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Star Wars - original Darth Vader Helmet Featured

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Listing Details

Date
Dec 12th, 2003
Sold for
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Auction House
Profiles in History Hollywood Auction 17
Darth Vader’s distinctive look was originally hewn from an unassuming lump of clay by Brian Mure, a sculptor who was given very short notice to create the helmet and mask. He worked from a rough sketch drawn on a piece of paper by Norman Reynolds (assistant production designer on Star Wars), which was much simpler in design than the samurai-type protective helmet originally designed by renowned artist Ralph McQuarrie. Mure sculpted the entire head of Darth Vader, perhaps the most recognizable silver-screen villain of the past 50 years, in just two days. The character was then brought to life on film by David Prowse (in costume) and James Earl Jones (in voice).
Originally created for and used in the production of The Empire Strikes Back, the stunning costume pieces offered here were repainted in June, 1992 by Lucasfilm resident archivist Don Bies, who then personally reassembled and mounted the pieces in an oversize, museum-quality Plexiglas display case, custom fabricated under his direct supervision. The finished piece was then sold at an Animal Rights Foundation auction held at the Directors Guild of America (Hollywood, CA) in October, 1992.

Accompanying the helmet, mask and shoulder armor are a number of important pieces of provenance, directly tying these magnificent costume pieces to Lucasfilm. Crowning the archive is a signed Letter of Authenticity from George Lucas himself, on Lucasfilm Ltd. stationery, dated July 29, 1992:

“This letter is to confirm that I have personally examined the ‘Darth Vader Mask and Helmet’ and that it is an original, authentic piece of costume created by Lucasfilm Ltd in 1980 which was used in the film entitled ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.

Sincerely,
George Lucas (signed)
Executive Producer”


Additional documentation includes:

1. The original Los Angeles Times advertisement promoting the Darth Vader helmet and armor at a charity auction to benefit the Artists Rights Foundation (of which George Lucas was a supporter) which was held at the Directors Guild of America on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, California on October 28, 1992.

2. A flyer promoting the auction which was distributed locally in Los Angeles, CA, which mentions the Darth Vader helmet and armor.

3. The actual Christie’s bidder paddle used to bidding on and win the Darth Vader helmet and armor at the auction. (Christie’s supervised the event).

4. The original two-volume Hollywood Memorabilia Auction catalog from the charity auction, with the Darth Vader helmet and armor listed.

5. The Christies receipt for the purchase of the Darth Vader helmet and shoulder armor.

6. A letter on the “Care and handling instructions” of the piece hand signed by Lucasfilm archivist Don Bies.

7. A number of 5x7 and 8x10 photographs of the piece being restored (from production usage) by Don Bies at the Star Wars Archives at George Lucas’ renowned Skywalker Ranch in Marin Country, California.

8. A Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back autographed color 8x10 photograph of Darth Vader pictured in a star field, hand signed by both David Prowse, who wore the Darth Vader costume during filming and James Earl Jones, who provided the voice of the Darth Vader.


The lot also comes with a business card from the Director of the Artists Rights Foundation along with a brochure discussing the goals of his organization, and Don Bies’ Lucasfilm business card with his title.
Original Star Wars production artifacts are extremely scarce, and “Hero” Star Wars wardrobe pieces are almost impossible to find.

In the twenty-five years since the premiere of Star Wars, only a few examples of actual Star Wars or Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back production artifacts, procured directly from the Lucasfilm Archives and authenticated personally by George Lucas, are known to exist, including a C-3PO hand, an Imperial Walker miniature, and the impressive Darth Vader costume pieces presented here.

With impeccable provenance, this is one of the finest pieces of Star Wars memorabilia ever offered to the public and, without question, the most desirable original Star Wars production artifact one could ever hope to own.

$40,000 – $60,000





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