Darth Vader Costume From ‘Empire Strikes Back’ May Fetch Upwards of $2 Million at Auction
An original Darth Vader costume from ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’ is set to be auctioned off this month. The suit, which includes Vader’s notorious helmet, cape and gloves, is being sold May 14 at the Bonhams auction house in Los Angeles. It can be viewed by the public over the next two weekends as a treat for fans celebrating May the Fourth, also known as Star Wars Day.
The costume is expected to fetch between $1 million and $2 million.
"The suit’s completeness, remarkable condition, and excellent provenance make it a true rarity in the memorabilia marketplace," Catherine Williamson, director of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams, said.
Bryce Eller, a computer engineer hired from 1977 to 1982 to impersonate Darth Vader at film premieres, fan conventions and the 1978 Academy Awards, is the owner of the suit, keeping it stored in his garage.
Eller decided to sell the costume after his friend, film director William Malone, sold Robby the Robot from the 1956 film ‘Forbidden Planet’ for a record $5.4 million through a Bonhams auction, according to Williamson. Although Malone thought of Robby the Robot as a son, Eller sees the Vader costume as a part of his past. "He wants to see it go to a good home," Williamson said in an interview.