A custom Lord of the Rings tribute lightsaber known as ‘Saber of Numenòr’ sold at auction for £2000 (the equivalent of about $2458) on May 9, 2020. The winning bidder is a lightsaber enthusiast in Illinois. The ornately decorated hilt, customized by Carl Danby of Vaults of Valhalla, is now reportedly the most expensive empty KR Sabers Flagship lightsaber hilt ever sold. Carl states that the Saber of Numenòr is “the most lavish saber I have managed to produce.”
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“I created this [lightsaber] with an eye towards what the line of kings would use were they to have one of these,” Carl said in the auction listing. He refers to the lightsaber as ‘Saber of the Numenòrian Kings’, although the hilt is popularly called the ‘Saber of Numenòr’.
The 10.75 inch long aluminum hilt is adorned with Numenòr and Gondor-themed etchings, genuine silver wire accents, and a navy suede wrap. The hallmark features of the hilt are the two brass rings etched with One Ring lettering in Elvish script. Carl says the two rings are intended to serve as “reminders to the line of kings of Isildurs Bane and how corrupting it is” and are not intended to represent the notorious One Ring itself.
“[T]he ring facsimiles on it were incredibly difficult to etch due to the 3 different angles on the outward face,” Carl said in an interview with SaberSourcing. “I actually had to fill half the etch in by hand using fine point acrylic markers.” He says attaching the rings on each end of the suede grip proved difficult as well. The painstaking procedure involved sliding the rings “over the wrap and stitching without causing damage, and THEN finding a way to get the silver wire secured in properly.” A 925 sterling silver wire wraps around the edges of the navy suede and also accents the emitter section of the hilt.
Instead of selling the Saber of Numenòr outright at a fixed price, Carl decided to auction off the piece in the Elite Lightsaber Society, a private Facebook Group with over 14,500 members. Prior to the auctioning of the hilt, photos of the Saber of Numenòr had heavily circulated on Facebook and Reddit among Star Wars fans and Lord of the Rings fans alike. One post in the r/StarWars subreddit has earned 36,881 upvotes and 700 comments, as of May 13, 2020.
“I wanted everybody to have a chance at [The Saber of Numenòr], as it has been insanely popular,” Carl wrote in the Elite Lightsaber Society auction post. Carl Danby listed the lightsaber as a sales post in the group, accepting bids on the item in the comments section during a 24 hour period starting on May 8 and ending on May 9, 2020. Bidding started at £150 with the stipulations that the winning bidder pays for insured shipping and for all transaction fees.
The winning bid of £2000 surprised many observers and exceeded even Carl’s expectations. “[N]ever in a million years did I imagine it would hit the price it did,” he said. “I actually felt a bit sick after.”
Carl says that the most rewarding part of the ‘Saber of Numenòr’ project is “knowing that despite all the stress, the uncertainty, the effort and in some cases even self harm required to bring these designs to life is met with such appreciation from the community. It’s honestly the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
According to Carl, it’s “highly doubtful” he will auction off another lightsaber in the future. He says he auctioned the saber due to its popularity on Reddit and Facebook and “the general clamour over who was going to own it meant that I didn’t want people to feel like they missed out on it because it was posted at whatever time.”
Several people have asked Carl if he will make the Saber of Numenòr again. “I will never make the same design,” he wrote in the auction thread. “My entire process revolves around every saber being absolutely unique. They’re all one offs and the designs are deleted once the hilts are completed.”
Carl Danby’s next personal project is a Warhammer themed lightsaber hilt. He is posting updates about the project on the Vaults of Valhalla Facebook page. “I’ve got something very special planned for the [hilt] shrouds this time,” Carl says, “something I don’t think I’ve seen anybody do before, so hopefully another first for the community too. I’m excited to start work on it!”
Vaults of Valhalla, operated by lightsaber customizer Carl Danby, specializes in etching, leather wrapping, and wire wrapping services. Founded in 2020, the company is based in Plymouth, United Kingdom.
Vaults of Valhalla (Facebook)