Collector Spotlight: Louis Testaniere


This week we interviewed Louis Testaniere from New York City. Louis is a huge movie buff and owns several collectibles from classics like Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings. To see more of his collection, click here.

1. How did you first get into collecting?

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I’ve been a huge movie fan for the last fifteen years, especially genre movies from Spain and Italy from the 70’s and 80’s. I am originally from France so it was hard to get access to these objects. When I moved to New York two years ago, I started looking online for things that were affordable. The first item I bought was the Jurassic Park Cryocan Replica made by Rylo. I just loved this movie that I grew up with and couldn’t help myself. I had to buy it! From that point on, I started collecting 1:1 replica props from movies I love. No figures or art, only the life-size replicas of iconic items used on set. I feel no obligations to build myself a huge collection, but I want the best quality and the most screen-accurate replicas I can find.

2. Where do you usually go to find items to add to your collection?

Hard to say. Every collector knows you need to dig deeper and deeper to find good opportunities. It sometimes take a while to find a good deal on eBay, Craigslist, Etsy or directly with some prop makers, which is great actually. To me, the waiting and the fact of looking everywhere for an item I really want is a big part of my pleasure. The day I stop having this guilty pleasure in collecting, I will stop right away.

3. Which item is your absolute favorite?

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 2.23.29 PM Probably the Cryocan, because it’s the first item I ever purchased. But I also love my 2019 Rick Deckard’s blaster replica I bought from a Japanese manufacturer directly from Japan. Blade Runner is an incredible masterpiece, and I really enjoy owning a quality piece from this movie.

4. How much do you think your most valuable item is worth?

No idea. Most of the items I own are limited quantities and are constantly increasing because they’re sold out. I always try hard to find the best deal, so I don’t think I bought a piece more than $600 or $700. And they probably are worth a few thousand dollars now.

5. Would you ever consider selling your collection?

Yes. If I stop enjoying this, or if I need the money, I won’t have any problem selling the whole collection. I hope that will never happen though!

6. Do you go to events where you can meet people who collect?

Unfortunately not. I’ve never really dared to go. That’s why I love Gemr and similar websites, where I can discuss movies and props within very cool and interesting communities. It also shows me what items are catching the eyes of others, and it’s often a big surprise. Back in France, I used to love going to genre movie festivals, like Gerardmer, the Bruxelles International Film Festival, the Etrange Festival, and of course the International Film Festival of Cannes, the city I come from.

7. Do you think your collection will ever be “complete”?

I guess not. But once again, I don’t feel the need to have the biggest prop collection on Earth. I want items from movies I like, and as long as good movies continue to be released, there is no way I will stop!

8. Do your friends and co-workers know about your collectibles?

Most of them. They know about my passion for cinema and genre movies, as I can’t stop talking about it.

9. What is your “holy grail” item?

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 2.41.21 PM A real “grail” item actually! The item I have always wanted became mine very recently. Another example of an item I was dreaming about, but is not very spectacular for other people or non-collectors is the Grail Diary of Henry Jones, Sr. given to Indy in the Last Crusade. This is probably one of the most significant items of the franchise, as it stands in the center of the story. It is the story version made by extra-talented Sarednab, with a lot of inserts by Anthony “Indy” Magnoli.