Moderators: YAK_Den, Staff

By MWave36
I'm hoping you guys can help me out with this. I’ve found an old artifact related to Star Wars: Episode V and I have no idea what it’s value is, so I’m relying on the “Wisdom of Crowds”. It’s b/w 35mm test footage – about 2,500 feet of it!

How I obtained it, then lost it, then found it again, is a long story. But here’s the cliffsnotes version: A long, long time ago, I delivered the San Francisco Chronicle way, way too early in the morning (1980 and 3:00 am respectively). I picked up and folded my papers in a small room in the back of a building on Tunstead Ave. in San Anselmo, CA (where I was born and raised). In the back there were two garbage cans which, one fateful night, were literally overflowing with 35mm file strips, which I obtained legally by waiting until the “garbage man” (that’s what they were called back in 1980) took it to his truck.

Here are a few images of what I found:

Rolled and Labeled.jpg
Rolled and Labeled.jpg (94.57 KiB) Viewed 4572 times

Still to Sort and Clean.jpg
Still to Sort and Clean.jpg (273.56 KiB) Viewed 4572 times

Falcon Crew.jpg
Falcon Crew.jpg (99.8 KiB) Viewed 4572 times

Tripped Walker.jpg
Tripped Walker.jpg (125.43 KiB) Viewed 4572 times

Luke v Darth.jpg
Luke v Darth.jpg (119.87 KiB) Viewed 4572 times

Slate.png (165.58 KiB) Viewed 4572 times

Luke v. Drone.jpg
Luke v. Drone.jpg (113.66 KiB) Viewed 4572 times

Han Solo Shooting.jpg
Han Solo Shooting.jpg (106.89 KiB) Viewed 4572 times

I’m about to list a few strips on eBay but really have no idea even where to start the bidding. I noticed there were strips of 4-5 color frames from one of the first three actual Star Wars movies which had sold for anywhere from $0.50 to $4.00 per frame (unmounted). Considering the number of theaters Episode’s IV, V, and VI played in at their widest release, there would still have to be several hundred other copies of these same frames out there somewhere. So whatever they’re worth, shouldn’t something as rare as this, with each frame likely being the only one in existence, be worth far more?

I’ve searched everywhere and there’s just nothing similar out there to compare this too. So, what value do you guys think this has? Even an educated guess would be helpful. Am I sitting on a goldmine, or a land mine?

Thanks for your feedback.

Hold off on either breaking it up or putting it on Ebay. I'm part of a Rare Vintage photo group and they will know exactly what you are sitting on (some of them might have even been part of making it). I've notified them of this post.

You might want to transfer it all to digital. Partly so it all remains together but also so you could sell digital versions.

Update since writing the above:
Apparently, they are the rushes and what is shown isn't new. They are the unfinished shots.

They have Historical value, especially if there are alternate takes. Flooding the market with them though will devalue collecting value.

That isn't to say collectors wouldn't be interested, or that some of it might be rare.

Having it digitized would let you know the real worth (and preserve it for the fans.)

I guess you need to decide if you want to profit from them or share them with the rest of the fans.
As Utinniii has mentioned it would be advisable to digitise everything first. Please don't cut the film into strips, if you really want to sell everything sell each roll as they are. If you want to scan them it will take some time because it will be a huge PITA just to get it all ready for digitisation, however it would be well worth it as everything would be preserved indefinitely and could be shared with fans.
I posted this notice about my collection in several Star Wars fan/collectors forums so, as I'm sure you all understand, my inbox has exploded. And it seems to be geometrically expanding as they tell two friends, who tell two friends, and so on…

But I did want to get back in here to thank all of you for your feedback, and wanted to assure you that I’m going to take your advice and abandon my dumb idea of selling off the collection a few cells at a time*. This is a perfect example of the difference between intelligence and common sense. I’d gladly give up a little of the former to have more of the latter. Among the things that factored into my original concept was the time it would take to clean, sort, and reconstruct all this film, and then have it converted to digital (I recently had about 5k ft. of S8 home movies converted, and it ain't cheap). But what I didn’t anticipate was all the interest in helping me do that, including two offers (so far) to do it for free! Obviously, those offers will be well vetted before I ever ship the whole collection to anyone (I do have some common sense). In fact, one is from someone only a six hour drive away, so may haul it there myself.

I’m compiling a list of all those who would like to be kept informed as to my progress, and be the first to be notified when the film and/or digital version becomes available. If you would like to be added just email your first name (or handle) to and put “Add to Star Wars Film List” in the subject line.



* I do have 9 more short strips that I already hacked up to put on eBay, but they're from scenes that I have way more footage of (e.g. I've got at least 100 ft. of Luke in the cockpit of his X-Wing), and some damaged strips only had a few consecutive cells that were clean. So you'll probably see those (and only those) on eBay eventually (those on the list will get a heads up when they're listed).
I really hope this works out for you.

Most of us have no real idea of the time or expense it would take for you to digitize it. A fact I had never considered was that it might be hard to even find a place to do it (for legal reasons).

I really hope something undiscovered is in all those rolls.

Good luck!
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