A rare model of the X-Wing starfighter, which was featured in the first film of the Star Wars series, has recently come up for public auction and is poised to be a centerpiece of the sale. Bidding for this coveted model starts at $400,000.
This particular model, measuring 50.8 centimeters, was discovered in the collection of Greg Jein, a model builder who was once nominated for an Oscar for his work on the film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Jein passed away last year at the age of 76, and the model is now in the hands of his friends who helped pack up his belongings.
The model in question was crafted by Industrial Light & Magic, George Lucas's special effects company, and was used in the final battle scene of the 1977 film "Star Wars: A New Hope." It is one of only four models created for close-up shots and features movable wings, lights, and battle damage.
Greg Jein's collection also includes an original Stormtrooper costume from the same film, an astronaut suit from "2001: A Space Odyssey," vintage TV show props from the 1960s, and memorabilia from the Star Trek franchise, including William Shatner's wig. The public auction of these items is scheduled to take place in Dallas on October 14-15.
Collectibles from movies often generate significant interest and high bids, especially when they are rare and unique. For instance, a model based on the character E.T. from the film of the same name was sold at auction last year for $2.56 million.
Historian Gene Kozicki, who specializes in special effects, told The Hollywood Reporter that this model is considered in the industry as a "white whale" because its whereabouts were unknown until recently. “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.”