eBay seller biscolors has today listed for sale a prop “Luke Skywalker” lightsaber marketed as an “original prop” from Return of the Jedi and “one that was made for Mark Hamill as backup”, referencing Norman Harrison and Norank Engineering at Elstree Studios as the source.
If the Certificate of Authenticity depicted is consistent with other “Danziger Collection” COAs I’ve seen copies/photos of (the photo of the one in the listing is very resolution, so difficult to say), it appears to be signed by N. Harrison (Nick Harrison, son of Norman Harrison), brother to Paul Harrison of Elstree Props before the change of ownership this year.
Other “Original” Star Wars Lightsabers Offered For Sale (Elstree Props, Norank Engineering)
Paul Harrison, formerly of Elstree Props (pre-2008, see Elstree Props, New Ownership, Announcement On Redesigned Website), has offered for sale and sold a number of Star Wars props characterized as original and authentic.
In October 2007, Elstree Props (as “elstreeprops”) on SpecialistAuctions.com offered for sale a lightsaber characterized as original and as “the actual lightsaber that was made for Luke Skywalker to use in Return of the Jedi” (see Elstree Props “Original” Return of the Jedi Lightsaber at Auction, Update 1, Update 2, Update 3, Update 4, Update 5, Update 6). This auction listing had a “Snap It Up” price of over $55,000. I did not find any record of this selling at public auction. Following the last update on this topic, Elstree Props announced their retirement (see Elstree Props Retiring, Offering Business For Sale).
In July 2008, under the e11e eBay account (but following the change of ownership), a vintage flashgun was offered for sale on eBay with a nearly $20,000 opening bid amount which was characterized as a prototype made for the original film, A New Hope (see Star Wars “Original Prototype Lightsabers from 1976 Meeting”). This piece did not to my knowledge sell at public auction.
Current eBay Auction – “Luke Skywalker’s ORIGINAL Lightsaber”
Auction Title: “Star Wars Luke Skywalker’s ORIGINAL Lightsaber ROTJ”
Noted Source/Provenance: Norman Harrison, Norank Engineering
eBay Item #: 120349458803
End Date: 12/22/08
Auction Result: Currently Active, Starting Bid $5,000.00, No Bids
Full Auction Archive: “Star Wars Luke Skywalker’s ORIGINAL Lightsaber ROTJ”
This auction is for the Return of the Jedi lightsaber made by Norank Engineering which is the resident prop company at Elstree Studios where the original trilogy was made. I won the lightsaber at a private auction. It was donated by Norm Harrison who is one of the senior tenants at Norank Engineering and is one of the original persons who made the lightsabers for the original trilogy.
This one was not used on screen. The last one that was used on screen sold for 30k Pounds (about $60k) and I believe the only other one was the infamous NASA lightsaber that went into space. This lightsaber is one that was made for Mark Hamill as backup (I guess they made alot of the same lightsaber in case the others broke).
Norm Harrison also gave a COA with the lightsaber which there is a picture of below with his signature.
I’m not going to disclose what I paid for this but it was much higher than $5,000. I ship worldwide so anyone can bid and I’m not leaving a reserve. There is a link below to an article I found which gives a little background on who Norm Harrison is along with Norank and Elstree Studios.
This is your chance to own a piece of cinematic history as well as one of the rarest items you can find. An original lightsaber prop for probably the best lightsaber designed in all the Star Wars films. You think Master Replicas is accurate??? This is from the Horse’s Mouth. Happy bidding and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.
ORIGINAL HAND BUILT “LUKE SKYWALKER” LIGHTSABER MADE BY
NORANK ENG CO LTD
WHO WERE THE RESIDENT STUDIO ENGINEERS AT ELSTREE FILM STUDIOS
AND MADE THE ORIGINAL SCREEN USED VERSION FOR THE THIRD FILM IN
THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS TRILOGY
“RETURN OF THE JEDI”
“The Danziger Collection”
With regards to the photo of the COA as seen in the current auction listing (last photo above), though low resolution and challenging to read, it appears very similar to a COA I have already referenced and archived in a previous article which was attached to another “Luke Skywalker” Star Wars lightsaber.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the two “Danziger Collection” certificates of authenticity (current Luke Skywalker “Return of the Jedi” lightsaber LEFT, Luke Skywalker “A New Hope” lightsaber RIGHT):
Below is a photo of the lightsaber prop attached to the other “Danziger Collection” COA, as well as higher resolution versions of that COA:
Certificate of Authenticity
This is to certify that this is an original “Graflex” lightsabers made at Elstree Film Studios, England by the original resident studio engineers as used by Luke Skywalker in the first movie “Star Wars – A New Hope”
The Danziger Collection
Special Effects Supervisor and Licensed Film Archivist
Note in this case, the careful wording can be very misleading as to whether this piece is “original” (made for and used in the film) or simply an “original” Graflex flashgun – the found part used to make this type of lightsaber in the film. Also open to interpretation is the “as used by Luke Skywalker in the first movie…”
Having said that, while not clearly identifying it as a replica, a close examination of the wording and language would suggest it is a post production replica made from a genuine vintage Graflex flashgun that was assembled by one of the individuals who made the originals for the production.
With regards to Elstree Props and other Star Wars props previously sold into the marketplace, there was one Imperial blaster, per the owner at the time, sold as original and authentic that appears to have been subsequently identified as a semi-custom design crafted by a replica prop maker (see Prop Watchlist: Star Wars Imperial Blaster).
In any event, in reading the plague as seen in the auction photos of the current eBay listing, it does not state that the prop was made for and used in the film, so it is not clear how the current seller has come to the determination that “[t]his lightsaber is one that was made for Mark Hamill as backup“.
Coincidentally, Profiles in History sold a prop lightsaber yesterday for approximately $236,000 (including buyer’s premium) which was characterized as original and used by Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (see Profiles in History “Hollywood Auction 33″ Held Today).
Jason De Bord