While movie memorabilia can sell for big money, it’s an unfortunate reality that a sizable portion of it won’t survive the test of time. Exposed to the elements, stored improperly, or made of materials that easily erode, costumes and props can take a beating.
In what will likely become a textbook example, a Leonardo costume from 1993’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III was recently put up for auction. It’s clear this suit no longer resembles what was seen onscreen but instead represents Leonardo as a reanimated corpse with a rictus grin:
Prop Store, an auction house based in the UK, started the bidding at $6115 and estimated the costume might bring as much as $18,350. In the item description, the company noted that the foam latex suit was suffering “substantial breakdown,” a muted analysis in light of the fact it looks as though it might require antibiotics to handle. After one day of open bidding, no one had placed a bid. It’s not clear whether Prop Store will put the costume back up for sale at a later date or possibly elect to invest in a restoration process.
Leonardo fans should take heart. While the costume appears desiccated, it’s still mostly intact. Fans of 1975’s Jaws have endured the slow deterioration of the Orca stunt boat for decades, which was left out and exposed to weather until virtually nothing was left.