Hey, all -- lurker coming out of hiding here. As my screen name implies, I'm a huge B.Banzai fan, and have been lucky enough to land a couple of pieces of wardrobe from the film: the Blue Blaze Irregular cap worn by Bill "Casper Lindley" Henderson throughout the movie, and the big piece: John "Emilio Lizardo" Lithgow's coat, most likely used in at least two scenes as evidenced by the tag, but I'm not as certain about the nature of its screen-use.
It's this latter piece where the tyranny of ownership has raised its ugly head: close inspection of the coat the other day revealed some minor but enormously upsetting moth damage: in six or so places, the nap of the cloth has been eaten away in small ( < 3/16") patches, leaving the weave underneath. This despite my best efforts to prevent just such a thing. Now, it's possible that the damage was already there when I purchased the coat, and I've only just noticed it -- I had never inspected it so closely before. Still, it's pretty much ruined my week.
I've taken the coat to a dry cleaners that specializes in antique/delicate/museum textiles in case the critters are still there, and will be consulting with a conservator at the end of the month to discuss further steps. There is a process called "reweaving" that makes invisible repairs, by taking threads from hidden hems and other places and rebuilding the area -- it's fairly expensive, but the damage would almost completely disappear, so I'm considering it. However, there are a couple of divergent schools of thought on the desirability of such permanent restorations on historical artifacts, and I'm wondering if the same issues generally apply to movie memorabilia. Also, it would require getting access to hidden areas to remove replacement material, which itself would disruptive to the coat's "screen-used" state, as stiches would probably need to be pulled out and then re-sewn. So my question is: How would y'all handle this? Would you attempt a repair? I'm not so concerned about the impact on the monetary value of the coat, as I never intend to sell, rather I'm interested in preserving the value of its authenticity, if that makes any sense -- but at the same time, every time I look at the coat now, all I can see is the damage.
Man, stuff like this completely ruins the joys of ownership.