There is no more desirable collectible for a fan than owning a prop from their favourite movie. And when a movie is as popular as Star Wars, props can go for insane amounts of money. However, that also means people can be arseholes and make fakes, so you want to be extra sure it’s the real thing before buying, or selling, what’s being touted as an authentic prop.
This week, Profiles in History, a well-regarded auction house for Hollywood memorabilia, wasn’t sure. It was set to auction off a Luke Skywalker lightsaber from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope — a prop said to be one of five used on the set, designed by set decorator Roger Christian, and complete with a letter of authenticity from Christian.
Now, for a Star Wars fan? That’s pretty much as good as it gets, so obviously the media began picking up on it. The prop was expected to sell north of $200,000.
Things took a turn Monday, however, when Profiles announced it had pulled the lightsaber from the auction, according to Reuters.
“In light of conflicting information regarding the origin of Roger Christian’s Lightsaber, Profiles in History has decided to withdraw the piece from this auction until Mr. Christian can clear up the inconsistencies that have been brought to our attention,” Joe Maddalena, the chief executive for Profiles in History, said in a statement.
Reuters was unable to get a statement from Christian. However, this story has an odd twist.
Last week, Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, called this very item into question on his Twitter.
Be Advised-There was no ONE lightsaber I used in the films, but many, MANY, both for myself & my stunt-double. Multiple duplicate back-up props are commonplace during production-When the handle ridges were cutting my hands, they even made a few w/ soft sponge ridges! #BuyerBeware https://t.co/C6Tv4TGIPy
— MarkHoHoHoHamill (@HamillHimself) December 4, 2018
Which, of course, is true. This isn’t the first lightsaber to be sold at auction (and not the first to be sold by Profiles in History, in fact), but it was odd anyway. Christian then responded to Hamill’s tweet.
I made them myself and gave to the special effects 1 to add the wood dowel blade to catch light. I hand made every prop and prototypes of every weapon. https://t.co/8njYD38gTG
— Roger J Christian (@roger_christian) December 4, 2018
OK. Hamill then responded.
You would be much more informed on this subject than I am, Roger. I'm not suggesting the auction is being dishonest in any way, only pointing out there is no ONE specific lightsaber used. https://t.co/4uOfbKCt9R
— MarkHoHoHoHamill (@HamillHimself) December 5, 2018
In the end, it seemed to be a very cordially-resolved miscommunication between icons—but what happened here, exactly? We don’t know. But obviously if you are going to spend that kind of money, you better be sure. And Profiles in History, obviously, was not.
Even without the lightsaber, the auction still has some amazing stuff in it and is going on today. Read more about it here.