My brother, Thorkild Hansen, and I own and operate Jens Hansen - Gold & Silversmith in Nelson, New Zealand.
www.jenshansen.com and www.lordoftheringsring.com
Our late father, esteemed Danish born and New Zealand based jeweler, Jens Hansen, designed and made the One Ring gold ring used in the filming of the current Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Although the movie makers ordered some forty One Ring's of various sizes from us for the different scenes in the movie, my brother and I were left by our father seven original silver ring design prototypes, and the two original Gold Plated Sterling Silver rings one of which was ultimately selected as the final design for the One Ring from which all subsequent One Rings we made for the movies were replicated.
We contacted Sotheby’s earlier in the year and they, through their associate EntertainmentRarities.com, listed and auctioned one of the silver prototypes as a lot in a major auction called Hollywood: Past & Present. The auction was held on eBay, the internet auction website and concluded April 11, 2003.
The sterling silver ring offered (number 5 in photo below) was an actual working item from the design process for the creation of the One Ring for the "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy filmed in New Zealand. The ring was one of only 7 known remaining silver prototypes, each one different, representing the evolution of the design process. Sotheby’s estimated its value at between US$8,000-$10,000 and it actually made US$5750-.
During the design process my father was working with Supervising Art Director, Dan Hennah, who was actually nominated for the Academy Award for Set Decoration both this year and last year. Dan also recently won an Art Director's Guild of America award for his work on The Two Towers.
Why did we offer the prototype?
Since fans first discovered that Jens Hansen designed and made the One Ring for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, there has been tremendous interest from overseas in the prototypes and the story of the creation of the ‘real One Ring’.
Another reason we have finally agreed to look at auctioning the prototypes is to help put the record straight. Just before the first movie Fellowship of the Rings came out in 2000, a German jeweller named Oliver Noll, claimed to have been the One Ring designer and attempted to auction his prototype on eBay. The auction was sponsored by a big West German radio station and the proceeds were to have gone to charity. The auction was timed to end just when the movie premiered but was withdrawn by eBay 24 hours beforehand. By the time the auction was pulled the ring had reached bids of 60,000 Euros! We later found an official explanation that was issued to explain the situation. Basically they said it was all a bit of an unfortunate misunderstanding because the ring in question was NOT the basis of the ring actually shot in the movie, but rather the basis of a replica ring that the German jeweller’s company had gone on to sell to fans upon the release of the movies. i.e. it was the prototype of a merchandise replica – which did not at all resemble the actual One Ring which was supplied by us and used in the movie.
However, the main reason we have released the rings for auction is that our father loved designing and, like all artists, enjoyed to see his works cherished by appreciative owners.
As the photo shows we had seven silver prototype One Rings and two in 18ct gold plated silver. The last gold ring on the right was the actual prototype chosen for use in the movie and is thicker and wider than the penultimate.
All other One Rings we made for the movie - whether in 18ct solid gold or gold plated sterling silver, were made to the exact proportions of the last ring shown to the right of the photo. Please have a look at www.jenshansen.com/ring.html if you haven't already for more facts about the real One Ring.