A ‘Star Wars’ Spacecraft Model, Found Hidden Away in Storage, Rakes in a Whopping $3.1 Million at Auction

It was the highest price ever paid for an onscreen "Star Wars" prop.

The X-wing fighter model. Courtesy Heritage Auctions.

A model X-wing fighter featured in the final attack on the Death Star in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope has sold at auction for $3.1 million—a record for an onscreen Star Wars prop.

The 22-inch miniature was one of more than 500 props, scripts, and Hollywood memorabilia collected by the late visual effects artist Greg Jein and sold at Heritage Auctions in Dallas on October 14 and 15. Jein’s friends found the X-wing in a cardboard box as they sorted through his vast collection that was spread across various properties and storage units in Los Angeles.

“The success of this auction was a profound testament to Greg Jein as both a visual-effects master and one of the great collectors,” said Joe Maddalena, executive vice president of Heritage Auctions. “This event exceeded my expectations.”

Jein, who died in 2022, was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on Steven Spielberg’s 1978 science fiction adventure Close Encounters of the Third Kind and again in 1980 for his work on Spielberg’s war comedy 1941. 

The two-day event drew hundreds of science fiction fans, with Heritage Auctions calling it their best-attended auction in years. By the weekend’s conclusion, the Jein collection had netted $13.6 million, the second-highest-grossing Hollywood auction ever after actor Debbie Reynolds’s collection, which sold for $22.8 million and included the white subway dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch.

x-wing star wars

The X-wing fighter model. Courtesy Heritage Auctions.

The X-wing was one of four hero models created for A New Hope. Built by George Lucas’ special effects studio. Hero models, as opposed to pyro models, were designed to be seen in close up shots and featured motorized wings, fiber optic lighting, laser cannons, and a cooling system to prevent the model from melting. A similar model sold for $2.4 million in 2022.

Although Star Wars’s X-wing drew the most attention, Jein’s true passion was Star Trek, a show he built models for in the late 1980s, and this was reflected in Dallas, with around half the lots connected to the long-running television series.

A model of the Galileo shuttlecraft from the original series in the 1960s sold for $225,000, and a model SS Botany Bay sold for $200,000, as did a collection of more than 300 scripts by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

2001: A Space Odyssey

The Astronaut Space Suit from 2001: A Space Odyssey sold for $645,000. Courtesy Heritage Auctions.

Other notable lots included a spacesuit from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which sold for $645,000, a belt from the Batman television series of the 1960s, which sold for $36,000, and an Imperial Stormtrooper costume from Star Wars that sold for $645,000.


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