On the heels of their “Trilogy Collection” auction of Lord of the Rings material late last year, next month Julien’s Auctions will feature the best piece from Peter Jackson’s Academy Award-winning franchise yet: a screen-used hero Gimli double-headed axe, from the personal collection of John Rhys-Davies. This piece was given to Rhys-Davies on the last day of filming by Peter Jackson himself. The hero axe was used in The Two Towers. Julien’s Auctions full catalog for this sale will be debuting next week (see Hollywood Legends).
Below is an exclusive preview of the four page catalog spread from the upcoming sale featuring all of the Lord of the Rings material consigned by John Rhys-Davies:
Below is the description from the catalog of the screen-used Gimli axe:
JOHN RHYS-DAVIES SCREEN USED GIMLI DOUBLE HEADED AXE
This massive axe, composed of metal and wood, was a gift from director Peter Jackson to
John Rhys-Davies who played the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings (New Line Cinema,
2001, 2002, 2003) film trilogy.
Rhys-Davies can be seen wielding the axe beginning in the second Lord of the Rings film
The Two Towers and again in the third installment of the franchise, Return of the King.
Peter Jackson presented the axe to Rhys-Davies on the final day of filming. Each cast member
was given a gift on their last day of shooting, generally a prop that was significant to
The axe was part of the 88 pounds of equipment that Rhys-Davies wore for his role. In
total, two or three axes were made for the film. In addition there were lighter weight models
for throwing and miniature axes made for Gimli’s doubles, who were smaller than Rhys-
Davies and required proportionately smaller axes for visual consistency. Another “gift”
Rhys-Davies received was the opportunity to burn the Gimli mask he wore during production
which had given him trouble throughout filming.
The double-sided axe is a bit of invention on the part of Jackson. In JRR Tolkien’s book
Gimli uses only one axe which is representative of the Tolkien dwarves mining culture. The
double headed axe of the film is obtained by Gimli in the Mines of Moria while accompanying
Frodo Baggins on his quest to destroy the One Ring. The mines were once a dwarf
realm led by Gimli’s cousin, Balin, who died in a battle with orcs, wielding this great axe.
The axe was made by the weapons division of WETA Workshop, the five-time Oscar Winning
conceptual design and physical manufacturing service co-owned by Peter Jackson.
Accompanied by a photograph of Rhys-Davies as Gimli swinging the axe and a letter of
authenticity from John Rhys-Davies stating the history of the axe and that this was his filmused
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this lot will benefit La Leche League New
“My wife Lisa and I are great supporters of breastfeeding having seen firsthand the benefits
to our daughter Maia. We are indebted to La Leche League, an international organization
founded in the US, which supports breastfeeding mothers. This year it’s the 50th
Anniversary of La Leche League in New Zealand where Lisa is a counselor and board
member. I will be making a donation to LLLNZ and hope the publicity attending this auction
will draw attention to the benefits to the health of the breastfeeding mother and her child.”
PROVENANCE From the Collection of John Rhys-Davies