979
Auctioned for USD 236,000 (Rs 1,88,52,930)
Everyone who is a fan of Star Wars knows the name of the most famous bounty hunter in the galaxy. It is not a surprise, therefore, that all rare Boba Fett toys have gone for high prices at auctions. However, this particular Fett figure set a sales record for several reasons.
The figure was made by toymaker Kenner in 1979, a year before the character made its big-screen debut in the second film of the original trilogy. Measuring 3.75 inches, only a handful were made for testing purposes. They came with a plastic missile that could be fired as a projectile. Due to safety concerns, the makers did not go ahead with mass production of the figure. Instead, they chose to sell a Boba Fett toy with a non-firing missile. This made the original test toys, of which only about 25 remain, extremely rare.
The most recent Boba Fett action figure was sold in June 2022 at a Star Wars Special Event Auction by Hake’s Auctions in York, Pennsylvania, US. The unpainted prototype came in a laser-cut casing, which displayed its L-Slot (shaped like an inverted L) rocket-firing mechanism.
This was the fourth such Boba Fett figurine sold by Hake’s Auctions since 2018. Three L-Slot prototypes were sold for USD 86,383 (Rs 69,00,731) in March 2018, USD 112,926 (Rs 90,21,127) in July 2019 and USD 165,200 (Rs 1,31,88,989) in June 2021. A rare J-Slot prototype was sold in March 2022 for USD 204,435 (Rs 1,63,21,374).
Han Solo’s leather jacket
Year used: 2015
Auctioned for USD 191,000 (Rs 1,52,48,771)
The leather jacket that Harrison Ford wore in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) was in great demand. This explains its selling price, which was over 11 times its listed price. Unlike other items, the auction of the jacket was held on IfOnly.com in April 2016 to benefit FACES (Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures), a non-profit connected to NYU Langone Medical Center.
The jacket was described as “custom-made, one-of-a-kind” and bore Ford’s signature. The sale also had a personal connection to Ford as FACES had treated his daughter’s epilepsy years ago.
Another reason the jacket may have fetched a high price could be because the film marked the last screen appearance of Ford as Han Solo, as the character was killed off in it.
The head of Chewbacca
Years used: 1978-1983
Auctioned for USD 172,200 (Rs 1,37,47,845)
Chewbacca is one of the most famous characters in the Star Wars universe. The towering Wookie is a loyal friend of Han Solo and has, on more than one occasion, saved everyone’s lives at great personal risk.
Peter Mayhew played the character in all Star Wars films from the first till Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015). He retired from the role due to ill health and passed away in 2019.
In July 2012, the hairy headpiece of Chewbacca that was part of Mayhew’s costume was auctioned by Profiles In History in San Fernando Valley, California.
The headpiece was worn in all three films of the original trilogy. One of the only five ever made, it was described as the finest ‘screen correct’ Chewbacca headpiece in private ownership at the time, and everything from its jaw to tongue was in place.
Sketchbook of original Star Wars costume designs
Years used: 1975-76
Auctioned for USD 149,671 (Rs 1,19,49,208)
The costumes of nearly every Star Wars character have a distinct identity. And only one individual was primarily involved in the design process of the original outfits — the late John Mollo. The British designer won his first Oscar for designing the costume in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
In December 2018, the sketchbook titled ‘Notes & Sketches 1,’ containing the concept art and other notes regarding the film written and drawn by Mollo, was auctioned at Bonhams in London, UK. Among the sketches in the book are detailed designs of Death Star gunners and costumes of stormtroopers.
Stormtrooper helmet signed by the cast of Force Awakens
Years used: 2015
Auctioned for USD 121,100 (Rs 96,68,200)
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) is the first film in the sequel trilogy and was notable for introducing a series of outstanding new characters to the Star Wars lore.
A stormtrooper helmet, which was signed by prominent members of the film’s cast, was sold to benefit the Terrence Higgins Trust in March 2016 by Christie’s. According to the auction house, the helmet was used on-screen.
The signatures on the helmet were of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniel and Peter Mayhew.
The maximum estimated price of the helmet? Just USD 14,000 (Rs 11,17,711). Given the price it eventually realised, the helmet is certainly one of the most expensive Star Wars items anyone could have in possession.
A Bakelite blaster
Years used: 1977
Auctioned for USD 104,550 (Rs 83,46,906)
In the same auction where Chewbacca’s head was sold, a classic blaster used in the first Star Wars film also went under the hammer. It was the first-ever auction of a blaster from the film series. The blaster fetched a high price because it was one of the two made of Bakelite stock.
For the uninitiated, a blaster is a type of an assault rifle that fires laser bolts. It is mostly used by the clone troopers and stormtroopers across the Star Wars mythology.
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s cloak
Year used: 1977
Auctioned for USD 104,200 (Rs 83,18,963)
Speaking of prized outfits, Star Wars fans consider the brown cloak that the late Alec Guinness wore in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope as a sacred garment. Guinness played the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, marking the first on-screen appearance of the legendary Jedi who would go on to command his own fan-following and a titular Disney+ show.
The cloak was sold as part of a major auction of movie and television memorabilia in London in March 2007.
Princess Leia’s slave costume
Year used: 1983
Auctioned for USD 96,000 (Rs 76,64,304)
Fisher perhaps created one of the most unforgettable pop-culture moments in Star Wars cinematic history with her gold bikini costume in the third film of the original trilogy — Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983).
Famously dubbed by fans as the ‘Slave Leia’ bikini, the skimpy outfit was sold at the same auction where the blockade runner went under the hammer.
It came along with the collar and chain links in which the alien gangster Jabba the Hutt imprisoned Leia in the film. Leia would later use the same chain to strangle Jabba. A letter from designer Richard Miller certifying the authenticity of the costume was also part of the lot.
The item remains one of the most prized outfits for fans of the franchise because of its association with Fisher and the character she immortalised on screen.
Vinyl cape Jawa toy
Year released: mid- to the late 1970s
Auctioned for: USD 27,648 (Rs 22,07,319)
Though not as expensive as others on this list, Star Wars figures based on the Jawa, a sentient species on Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine, are incredibly popular.
Sold in May 2017 by Vectis Auctions Ltd, this Jawa figure was in the news for its exclusivity and its perfect condition. It was made by Palitoy in Leicester. At the time of its sale, only about five or six of its kind were left in the world.
What makes the toy unique is the cape on the Jawa character, which is made of vinyl instead of fabric.
The auction was held in the small town of Thornaby-on-Tees in England as part of the Star Wars 40th Anniversary sale. It was estimated to fetch a maximum of USD 12,800 at the time. Vectis Auctions Ltd. had on a previous occasion sold a different vinyl cape Jawa figure.
Several other Star Wars toys and figures have been sold over the years in five-figure sums. These include a combined set of seven figurines, including Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian, from the second film of the original trilogy, which was sold for USD 32,500 (Rs 25,94,686) at Sotheby’s in December 2015. Others include the Luke Skywalker toy figure with a double-telescoping lightsaber, which sold for USD 25,000 (Rs 19,95,912) in 2015, and the extremely rare action figure of Vlix from Glasslite’s 1988 ‘Droids’ toyline, which was sold by Hakes for USD 45,430 (Rs 36,26,972) in 2018.
(Main image: © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved./IMDb; Featured image: Prop Store Auction)
This story first appeared on Augustman Malaysia