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Rare Star Wars memorabilia up for auction in London

A selection of rare Star Wars props and costumes will lead a major sale of movie memorabilia in London this month.

The Prop Store auction takes place at the BFI IMAX cinema on September 26, and looks set to achieve more than £2 million.

Leading the sale is a piece of Star Wars history that didn’t appear in front of the camera – because it was the camera.

The special ‘Empireflex’ camera was designed by Industrial Light and Magic to film effects sequences for The Empire Strikes Back, and was later used in productions such as the Indiana Jones films and the Back to the Future trilogy.

Having helped film some of cinema’s most magical sequences of the past 35 years, the camera is now heading for the block with an estimate of £200,000 – £300,000 ($259,000 – $388,800).

For true Star Wars tech fans there’s also an original flatbed editing table used by George Lucas to cut scenes together during Empire’s post-production, estimated at £10,000 – £15,000 ($13,000 – $19,500).

The most valuable prop on offer is a Return of the Jedi Y-Wing fighter miniature, built for the film’s climactic space battle above Endor.

Hand-painted with a battle-scarred finish, and complete with its own astromech droid, the fighter is also fitted with lightbulbs in the nacelles to give the appearance of burning ion jet engines.

Screen-used spaceship models are amongst the most sought-after of all Star Wars memorabilia, and this rare Y-Wing is expected to sell for £100,000 – £200,000 ($169,000 – $259,000).

Another standout lot is a C3-P0 head used by the ILM effects department during filming of The Empire Strikes Back.

The head was originally designed as a costume piece for actor Anthony Daniels, but the vacuum-formed plastic shrank during manufacture leaving it too small to wear comfortably.

It was then adapted by the ILM team, for use during shots of C3-P0 being dismantled by Cloud City scavengers. Still retaining much of its original metallic finish, the helmet comes with an estimate of £60,000 – £80,000 ($77,750 – $103,700).

Further top lots from a galaxy far, far away include an original Darth Vader helmet used during publicity tours and marketing of The Empire Strikes Back; and a Snowtrooper helmet and backpack made during production on the film in 1980.

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