While Star Wars fans are excited about the prospect of securing memorabilia from original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew at an upcoming auction, his widow says the rare relics are hitting the auction block without his estate’s permission.
Angie Mayhew used the Peter Mayhew Foundation Twitter feed this week to let followers know that she doesn’t approve of UK-based auction house Ryedale Auctioneers selling her late husband’s personal mementos from the early days of the blockbuster franchise, including scripts, call sheets, signed photos and more.
The items were left behind in a loft when the couple moved out of their former home in the English town of Keighley decades ago, and were rediscovered by the new owners, who brought them to Ryedale.
According to the Gazette & Herald, one of the firm’s auctioneers and valuers, self-described “Star Wars geek” Chris Depport, evaluated the hidden treasures. “I knew straight away it was Chewie’s,” he said. “As soon as I looked at it I knew these were original items.”
He added, “As an auctioneer this is what you look for,” and stated it’s a “mystery” why the Mayhews left them behind. But Angie Mayhew was quick to lend her testimony to solve that puzzle.
It was one of Peter's and my biggest regrets that we had to leave these items behind, but his knees and joints had gotten to be so painful that he was no longer able to go into the attic to get them.https://t.co/Bc5TqvYI5u
— Peter Mayhew Foundation (@TheWookieeRoars) February 8, 2023
When asked in the Twitter thread why no one could help the couple retrieve the potentially valuable items, she explained: “We had just come from a convention Peter had appeared at and there had been a water leak so Peter didn’t want me to go up there either and we ran out of time. Moving in general is stressful but moving between countries with a 7’4″ disabled partner, it was a very difficult time.”
She even spoke to TMZ to let the world know her side of the story before the items go up for sale on February 17 and 18. As of Thursday, the Peter Mayhew Foundation reports some progress:
Started our morning on Zoom with @AngusAshworth from @RyedaleAuction1 and communicated our desire that Peter's items be returned to Angie and the Mayhew family. Will keep everyone posted as progress is made – thank you for the continued support! https://t.co/4UTyaW4Mfs
— Peter Mayhew Foundation (@TheWookieeRoars) February 9, 2023
The couple who brought the items to the auction house says they did not know Peter Mayhew, though they did meet him. “He was so gentle and kind,” they told the Gazette & Herald.
Mayhew died in 2019 at the age of 74. He played the beloved character alongside Harrison Ford’s Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) through 2015’s The Force Awakens.
Depport couldn’t put a price on how much each item would sell for when asked by Gazette & Herald, but given the franchise’s hardcore legion of fans and ongoing legacy as Disney continues to pump out more movies and TV shows, it’s hard to imagine wealthy Chewie fans won’t pay a pretty penny to own a piece of the actor’s personal memorabilia.
Last August, the original DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol Han Solo wielded on the big screen to shoot Greedo sold for a whopping $1,057,500 at auction.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign for our newsletters today