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The iconic spacesuit from 2001: A Space Odyssey is up for auction

“I’m sorry, Dave, I just can’t afford that.”

That’s one possible response to the news that the iconic spacesuit worn by David Bowman (or, in reality, actor Keir Dullea) in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic sci-fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey is coming up for auction this month — at an economic downturn-challenging estimated price of $200,000 to $300,000.

The suit is part of Julien’s Auctions’ “Legends and Explorers” auction, due to take place July 17-18 in Beverly Hills, California. The “near complete spacesuit” comes in a lot featuring an MGM shipping crate, boots, and helmet. The costume has been kept in a special climate-controlled storage unit since it was last sold at auction in 1999.

The suit was repainted several times during production, presumably to save on the cost of creating multiple suits unnecessarily. (So consider yourself lucky that you’re not having to shell out for several different $200,000 spacesuit props!) The base color is white, while subsequent layers are yellow, green, and then white again over the top. The suit’s reflective material also mirrored the movie’s lighting, which explains why it looks red and gold in certain images from the movie.

Space suit 2001 auction 1
Julien's Auctions

2001: A Space Odyssey remains one of the greatest science fiction movies (or just plain movies overall) ever made. The mind-bending space-age film takes viewers all the way from the dawn of humankind to, well, 19 years ago over the course of its 2 hour, 29 minute running time. In addition to being a visual masterpiece whose Academy Award-winning space scenes have rarely been matched or bettered, the movie literally helped design the future — with everything from iPads to HAL’s minimalist A.I. interface having been aped by engineers and industrial designers who grew up as fans of the film.

Given its classic movie status, it’s no surprise that the 2001 spacesuit would be looking to command an impressive selling price at auction. However, its rareness is increased by the fact that many of the movie’s props were reportedly destroyed after filming. If anything could help make this suit even more iconic, the fact that it was not among those ill-fated props just might be it.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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