Prototype Stormtrooper Helmet on Sotheby's Auction

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Antiquarian

New Member
Prototype Stormtrooper Helmet is currently available for bidding on Star Wars Online auction hosted by Sotheby's.

The description is as follows;

PROTOTYPE IMPERIAL STORMTROOPER HELMET, 1976

This prototype Imperial Stormtrooper's helmet was one of the initial pre-production designs manufactured by Andrew Ainsworth, who was asked in January 1976 to manufacture the helmets. These helmets were based on pre-existing sculptures by Liz Moore (1944-1976), from designs by Ralph McQuarrie (1929-2012). The helmet is made of white painted vacu-formed plastic with black rubber details, simulated vents and clear plastic eyepieces. Stephen Lane, a leading authority on props, has confirmed that this is an original prototype Stormtrooper helmet, after contacting Andrew Ainsworth about its authenticity, who confirmed that it was one of his prototype Stormtrooper helmets. Formerly owned by Merry Brownfield, it was gifted to her father in the early 1980s. He was a massive fan of the film, and his friend Steve Smithwick, a former set and prop builder based in Richmond, UK gave him this piece.

11¾x 11¾x 13¼in. (29.8 x 29.8 x 33.6 cm) (unframed)
17¼x 20⅝x 20⅝in. (43.8 x 52.3 x 52.3 cm) (framed)

What do you guys think?

Sotheby's estimate puts it at GBP 30,000 - GBP 60,000.
 

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geordietrooper

Sr Member
no oval marking in the tears on these not really a prototype helmets, then they appear on the ones in the movies
but then vanish again on mr cheese molds new helmets ( ainsworth i fettled a tumblehome don't you know )
so it really does suggest that his modern day offerings come from one of these not really a prototype helmets
i know a few people believe that to be the case me included
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Technically a prototype...? I mean, since he made that hideous thing to show Lucasfilm in hopes of getting the gig for Star Wars 2. But yeah, someone should tell the auction house that it dates to after Star Wars, not before, and that their "expert" is... let's be generous... inaccurate where the facts are concerned.
 

andyroo

Well-Known Member
I sent a mail to the auction house linking them to the star wars helmet site. I got this response back:

'Thank you for your email and your interest in our sale, and for voicing your concerns around the prototype Stormtrooper helmet we are offering in our auction.

I would like to reassure you that we have had the lot authenticated by the maker, as well as by an independent film prop expert. As such we are confident that this helmet is indeed a prototype Stormtrooper helmet.'

They think it's a legit prototype.
 

tubachris85x

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I sent a mail to the auction house linking them to the star wars helmet site. I got this response back:

'Thank you for your email and your interest in our sale, and for voicing your concerns around the prototype Stormtrooper helmet we are offering in our auction.

I would like to reassure you that we have had the lot authenticated by the maker, as well as by an independent film prop expert. As such we are confident that this helmet is indeed a prototype Stormtrooper helmet.'

They think it's a legit prototype.


You know they're not going to listen to anyone outside of their own circles for this. Additionally, they're out to turn a profit and willingly listing it as inauthentic will kill potential earnings.
 

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vader45

Sr Member
I emailed this to them

"That helmet has nothing to do with the production of the first film. This helmet has been known for many years and was proven to be made after the 1st film. Ainsworth made it for Empire but it wasn't picked up. Liz Moore was the sculptor for the stormtrooper helmet and only made the sculpt we see in the screen.

I know I will get a response saying it's legit. I saw that response given to someone else. No it's not a legit piece."
 

tubachris85x

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I guess you can tell them their auction business will lose serious credibility for false advertisement, or not, and let them reap what they sow
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Include something to the effect of: "Asking the original maker is not authenticating it when the original maker is a known liar. He's been over-selling his involvement for quite some years now."
 

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Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Oh, absolutely there's a paper trail. The go-between between Ainsworth and Elstree created his own hideous monstrosity of a Stormtrooper helmet, probably knew it would be rejected, as it looked nothing like McQuarrie's paintings or Moore's sculpt, the latter of which was sent to Ainsworth to make. It's impossible to know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was done to muddy the "who created it" waters. Dude could legitimately claim to have designed a Stormtrooper helmet... but it sure weren't the one used in the movies. And Liz had died, so there was no one with first-hand knowledge to refute Ainsworth's claim. Then after Star Wars 2 was announced, he "up-detailed" the helmet design he had had to make, tried to get Lucasfilm to use it, failed, but could still claim to have designed a prototype of that design.

All the stuff that came out around the time of the lawsuit just makes Ainsworth look skeevier and skeevier.
 

vader45

Sr Member
Ainsworth describes how he made the bucks and experimented in undercuts before producing the costumes. Well the book contradicts that. It said the sculpts were molded and sharpened at the studio. Why would they have Ainswortb start over? I also find it funny that Brandon made no reference to Ainsworth out side of "out sourcing"
 

Halliwax

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Ainsworth describes how he made the bucks and experimented in undercuts before producing the costumes. Well the book contradicts that. It said the sculpts were molded and sharpened at the studio. Why would they have Ainswortb start over? I also find it funny that Brandon made no reference to Ainsworth out side of "out sourcing"

Is there a video with Brandon talking about this helmet?
 

tubachris85x

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I posted a warning around some collector pages, and I just tweeted the auction house directly, but I bet it will go ignored or told "oh you're wrong"
 

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