Antiques Roadshow, the venerable BBC programme about valuing the public's collections, came a cropper during a recent event in Buckinghamshire when they were shown an incredibly rare prop from the original Star Wars - which much to their surprise, is worth quite a bit of money.

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The helmet, a TIE Fighter Pilot's headpiece from A New Hope, is one of only 12 ever made for the movie, and was reportedly found in the attic of the crew member it was gifted to over 30 years ago - but was bought by Star Wars fan and collector Stephen Lane for a few thousand pounds before he bought it to Antiques Roadshow to see how much it was really worth. In tonight's episode, Presenter Fiona Bruce comes across Lane and the helmet, which is valued by the show's experts as being worth £40-50,000 (roughly $60-80,000) - much to the almost dismay of Bruce, who raps her knuckles on the prop before declaring that to 'anyone not of [Lane's] world' it's worth is astonishing.

Whilst it's a tad unsurprising to see a bit of a dismissive attitude over a movie prop, considering Antiques Roadshow tends to deal with 'finer' art and pieces, it's baffling to see how people can be shocked at so much value being put on pieces of Popular culture. They might not be as old as some other antiques, but movie memorabilia and things like it are essentially the artefacts of our modern culture - the same way paintings and sculpture were the 'media' of their day, movies and TV shows are our media, and an important part of our culture. Just because it's a bit geeky, it seems odd to dismiss something's worth just because it's Pop culture instead of fine art or what have you.

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I guess Lane doesn't really care either way, considering he's got his hands on such a valuable part of a franchise he loves. The fact that it's worth a pretty penny is just the icing on the cake.

[The Independent]


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