Here are ten of the most iconic and most valuable props, weapons and costumes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy ever sold at auction.
10) The Shards Of Narsil
The sword Narsil was originally owned by Elendil, the King of Men, who wielded it on the battlefields of Middle-Earth. Although shattered by a blow from Sauron himself, a shard from the blade cut the One Ring from his finger and destroyed his physical form. The broken pieces were guarded by the Elves at Rivendell, until it was re-forged and given to Aragorn when he claimed his rightful place as Elendil’s heir.
This filming prop was created from the moulds of the original hero sword, and used during stunt scenes in The Fellowship of the Ring such as the flashback battle scene in which it’s originally shattered. It sold at Julien’s in 2013 for $25,600.
9) Lurtz Uruk-hai costume display
Lurtz is the first of the monstrous Uruk-hai to be bred by the sorcerer Saruman, in his efforts to build an army for Sauron. Created from Orcs and Goblins, Lurtz is the most intelligent of his breed and commands the scoputing party sent to retrieve the ring from Frodo and the Fellowship. After capturing Merry and Pippin, Lurtz kills Boromir with three arrows to the chest before being decapitated by Aragorn in mortal combat.
Worn on-screen by actor Lawrence Makoare in The Fellowship of the Ring, this costume was later mounted on a life-like display custom-made by the WETA effects team. It sold at Profiles in History in 2014 for $27,500.
8) Ringwraith costume display
The Witchking of Angmar is the most feared of Sauron’s nine Ringwraiths, also known as the Lord of the Nazgûl. Once great Lords of Men, they were corrupted by the Nine Rings of Power and forced to become undead servants by the Dark Lord. The Witchking leads the initial search for the One Ring, and is later slain by Éowyn on the battlefield at Minas Tirith.
The Witchking was also played by Lawrence Makoare, who had three roles in the trilogy. This screen-worn costume, described as the only Ringwraith costume in private hands, was mounted on a display along with the original leather belting, hero scabbard, and a stunt sword created from original hero moulds. It sold at Profiles in History in 2014 for $40,000. The Witchking’s sinister battle helmet, worn by Makoare during battle and riding sequences, sold separately at Julien’s in 2013 for $34,375.
7) Sauron’s helmet
Sauron is the Dark Lord who struck fear into the hearts of Middle Earth for thousands of years and pushed the world of Men to the brink of extinction. After forging nine Rings of Power for each of the human Lords, he enslaved them with his own Ring which ‘ruled them all’. After his physical form was defeated on the battlefield he retreated to Mordor to rebuild his strength, but was finally vanquished with the destruction of the One Ring beneath Mount Doom.
This helmet was worn by actor Sala Baker as Sauron during the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring. One of two versions, the other being crafted from metal, this lightweight stunt helmet was used during the combat sequences. It sold at Julien’s in 2013 for $41,600.
6) Saruman’s staff
Saruman the White was a formerly good and peaceful wizard, a member of the Istari who used their connection with nature to help the people of Middle-Earth. But a lust for power led him to shun living creatures in favour of metal and machinery, and he eventually became an ally of the evil Dark Lord Sauron. After creating an army to sweep across Middle Earth he is finally defeated by Gandalf, his magical staff snapped, and he meets his fate at Isengard when stabbed in the back by Gríma Wormtongue.
Two staffs were created for Christopher Lee to use in the film, a hero model and a lighter version used in wide shots and action sequences including the battle between Gandalf and Saruman in The Fellowship of the Ring. This lighter version sold at Julien’s in 2013 for $50,000.
5) Aragorn’s sword
Aragorn is the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor, who roamed Middle Earth for years in disguise as Strider, a mysterious Ranger of the North. After being contacted by his friend Gandalf, he acts as a protector to the Hobbits on their quest to destroy the One Ring. He later reclaims his place on the throne, brandishing the re-forged sword of his Royal ancestors.
This aluminium sword, modelled from the original hero prop, was used on-screen by Viggo Mortensen during battle sequences in The Fellowship of the Ring. The blade even features nicks from on-set combat, and is stained with fake Orc blood. Having been originally given away as a competition prize by New Line Cinema, the sword then sold at Julien’s in 2013 for $62,500.
4) Frodo’s ‘Sting’ sword
The Elvish sword ‘Sting’ is one of the most famous weapons in the Lord of the Rings stories. Originally discovered by Bilbo Baggins, the magical weapon is later given to his nephew Frodo who carries it on his quest with the Fellowship of the Ring. The blade is exceptionally sharp, and glows when it the presence of Orcs and Goblins.
This screen-used prop sword was used by actor Elijah Wood throughout all three The Lord of the Rings films. Covered with fake Orc blood residue and bearing the marks of battle, the aluminium sword is also marked with acid etched Elvish inscriptions. It was another of the weapons to be offered as a New Line Cinema competition prize in 2003, and sold at Julien’s in 2013 for $161,000.
3) Gilmli’s battle axe
Gimli the dwarf joins the Fellowship of the Ring at the same time as Legolas, because he doesn’t trust the elf’s intentions. Despite the historic rivalries between the two races, the pair become close friends throughout the adventure and are highly competitive in their number of ‘kills’ per battle.
This huge double-sided battle axe was the original hero prop used by actor John Rhys-Davies during filming of the trilogy. It was later gifted to the actor by director Peter Jackson, and kept in his personal collection until 2013 when it was offered at auction to raise funds for a charity chosen by Rhys-Davies. It sold at Julien’s for $185,000.
2) Legolas’ Lothlorian bow
Legolas Greenleaf the Elf is a formidable archer and warrior, who joins the Fellowship of the Ring to fight the armies of Mordor. His main weapon of choice is a bow and a clutch of arrows, which he uses with unerring accuracy against Orcs, Goblins, Trolls and even War Elephants known as Mumakils.
This screen-used bow is carried by actor Orlando Bloom throughout the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and is one of the most famous weapons of the series due to the spectacular battle sequences it features in. Measuring 6ft in length, the iconic prop sold at Profiles in History in 2012 for $310,000.
1) Gandalf the White’s staff
Following his ‘death’ whilst battling the Balrog in the depths of Moria, The Two Towers sees Gandalf the Grey resurrected as Gandalf the White. Having lost his original old wooden staff when captured by Saruman, the wizard now has a new white staff possessed with powerful magic, which acts as his main weapon.
This screen-used hero Wizard’s Staff was used by actor Ian McKellan throughout the three films of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Created by the WETA Workshop, the prop was later used as a reference for collectible replica versions of the famous staff. It sold at Profiles in History in 2014 for $325,000, setting a new auction record for the most valuable piece of Lord of the Rings movie memorabilia.
(All images: Julien's Auctions / Profiles in History)