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Section of the Death Star from ‘A New Hope’ takes a proton torpedo at auction

Star Wars fever is in full swing with the recent release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, and what better time to offer rabid, well-heeled fans a piece of original trilogy history? An original production piece of the Death Star from Episode IV — A New Hope was put up on eBay in a partnership between the auction site and HollywoodMemorabilia. The auction ran from May 24 to June 3, with a starting price of $1,000. Though a press release emailed to Digital Trends put the estimated sale price at six figures, the prop sold for $16,200. It seems like one lucky fan of the Empire got quite the bargain.

Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) was responsible for creating the pieces of the Death Star that were used in the film. Lucas started the division to get the best visual effects artists and modelers in the industry to work on his films. The sections were used in the groundbreaking assault on the Death Star scene, which was shot outside the studio.

As with many films, the props were mostly discarded after production wrapped up, and the Death Star pieces were sent to the landfill. But unlike the Death Star in the film, some of the props survived. According to the listing, an unnamed ex-ILM employee saved one piece and kept it until 2014, when it resurfaced. Star Wars collector Steve Grad acquired it and it made its way to auction on Sunday, June 3.

The 41-year-old screen-used prop measures about two feet long by a foot wide, with varying heights based on its structural valleys and elevations up to just over half a foot. It is listed in good condition and has the original off-white and gray coloring. It comes with a display case complete with LED lighting to show it off. Two letters of authenticity are included from from Lorne Peterson and Jonathan Erland, who worked for ILM during the production of the Death Star pieces.

“On behalf of HollywoodMemorabilia we are excited to partner with eBay to bring this incredible piece of Star Wars history to fans around the world,” Stefan Tesoriero, executive vice president of HollywoodMemorabilia, said. “As one of the most iconic films ever made, this prop is a defining collectible for any serious Star Wars enthusiast.”

According to eBay, “Star Wars” is searched on the site over 13,000 times per minute, and over 200 times per second. This is 83 percent more than “Avengers.” Most Star Wars items sold are related to Darth Vader. With the release of Solo, Han Solo is the third most searched for and purchased character. Finally, LEGO Star Wars sets make up 46 percent of all Star Wars products sold on the auction site.

A screen-used model of the Death Star from Episode VI — Return of the Jedi recently sold at auction for $240,000, near the top end of the estimated pre-sale price, according to an email from auction house Profiles in History. This model was also created by ILM and measures 46 inches in diameter.

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