We are talking about the very first poster produced for Star Wars: a Howard Chaykin design printed in the summer of 1976 to be sold for $1.75 at San Diego Comic Con and Worldcon in Kansas City to promote the forthcoming movie.
Chaykin produced the artwork based on a handful of stills and paintings by concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, designer of the early Star Wars logo seen on the poster.
It was labelled as ‘Poster1’ (in the lower left corner) as a series of different posters were intended to be printed but no others were ever made. Only about a thousand of these initial 20in x 2ft 5in (51 x 73.5cm) designs were ever produced, with very few appearing for sale.
This example was offered in the April 23 auction held online by specialist saleroom Prop Store of Rickmansworth, UK, and Los Angeles. It came with a provenance to The Personal Archive of Richard Edlund, the award-winning US visual effects photographer who worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, supervising special effects.
The condition was described as excellent and the poster unrestored, rolled (as issued). It was estimated at £1000-2000 and it was bought for £4000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium) by a private European buyer via a commission bid.
Designer brothers in arms
Another in-demand Star Wars poster on offer at the Prop Store was this “beautiful rolled example of one of the rarest and most sought-after Star Wars posters”. Originally produced in 1977, this is the Hildebrandt Brothers (Greg and Tim) version for Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (aka the first film made).
This design is rare: after a very limited release (one to two weeks) it was withdrawn and replaced with the more commercial Style C featuring Tom Chantrell’s artwork.
Prop Store describe it as “a firm favourite with fans and more in keeping with the fantasy aspects of Lucas’ space saga”.
Presented here in original unrestored condition, this rolled (as issued) example, 2ft 6in x 3ft 4in (76 x 1.02m), sold for a mid-estimate £5000. It was consigned by a private seller and sold to a private international buyer via Prop Store’s own bidding platform.
Another example of this poster sold for £4200 at Ewbank’s auction in September last year.