From Star Wars Action Figures To Film Props
The Most Expensive Movie Memorabilia
Sometimes a movie is more than just a movie. Like a classic album it warrants repeat plays. Like a favourite book it reveals more each time you revisit it, deserving a special place on the shelf. We all have at least one movie that we love to watch over and over. We know the dialogue off by heart, waiting impatiently for our favourite scene. It's more than just a movie, it's a part of us. And for many, owning a part of that movie helps deepen that connection. So, with Star Wars The Force Awakens finally hitting the cinemas, we take a look at the big business of movie memorabilia. Find out what the most expensive pieces ever sold were and prepare to be amazed at how much people are willing to pay for their own piece of Tinseltown.
Ok, so before we go any further though I need to be come clean about something.
I'm a bit of a geek.
Yes, I know you may be very surprised to hear that, I, somebody who sits in front of a computer and writes stuff for the internet all day have nerdy inclinations, but it's true.
And right now I'm excited. So excited even the lingering, steaming menace of Jar Jar can't blunt my enthusiasm. Han and Chewie are back and I've got my ticket to see them.
With that prospect I've fully regressed to a child. Why just this morning I had a mock lightsabre battle with a colleague while brandishing my breakfast baguette - veeeeooww-wuv-wuv--wuv-kish!
You might think that's a bit sad, but I don't even factor on the geek scale. There are some serious uber-geeks out there. The ones who still have all their original Star Wars figures – and all of them still in their original packaging!
Collectors – they're the most die-hard geeks of all. And many of them, as you shall see, are clearly loaded.
Boys With Toys
Before George Lucas went a bit funny and went on a goofy CGI rampage, he was a promising young director with sharp business sense. Following the success of American Graffiti he offered to take a paycut on his director's salary in exchange for all merchandising rights plus the rights for any resulting sequels for his new project, Star Wars. Fox, who expected Star Wars to be just another sci-fi b-movie, agreed. This deal, plus his recent rights sale to Disney, means Lucas' net worth is a cool $5.1 billion.
Star Wars toys always were on the pricy side, but today, 38 years after the release of the first movie, Star Wars merchandise still commands a high premium.
Want an original, mint condition 70s-era Darth Vader action figure still in its original packaging? We tracked one down on eBay – it'll only set you back £1,770!
A More Elegant Weapon For A More Civilized Age
Despite being famous throughout the galaxy for their terrible aim, original Imperial Stormtrooper helmets still command a huge price. We found an auction where you can buy some genuine Star Wars movie helmets with an estimated selling price of between £40,000 to £60,000. These aren't the cheap stocking fillers you are looking for.
Of course a whole legion of Imperial Stormtroopers can't compete with the power of the Jedi. Which is probably why Luke Skywalker's lightsabre from the original 1977 Star Wars movie sold for $240,000 at auction!
According to Han Solo, "ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster!" Han Solo's original blaster sold for $200,000, so slightly cheaper too.
Star Wars may have made Harrison Ford a superstar, but it was his role as Deckard, in Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Bladerunner, that turned him into a true geek god. So much so that one superfan paid $270,000 for Deckard’s gun
It's Only A Model!
Now, can you think of a sci-fi franchise that's even geekier than Star Wars? I'll give you a hint, it also has the word Star in the title. That's right, Star Trek. Star Trek may not have the merchandise like Star Wars but that doesn't mean fans aren't willing to spend a fortune on toys. Case in point the Enterprise from Star Trek The Next Generation, the actual model of the NCC-1701D used in the show, sold at auction for $576,000!
JJ Abrahms, the man currently at the helm of both Star franchises, has expressed a desire to return Star Wars to its roots, with more practical effects and less CGI – something that's bound to be popular with collectors of memorabilia.
The 1980s was a golden age for practical effects and Lucas' own Industrial Light and Magic were at the forefront working with everyone from Stephen Spielberg to Muppet-maestro Jim Henson.
Another giant in the field was the late, great Stan Winston, who gave us many of cinema's greatest movie monsters including the Thing, the Predator, the Queen from Aliens and the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. The highlight of his career, however, has to be his work on James Cameron's Terminator movies. The massive-grossing sequel Terminator 2 Judgement Day, while best known today for its pioneering digital effects, also made heavy use of models. One such model, a T-800 endoskeleton created by Stan Winston, sold at auction for $488,750.
Movie robots are a popular choice with collectors and can range from the (relatively) low price of £3,000 for a Cylon head from the original 70s Battlestar Galactica, £4,000 for a Dalek and £6,000 for one of the attack robots from the Mars Attacks. As giant attack robots go it's a bargain, if you'd rather have a Jaeger from Pacific Rim expect to pay $25,000 – and no, it's not full size.
The Most Expensive Movie Cars
Having a small model robot's nothing compared to getting inside the cockpit of one of cinema's greatest vehicles. A Batmobile cockpit mock-up, used for internal shots with Michael Keaton in the 1991 movie Batman Returns, sold at auction for $49,995.
Of course if you want to own the full car you can expect to pay at least ten times that. The General Lee, from the 80s TV show The Dukes Of Hazard, for example, sold for $450,000. Though that redneck jalopy was nothing when compared with KITT from Knight Rider, except that, in reality, there was more than one KITT selling from between $150,000 to $300,000.
Still in the 80s the DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future sold for £541,200. Add an extra £4,750 for that copy of Greys Sports Almanac (also auctioned off) and the future is yours to remake as you please.
Fancy something a bit more robust and retro that still flies? Well, maybe you can talk Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson into selling you Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which he bought for $805,000.
The ultimate all-terrain vehicle, however, has to be the sub-aquatic Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me, which sold for $997,000. The 007 car itself isn't really sea worthy but it was bought by one of the biggest geeks of them all, Silicon Valley supernerd and Darth Vader wanna-be, Elon Musk, who claims he's going to give it an "upgrade".
But surely the Q-Branch chop shop's finest hour was Sean Connery's Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger, which sold at auction in 2010 for $4,408,456. In this instance no upgrades were required, the car came with fully operational machine gun turrets and revolving number plates, naturally, though I'm not sure about the ejector seat.
Driving James Bond's car would be a dream come true for blokes like me, but then the ladies may have a different definition of travelling with style. A pair of ruby slippers from the Wizard Of Oz, while clearly lacking machine gun turrets, will get you home with just a click of the heels. Some manic fan must have thought the slippers really were magic, or covered in rubies at least, when they paid $660,000 for the slippers worn by Judy Garland the 1939 classic.
Still, that's nothing compared to the price tag on Marilyn Monroe's dress from The Seven Year Itch. Yes THE dress, the one that gets blown up by the subway vent – as movie outfits go it's about as iconic as it gets, which is why it's our most expensive movie prop ever sold, at $4.6 million. At today's current exchange rate that comes in at approximately £3.06 million!
"Never Tell Me The Odds!"
If you're passionate about movies, like I am, and want to own a piece for yourself you're going to need some serious cash. Luckily you have a chance to win that sort of cash and it'll only cost you two quid.
Ignore those C3PO killjoys who love to broadcast the odds without being asked to – the Force is strongest with those who ignore the odds and set a course for adventure instead.
To succeed you must first believe – if you do not believe you will fail. In the immortal words of Master Yoda, "Do or do not, there is no try"
So DO make sure you DO NOT miss your chance to bet and win on our massive MegaMillions Special Jackpot worth £368 million! Very rich you might be this Christmas, hmm?