'Star Wars' X-Wing prop hits target selling for £1.9m at auction

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·3 min read
Screen-Matched ILM Red Leader X-wing Model-Miniature from Star Wars: A New Hope (Propstore)
Screen-Matched ILM Red Leader X-wing Model-Miniature from Star Wars: A New Hope (Propstore)

A miniature X-wing model that appeared on screen in 1977's Star Wars has sold at auction for $2,375,000 (£1,938,000), far exceeding its guide price of $500,000-$1,000,000.

The screen-matched Red Leader X-wing was one of many lots sold in the first day of Propstore's Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction which is being held across four days at their US headquarters from 21-24 June 2022.

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Other big sales include a screen-matched Wilson volleyball that appeared with Tom Hanks in the 2000 movie Cast Away which sold for $187,500 (£153,000), Henry Jones Sr's Grail Diary from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) which fetched $187,500 (£153,000), and a Mjolnir wielded by Chris Hemsworth in 2011's Thor (2011) which sold for $162,500 (£132,600).

Tom Hanks finds friendship in the shape of a volleyball called Wilson in Cast Away. (20th Century Fox/DreamWorks)
Tom Hanks finds friendship in the shape of a volleyball called Wilson in Cast Away. (20th Century Fox/DreamWorks)

The Red Leader X-wing — which is 22 inches long — was used by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) during the production of Star Wars.

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Red Leader played heavily in the film's final battle sequence: the attack on the Death Star. The character wore a unique gold-coloured helmet and his X-wing fighter was marked with a single red stripe on each wing, signifying his call sign as Red One.

The X-wing, like much of Star Wars, was born out of a concept from Lucas himself. He imagined the ship as a dragster with a long body and a pilot on the back, and early concept designer Colin Cantwell was credited for adding the X-shaped wings.

Cantwell also built the first physical prototype of the craft. Cantwell sadly died earlier this year.

Screen-Matched ILM Red Leader X-wing Model-Miniature from Star Wars: A New Hope (Propstore)
Screen-Matched ILM Red Leader X-wing Model-Miniature from Star Wars: A New Hope (Propstore)

From there, visual effects art director Joe Johnston refined the design into the famous ship known today.

Genuine Star Wars models are amongst the rarest of artefacts from the films, and this is believed to be the only intact X-wing model from the original Star Wars that exists in a private collection.

A photomatched 1976 Pyro X-Wing Starfighter model miniature from the 1977 film
A photomatched 1976 Pyro X-Wing Starfighter model miniature from the 1977 film Star Wars: A New Hope is displayed at Propstore. (AFP via Getty Images)

No other high-quality pyro models are known to have survived filming, and the hero models that survived are in the collection of George Lucas. The model is screen-matched to a memorable shot in the film and photo-matched to multiple behind-the-scenes production shots, providing unquestionable authenticity.

The Propstore Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction continues until Friday.

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