U.S. auctioneer withdraws bidding for Star Wars lightsaber on authenticity issue

LOS ANGELES, Dec 10 - A California auction house on Monday withdrew from sale a lightsaber described as having been used by Luke Skywalker in the first "Star Wars" movie after fans raised concerns about its authenticity.

The lightsaber was due to be sold by Profiles in History at a Los Angeles auction on Thursday with an estimated sale price of up to $200,000.

It was described as having been one of five designed by Oscar-winning "Star Wars" set decorator Roger Christian and used by actor Mark Hamill's young Skywalker character in the 1977 film "Star Wars: A New Hope." Christian had supplied a letter of authenticity to accompany the sale.

"In light of conflicting information regarding the origin of Roger Christian’s Lightsaber, Profiles in History has decided to withdraw the piece from this auction until Mr. Christian can clear up the inconsistencies that have been brought to our attention," Profiles in History chief executive Joe Maddalena said in a statement.

Christian did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Profiles in History declined to comment further.

Some Hollywood memorabilia and "Star Wars" fans had raised questions about whether the lightsaber was used by Hamill in the film, or might be a replica or prototype.

California-based Jason DeBord, the editor-in-chief of the blog, examined postings by Christian on social media websites in 2015 and 2016 in which the artist wrote about making recent exact prototypes of the 1977 Skywalker lightsaber.

"Star Wars" movies have made billions of dollars at the box office worldwide, and props and costumes from the sci-fi saga can fetch sky-high prices at auction.

A different lightsaber used by Skywalker fetched $450,000 at auction last year.