An original screen-featured Prop T-800 Terminator arm, the only surviving piece of its kind from the two original full-sized Terminator robots created for the groundbreaking 1984 sci-fi classic, will be sold at Heritage Auction Galleries on July 17.
It is expected to bring upwards of $15,000.
The piece comes from the private collection of Shay Austin, an Assistant Art Director on the movie who has maintained possession of the iconic prop for the last 25 years.
This emblematic prop was part of one of two full-size Terminators made for the movie. The first robot was made to articulate and move for close up shots while the second, from which this piece comes, was made specifically to be blown up at the film's climax.
"I was there and after the explosion I ran up with the special effects crew to see what was left," said Austin. "We started picking up the pieces and I picked up the arm. I stayed on the film until the very end including doing pick up shots.
"After that we wrapped quickly, and I had another job to go to, so I tossed the arm into a box with some other leftover props, and then into my storage. Because I liked the film so much I kept some of the pieces as my souvenirs. Now Heritage is selling them all."
That fateful decision, made at a time before Terminator became a genre classic, spawned three sequels and a television series spin-off and redefined the art of motion picture special effects and the telling of epic Sci-Fi, has now proved a prescient one for Austin.
She now finds herself in possession of one of the greatest pieces of modern Hollywood memorabilia known.
"No one saved props for their future value as memorabilia in those days," said Doug Norwine, Director of Music & Entertainment Auctions at Heritage Beverly Hills.
"That's why the 'original' items from this classic film are so hard to find. In fact, besides James Cameron himself, Shay probably has the best collection of Terminator memorabilia on the planet."
"In the year we shot no one was thinking about keeping this stuff," said Austin. "After the principal photography, I remember seeing piles of costumes and other items in the halls of the production office and being repeatedly asked to help just get rid of it. Because I liked the film so much I just hung onto the last box of a few of the items until now."
"Despite all the explosions in the movies and all the permutations on the story throughout its various incarnations," said Norwine, "the piece that basically set the entire story in motion, this metal arm, has somehow survived.
"Who knows, the entire fate of humankind could rest on the right bidder buying this piece, and keeping it safe from those who would use it for nefarious ends."
The metal arm measures approximately 24" in length and is partially articulated. One of the fingers has separated over time due to the soft-wiring of the endoskeleton's parts, done to allow it to fragment properly during the explosion.
Otherwise the arm is in overall Very Fine condition. It is accompanied by the April 1985 issue of Cinefex magazine, with a cover feature on the movie's special effects, and a letter of provenance from Austin.
Also included in the auction from Austin's collection is a collection of Terminator Continuity Photos and Production Documents from the filming of the classic "I'll be back" action sequence in the Los Angeles Police station, accompanied by five pages of shooting notes, a 92-page shooting schedule, and 14 pages of shooting schedule revisions.
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