Popular Culture: Film and Entertainment
25 November 2010, Christie’s South Kensington
London – Christie’s announce that an exceptionally rare Darth Vader costume will lead the auction of Popular Culture: Film and Entertainment at South Kensington on 25 November 2010. One of the most recognisable and infamous characters in the history of film, Darth Vader played a central role in the story of Star Wars, the epic film series made by George Lucas. The main components of this costume, including the helmet and mask, are considered to have been production-made for The Empire Strikes Back. The costume is expected to realise £160,000 to £230,000 and the vendor will donate a percentage of the proceeds to benefit Cancer Research UK.
Neil Roberts, Head of the Popular Culture department at Christie’s, London: “Darth Vader is defined by his costume which has made him one of the most recognized characters from the history of film. The global appeal of the Star Wars films, and the interest that the series has attracted from a number of generations, is perhaps unprecedented in the world of cinema. Christie’s have sold some incredible relics from popular culture in the past from Dorothy’s red slippers from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to a dress made for Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’; arguably the Darth Vader costume is the most iconic of all. We look forward to presenting the costume at auction at Christie’s South Kensington in November, and to presenting a rare opportunity to Star Wars fans around the world.”
The present costume is exceptionally rare and the helmet, mask, shoulder armour and shin guards are considered to have been production made for the second film in the franchise; The Empire Strikes Back, released in 1980. While there are limited public records of the costumes produced and used for the first Star Wars trilogy, the helmet, mask and shoulder armour from the present example have a provenance leading back to the film studios around the time of production.
The costume was acquired by the present owner in 2003. This is the first complete costume to be offered at auction. The present owner is an American private collector. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to Cancer Research UK.
# # #
Images available on request
Visit Christie’s Web site at www.christies.com
Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).
Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.
Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.
Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats.
Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.
Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.