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Rare 1980 The Empire Strikes Back Poster Up For Auction

Propstore Auction has several rare posters up for auction right now for avid poster collectors, including this gem from 1980: The British Royal Charity World Premiere Empire Day Poster. Click through for the full report!


Lot #349


British Royal Charity World Premiere Empire Day Poster, 1980

Estimate £10,000 – 20,000.


This exceptionally rare British Royal Charity World Premiere poster was designed by Eddie Paul of FEREF (with finished artwork by Ralph McQuarrie) to be deployed during a Stormtrooper takeover of London in 1980 – an event now known in Star Wars history as “Empire Day”.

The real-world Empire Day was a holiday of the British Empire celebrated on May 24, Queen Victoria’s birthday. In 1954, it was rebranded as “Commonwealth Day” in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations. The world premiere of Star Wars: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, was held in London on May 20, 1980, and the term “Empire Day” was used in the event’s marketing.

The 20th Century Fox marketing department took full advantage of the film’s release date. An army of Stormtroopers—in Jeeps and on foot—took to the streets of London, holding placards of this poster and handing out badges to build up the crowd’s already heightened excitement for the much-anticipated sequel.

Empire Day made the front page of the May 20, 1980, issue of the London Evening News and depicted the Empire cast giving the captain of the Concorde jet that flew them from the states the gift of a miniature Millennium Falcon.

Presented unrestored in original flat, unfolded condition, this example displays to excellent effect and is one of the rarest posters and pieces of marketing material known to exist for The Empire Strikes Back and the series.

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