Continuing Its Populist Turn, Sotheby’s Will Stage a Second ‘Star Wars’ Auction. (Sorry, Baby Yoda Won’t Be on the Block)

Also on offer are rare promotional posters from when "Star Wars" hit Russia, and a Han Solo laser pistol.

Prototype of an Imperial Stormtrooper helmet (1976) from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (est. £30,000 - 60,000). Image courtesy of Sotheby's.
Prototype of an Imperial Stormtrooper helmet (1976) from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (est. £30,000 - 60,000). Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Star Wars fever is at an all-time high, between the Baby Yoda frenzy caused by Disney+ series The Mandolorian and the anticipation of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, opening December 20th. So it’s apt timing for a new Sotheby’s London sale of Star Wars paraphernalia. Cheekily dubbed “Star Wars: Return of the Auction”—it’s Sotheby’s second Star Wars-related sale—the online auction closes on December 13.

Return of the Jedi promotional C-3PO helmet (est. £15,000 – 25,000). Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

The most notable item among the 100 lots is a prototype of the iconic Imperial Stormtrooper helmet from Star Wars: Episode IVA New Hope (1977), estimated to go between £30,000 – 60,000 ($38,80077,600). 

The Empire Strikes Back character size gauge chart by Ivor Beddoes (1978-79) (est. £10,000 – 15,000). Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Also on the high end is a shiny gold promotional C-3PO head from Return of the Jedi (1983) estimated at £15,000 – 25,000 ($19,40032,300); the original 1977 concept art for the American promotional campaign by Tom Jung, estimated at £15,000 – 20,000 ($19,400 – 25,800); and a character size chart made for the effects model-making department (the little Jawa being the smallest, and Chewbacca being the biggest, with Yoda—a late addition to the film—being notably absent) by storyboard artist Ivor Beddoes for The Empire Strikes Back (1980), estimated at £10,00015,000 ($12,90019,400).

Han Solo 12-inch figure (1978) (est. £400 – 600). Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Other noteworthy lots include a rare poster for the Russian theatrical run of the first Star Wars film, which did not reach Russia until 1990; an 8-inch AM radio in the shape of R2-D2, only available to winners of a contest run by Coca-Cola in Japan; and a Han Solo laser pistol still in its original packaging.

Christmas card and envelope (1980) (est. £100 – 200). Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

The previous Sotheby’s Star Wars auction in 2015 was more idiosyncratic, and arguably more interesting. Named “Return of the NIGO”—the sale was made up entirely of Japanese fashion designer NIGO’s super-collection—the auction featured a Hungarian Boba Fett toy alongside oddities like cookie jars, a 42-inch Chewbacca plush toy, and a Darth Vader lightsaber signed by James Earl Jones.

 

Most of the NIGO collection went above estimate, with the highlight being a Canadian 7-pack of figurines that went for $32,500. The NIGO sale took in over $500,000. We’ll see if the force is still with Sotheby’s this second time around.


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