The model of a Star Wars X-wing starfighter – an original prop used in filming the original Star Wars movie A New Hope – has sold for a record-setting $3.135 million at a Heritage Auction in Dallas, Texas over the weekend.
The model X-wing was a piece from the collection of the late Oscar-nominated VFX specialist and model maker Greg Jein (Star Trek movies, Avatar, Oblivion, Interstellar), which had been thought lost for decades before turning up in one of the boxes found Jein’s garage, following his death in May of 2022.
“Heritage just set the record for the most expensive Star Wars screen-used prop sold at auction,” Joe Maddalena, exec vp Hollywood/entertainment memorabilia at Heritage Auctions, said in a statement to THR. “The worldwide response to the Greg Jein collections has been outstanding, a true testament to Greg and all he accomplished as visual effects artist and collector.”
According to specs of the model provided at auction, this model X-wing was built by Industrial Light & Magic to be flown by “Red Leader” (or “Red One”) in the climatic space dogfight between the Rebel Alliance and The Empire’s Death Star base. The model is “one of just four ‘hero’ filming miniatures with articulating servo-controlled wings and lights, used for close-up shots of the dogfight during the final battle, including the iconic trench run sequence.
VFX historian Gene Kozicki explained to THR just how significant this particular Star Wars prop really is: “This model has not been displayed or modified since it left ILM. For those of us that grew up in the ’70s or ’80s, and those of us that work in visual effects, this model is as significant a find as the ruby red slippers or the Maltese Falcon.”
He added that this particular X-wing model had become more than a mystery when it went missing: it became a myth of the industry: “It became something of a mythical ‘white whale’ — the missing Star Wars X-wing.”
Obviously these days Star Wars Memorabilia is a major source of value and wealth. Auctions of props, costumes, artwork, and other elements of various Star Wars productions routinely sell for high price at auction, and/or end up in the collections of passionate (read: wealthy) collectors. The record-setting price for this model X-wing makes sense given the ‘mythical’ status it earned during its years being lost.
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