Star Wars droid R2-D2 auctioned for US$2.8 million

Actors Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala (second right) and Hayden Christensen (right) as Anakin Skywalker joined by R2-D2 (left) and C-3PO on the desert planet Tatooine in a scene from Star Wars: Episode II Attack Of The Clones.
Actors Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala (second right) and Hayden Christensen (right) as Anakin Skywalker joined by R2-D2 (left) and C-3PO on the desert planet Tatooine in a scene from Star Wars: Episode II Attack Of The Clones.PHOTO: LUCASFILM LTD

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - An R2-D2 unit used in the filming of several Star Wars movies has sold for almost US$3 million, a southern California auction house said on Thursday.

Luke Skywalker's droid sidekick was put together from parts used in the filming of the original 1977-1983 trilogy and two of the 1999-2005 prequel films, Profiles in History, based near Los Angeles, said in its catalog.

While the 43-inch (109 centimeter) character played largely by English actor Kenny Baker is known for his tenacious loyalty and snarky sense of humor, there are internal mechanics in the aluminum, steel and fiberglass unit sold on Wednesday.

The unidentified buyer nevertheless shelled out US$2.76 million, making it the most expensive lot at a three-day auction of Hollywood memorabilia that included numerous props from the Lucasfilm franchise, raising a total of US$14 million.

Skywalker's lightsaber from the first two movies, A New Hope (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), fetched US$450,000 while Darth Vader's helmet from the original film sold for US$96,000.

A collection of 23 spaceships from space series Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rodgers made US$1.8 million dollars while the iconic illuminated dance floor from Saturday Night Fever (1977) went for US$1.2 million.

Leonardo DiCaprio's costume from Titanic (1997) and the sword wielded by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian (1982) went for US$192,000 each.

Other notable lots included a script and the front door to Rick's Cafe from Casablanca (1942), Lucille Ball's signature polka dot dress from 1950s sit-com I Love Lucy, and Evel Knievel's 1976 Harley-Davidson XLCH 1000 from Viva Knievel! (1977).

A golden ticket from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) went for a staggering US$90,000.