Not that there was much doubt. The movie, directed by Tony Scott, became an instant hit when it was released in 1986. The story of two young naval pilots prompted reports of a rise in US Navy recruitment at the time as well as jumps in sales of bomber jackets and Ray-Ban aviators. A sequel Top Gun: Maverick, with Cruise reprising his role as the title character more than 30 years after the original, is due to premier next summer, following two coronavirus-related delays. It has already received its own line of die-cast models and toys, released over the summer.
The flight helmet offered at Prop Store’s two-day sale of August 26-27 was labelled Maverick - #1 to the interior padding, consistent with other documented original Top Gun helmets. It was offered with a signed letter of authenticity from costume supervisor Jim Tyson, detailing the creation of the film’s helmets and confirming that this was one of three made to fit Cruise. Also included were an oxygen mask and tube not original to the film.
Exhibiting some signs of wear, including scratching to the paint and stickers, it was estimated at $50,000-70,000. On the day it took more than triple its high estimate, selling for $260,000 (£197,000) plus buyer’s premium.
The total took it above several higher estimated lots such as a Darth Vader costume made to promote the original 1977 film (ultimately the second highest seller with a hammer price of $230,000 [£174,000]) and a miniature puppet from the 1986 film Aliens, which was knocked down for $85,000 [£64,000].
The 870-lot sale totalled a premium-inclusive $6.2m (4.75m).