By Hanna Rantala
LONDON (Reuters) – Star Wars villain Darth Vader’s gloves will be among the famous and familiar items from films, television and the world of music up for grabs in British memorabilia company Propstore’s annual live auction next month.
Returning to an in-person event following a pandemic pause, this year’s auction boasts an extended catalogue of over 1,500 lots with an estimated total worth of 11 million pounds ($12.3 million).
“This year is larger than ever before. We’ve added about 500 lots plus another day. It’s a big step up for us, which makes it that much more of an exciting event,” Propstore Chief Executive Stephen Lane told Reuters.
Highlights include the complete Superman costume worn by actor Christopher Reeve in the 1978-1987 “Superman” franchise, Vader’s black gloves from the first “Star Wars” movie in 1977 and a Bible that concealed a rock hammer in 1994’s “Shawshank Redemption”.
There is also a first-edition hardback copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” from 2001 and the Little Nellie pilot helmet worn by Sean Connery in the 1967 James Bond film “You Only Live Twice”.
Music memorabilia is being introduced as a new category this year, getting its own dedicated day.
Lane singled out Noel Gallagher’s Gibson Les Paul Silver Sparkle Florentine guitar from the “Be Here Now” album and tour, estimated at 300,000 to 500,000 pounds, as a key lot.
Music lovers can also bid for David Bowie’s Major Tom spacesuit from the “Ashes to Ashes” music video, Elvis Presley’s signed gun license application, George Harrison’s Dallas ‘E’ banjolele and Dave Grohl’s handwritten set list from Nirvana’s “Nevermind” tour.
Lane, who has been collecting props and costumes for over 30 years, said the current economic climate was boosting sales.
Propstore’s June auction in Los Angeles was a record-breaker with 2,000 lots selling for over $10 million, he said.
“It’s very interesting, we’ve seen this similarly in 2007 and 2008 when we had the big financial crash, that actually where there’s volatility in the markets, people look for fixed assets and items like these to invest their money into,” he said.
“They take it out of the currency markets and actually put it in something that’s more tangible. So, we’re seeing great success with our movie props and costume auctions.”
Propstore’s entertainment memorabilia live auction will be held at the BAFTA headquarters in central London, with bidding also available online or via telephone, Nov. 3-6.
(Reporting by Hanna Rantala; editing by Jonathan Oatis)