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Provenance pays
Provenance pays
Screen-Featured Prop: T-800 Arm from The TerminatorDate of Origin: 1984
Estimated Value: $15,000

Shay Austin, assistant art director on The Terminator had no idea she was working on an iconic movie. Yet after the explosive climax was filmed, she and other members of the crew collected the pieces of the cybernetic killing machine sent from the future to assassinate Sarah Connor. Back then, people didn't collect memorabilia like they do now, but Austin liked the film so much, she kept some of the items for herself.

Terminator auctions are extremely popular with collectors -- a full T-800 Endoskeleton from special effects master Stan Winston sold for $425,000. Estimated at $15,000, Austin's T-800 arm went up for auction on July 17 through Heritage Auction Galleries. The difference, besides the fact that it was an entire skeleton versus an arm, says Profiles in History's Maddalena, is that items that come from established names like Winston are more valuable than those from lesser known crew members like Austin. "The biggest part of these collectibles is where they come from, the authenticity and the provenance," he says.

The high bid on the T-800 arm was approximately $9,000, but the buyer, as well as the under-bidder, dropped out of the auction after it closed, which means the item is still available for purchase. Heritage says they plan to put the arm back up for auction again in November, displaying the piece in the window of their new Park Avenue, New York office until then. They contend the piece is an incredible bargain, and would make a great centerpiece for a mid-range collection. Let's just hope they don't start allowing bids from the folks at Cyberdyne Systems.


Last updated July 22 2010: 11:03 AM ET
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