LONDON An exceptionally rare Darth Vader costume comes up for sale next month and is expected to fetch as much as 230,000 pounds ($365,000), auctioneer Christie's said on Wednesday.
The main components of the 1980 costume, including the helmet and mask, are considered to have been production-made for "The Empire Strikes Back," the second of the "Star Wars" series to be released, Christie's added.
It will lead the auction of popular culture at Christie's in London on November 25.
One of the most recognizable and infamous characters in the history of film, Darth Vader played a central role in the story of Star Wars, the epic film series made by George Lucas.
"While there are limited public records of the costumes produced and used for the first Star Wars trilogy, the helmet, mask and shoulder armor from the present example have a provenance leading back to the film studios around the time of production," Christie's said.
The costume was acquired by the present owner, an American private collector in 2003 and is the first complete costume to be offered at auction, it added.
(Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Paul Casciato)