LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A rare and authentic Darth Vader costume from “Star Wars” is set for auction this month in Los Angeles.
The 17-piece costume used in “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” is outfitted with everything from gloves, boots and a pair of capes to a cod piece and a battery pack.
Auctioneers estimate the costume will be sold for anywhere from $1-2 million when it goes on the block May 14 at Bonhams Los Angeles.
“Darth Vader is one of the most recognizable and infamous characters in the history of film and we are excited to offer this rare costume in our sale,” said Dr. Catherine Williamson, Director of Entertainment Memorabilia at Bonhams. “The suit’s completeness, remarkable condition, and excellent provenance make it a true rarity in the memorabilia marketplace.”
The costume itself is owned by Bryce “Kermit” Eller, who landed a gig in 1977 making personal appearances as Darth Vader all over the country, from film premieres to book signings and even the 1978 Academy Awards.
“Sometimes it was just going to a hospital and visiting sick kids,” Eller said. “The hardest acting that I think I’ve ever had was to not feel long enough to be able to give them Darth Vader.”
Eller wore the original –and only – Darth Vader costume from the original “Star Wars: Episode IV–A New Hope”. By 1979, he was provided with one of a few complete costumes produced for The Empire Strikes Back, which is the one currently up for auction.
He continued to make personal appearances as Vader through 1981, at which point he packed the suit up in its two flight cases and stored it in his garage until the present day.