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    Description

    "Darth Vader" helmet, facemask and chest armor from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with Lucasfilm Ltd. signed letter of authenticity from George Lucas. (TCF, 1980) Lucasfilm Ltd. donated this historic piece for a charity auction to benefit the Artists Rights Foundation held by Christie's on October 23, 1992 at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. George Lucas' office instructed Lucasfilm archivist Don Bies to pull one of the existing Darth Vader helmets from the archives and make it presentable for the auction. Apparently Stan Winston and Steven Spielberg had both donated major prop pieces for the auction and Lucas allegedly want to "beat" them with a more impressive item. The helmet and chest armor that Bies selected had sustained damage over the years with many missing elements. Bies personally performed a full restoration and professionally repainted the helmet to its current museum display condition before mounting it in a custom acrylic exhibition case measuring 32 x 18 x 27 in. During the extensive restoration process, missing details were added back to the facemask such as the two turned aluminum "atmospheric sensors" on both sides of the vent. In addition, the shoulder armor was repainted with metallic gray accents added to the shoulder bells. A plaque mounted in the interior of the display case reads, "Authentic Darth Vader Mask & Helmet from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back". Accompanying the helmet and chest armor is extraordinary support documentation, directly tying these costume pieces to Lucasfilm, including a signed letter of authenticity from George Lucas, himself, on Lucasfilm, Ltd. stationery, dated July 29, 1992, stating (in full): To Whom It May Concern: 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. Accompanied with a 3-ring binder containing the additional documentation: 1) Los Angeles Times advertisement promoting the Darth Vader helmet at the charity auction to benefit the Artists Rights Foundation (of which George Lucas was a supporter) to be held on October 28, 1992; 2) a flyer promoting the auction mentioning the Darth Vader helmet; 3) the Christie's bidder paddle used to win the Vader helmet in the sale; 4) the original 2-volume Hollywood Memorabilia Auction catalog from the charity auction; 5) the Christie's receipt for the purchase of the Vader helmet; 6) a "Care and feeding your Darth Vader" instruction letter hand signed by Don Bies on Lucasfilm Ltd. letterhead stationery; 7) (32) photographs (5 x 7 and 8 x 10 in.) of the piece being extensively restored by Don Bies at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, California. Certain aspects of the facemask, such as the interior diamond-shaped metal mesh located behind the mouth and chin vent as well as well as the helmet-to-facemask mounting ring suggest that the helmet and shoulders came from an ILM built tour suit. However, we recently reached out to Mr. Bies and he stated, that at the time of the auction, the Vader pieces that were in better condition were being used actively for personal appearances, so he suggested using one "that was more beat up and restoring it, to which they [Lucas' office] agreed." He continued, "I assumed the Vader pieces in the Lucasfilm Archives at that time were original, but I have been told since (by far more dedicated Vader fans) that some were used for personal appearances. With that, I have no idea which one is used. I know it was in rough condition with missing pieces." The latest information notwithstanding, this Darth Vader mask and helmet has the best documentation of any specimen in the world. Given the amount of restoration, it is not possible to determine screen use with absolute certainty. During the time when the original Star Wars films were being produced, the Archives did not have the strict, curated process that they do today. If production requested a helmet, someone would go into the archives and take the best one that suited the request. $100,000 - $150,000 To Whom It May Concern: 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. Accompanied with a 3-ring binder containing the additional documentation: 1) Los Angeles Times advertisement promoting the Darth Vader helmet at the charity auction to benefit the Artists Rights Foundation (of which George Lucas was a supporter) to be held on October 28, 1992; 2) a flyer promoting the auction mentioning the Darth Vader helmet; 3) the Christie's bidder paddle used to win the Vader helmet in the sale; 4) the original 2-volume Hollywood Memorabilia Auction catalog from the charity auction; 5) the Christie's receipt for the purchase of the Vader helmet; 6) a "Care and feeding your Darth Vader" instruction letter hand signed by Don Bies on Lucasfilm Ltd. letterhead stationery; 7) (32) photographs (5 x 7 and 8 x 10 in.) of the piece being extensively restored by Don Bies at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, California. Certain aspects of the facemask, such as the interior diamond-shaped metal mesh located behind the mouth and chin vent as well as well as the helmet-to-facemask mounting ring suggest that the helmet and shoulders came from an ILM built tour suit. However, we recently reached out to Mr. Bies and he stated, that at the time of the auction, the Vader pieces that were in better condition were being used actively for personal appearances, so he suggested using one "that was more beat up and restoring it, to which they [Lucas' office] agreed." He continued, "I assumed the Vader pieces in the Lucasfilm Archives at that time were original, but I have been told since (by far more dedicated Vader fans) that some were recreations used for personal appearances. With that, I have no idea which one is used. I know it was in rough condition with missing pieces." The latest information notwithstanding, this Darth Vader mask and helmet has the best documentation of any specimen in the world. Given the amount of restoration, it is not possible to determine screen use with absolute certainty. During the time when the original Star Wars films were being produced, the Archives did not have the strict, curated process that they do today. If production requested a helmet, someone would go into the archives and take the best one that suited the request.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    17th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 27
    Sold on Dec 17, 2019 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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