‘Star Wars’ X-Wing Fighter Sells for Record $3.1 Million at Auction
An original 20-inch model of an X-wing starfighter, which played a pivotal role in the climactic space battle in the 1977 classic, Star Wars, has been auctioned off for a staggering $3.135 million at a Heritage Auction in Dallas.
This X-wing model, which was part of the collection of the late Oscar-nominated modelmaker Greg Jein, was believed to have been lost for several decades. However, it was recently discovered in a box in Jein’s garage, much to the surprise and delight of Star Wars enthusiasts and collectors.
Joe Maddalena, the executive vice president of Hollywood/entertainment memorabilia at Heritage Auctions, expressed his excitement about the sale, stating, “Heritage just set the record for the most expensive Star Wars screen-used prop sold at auction.” He further added, “The worldwide response to the Greg Jein collections has been outstanding, a true testament to Greg and all he accomplished as a visual effects artist and collector.”
The X-wing, known as the “Red Leader” (Red One), was built by the renowned Industrial Light & Magic for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. It is one of only four “hero” filming miniatures that come equipped with articulating servo-controlled wings and lights. These hero models were specifically designed for close-up shots and were prominently featured in the final battle scenes, including the iconic trench run.
VFX historian Gene Kozicki, in a recent conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, shed light on the significance of this model. He said, “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.” Kozicki also mentioned that there were tales of hero models that went missing when ILM relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area from California’s San Fernando Valley in 1978. This particular X-wing model had become something of a legendary “white whale” in the VFX community, representing the elusive missing Star Wars X-wing.
The sale of this iconic piece of cinematic history not only underscores the enduring popularity of the Star Wars franchise but also pays homage to the incredible craftsmanship and artistry that went into creating these timeless masterpieces.
The website for Heritage Auctions is https://www.ha.com/