By Alex Fraser
LONDON (Reuters) - A sketchbook revealing early costume designs for Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and other "Star Wars" characters is expected to sell for more than 100,000 pounds ($130,000) at auction in London next week.
The colored pencil sketches, drawn by Oscar-winning costume designer John Mollo between 1975 and 1976, closely resemble the final designs used in the original 1977 sci-fi film "Star Wars: A New Hope" by director George Lucas that kicked off lucrative movie and television franchises.
"It is very rare to see anything (like this) come up at auction," Katherine Schofield from Bonhams auction house told Reuters at a preview on Thursday.
"To have something of this magnitude, of this scale, from the estate of somebody who worked on the film and was so important to the film that he won an Academy Award for it, is really exciting."
Props and costumes from the multi-billion dollar "Star Wars" movie franchise frequently prove popular at auction. A complete R2-D2 droid used in the 1977 movie sold for $2.76 million last year.
The sketchbook is one of four that Mollo's family are putting up for auction on Tuesday following his death last year.
Another featuring his designs for the "Star Wars" sequel "The Empire Strikes Back" and also including drawings for films "Alien" and "Zulu Dawn" is expected to fetch more than 80,000 pounds.
The two other books featuring designs for his other works, including "Gandhi", for which he won a second Academy Award, are expected to fetch around 20,000 pounds each.
(Writing by Patrick Johnston; editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian)