Over a year ago, I published an article about a Hannibal Lecter mask described by the seller as “a SCREEN USED PROP – actually Worn / Used in the Film“. This was listed on eBay for $14,000.00 and differed in a variety of ways from the mask seen on screen in the movie, Hannibal. This mask offered for sale had very specific and noticeable damage to it and included a Star Wares COA. It appears that this mask has resurfaced on eBay, now offered by Star Wares (starwarescollectibles) starting at $4,999.99. If the same piece, it appears that the mask has suffered considerable damage since the May 2007 auction.
May 2007 eBay Auction Archive, Analysis
Below is an archive of the mask offered for sale last year:
“Screen Used Mask Hannibal Lecter – The 1 and ONLY Prop”
Link to Archive of Full Auction – eBay Hannibal Mask Archive Auction
Please note that this prop is a SCREEN USED PROP – actually Worn / Used in the Film . IT IS SCREEN USED !!! . You can pop in the DVD and see this actual Piece .
My Client Paid 14,000.00 for this Mask , it was damaged during screen use , as you can see it is cracked and broke right where the strap attaches ?but this is the One , The One and Only ?the One from the Movie . A Piece of Motion Picture History
One of the most recognized props in American Motion Picture History , The Mask of Hannibal Lecter . This piece is SCREEN USED in the Movie Hannibal , it is in the Pink Box also seen in the Film ?.From the Script ” BARNEY (picking up the pink box) Mr. Verger – MASON The cookies. Yes, let’s have one. BARNEY It’s not cookies. He opens the box. It’s the Lecter mask “
Star Wares COA (December 29. 2005):
This Certificate warrants and guarantees that the below stated information is true and correct. Star Wares Collectibles offeres a money-back guarantee to the original purchaser listed below, should this ever be proven not to be authentic.
The mask worn by Hannibal Lecter in the 2001 film “Hannibal,” the third in the trilogy. It is the story of Hannibal’s return to American from Italy in order to make contact with the now disgraced FBI agent Clarice Starling – perhaps the only person he cares for – only to find himself tracked down again.
Original OPB Assessment of the May 2007 Auction:
I have personally researched most of the Hannibal Lecter masks publicly offered for sale over the years, and have yet to come across one that I would characterize with certainty as original and authentic, at least in terms of clearly being filmed and seen in the final cut of any of the three films.
In examining this offering on eBay, I have compiled the following screen captures to compare with the photos provided in the auction.
The first comparison shows the eBay mask on the left, and the mask as seen worn in the film on the right.
- Looking at the first set of comparison photos above, the masks appear to feature a different shade of paint.
- The way in which the two masks are physically painted is different. The paint on the mask seen in the film is “slopped on” – in some parts drips/swaths cover the texture and is thick. The paint on the mask for sale on eBay appears to be more evenly applied.
- The mask seen in the film appears “rougher” all around.
- The shape of the mouth on both masks appear different – the eBay mask appears to be cut more squared on the sides, whereas the one seen on screen has a more oval cut.
- The stress cracks on the eBay mask appear to be inconsistent with the mask seen in the film.
- The weathering and angles of the bars in the mouth cut out do not match.
- Looking at the second set of comparison photos above, the rivets used in the eBay mask do not appear to match the rivets used in the mask seen in the film.
- In regards to the leather straps, the texture of the leather appears to differ.
- Continuing with the straps, with the eBay mask, the first punch hole is very close to the rivet; with the strap on the mask seen in the film, it is clear the first punch hole is quite a bit further from the rivet.
- Looking at the third set of comparison photos above, the cake box used in the film appears to be much more worn than the one accompanying the mask in the eBay auction, especially the top edges of the box.
With my research into these masks over the years, in examining its use in Hannibal frame by frame, the mask itself does not vary in any noticeable way from shot to shot or scene to scene. I have not seen one offered for sale that matches what is seen on screen.
I can’t discount that it might be “original” [see article What is “Original”?]; I certainly do not share the seller’s marketing claims quoted above from the auction (i.e. “actually Worn / Used in the Film” and “You can pop in the DVD and see this actual Piece”). I was not able to match it to any shot in the film.
There is always a chance it could be a prototype (which would make it technically “original”); if that was the case, it would not be consistent with the Star Wares certification that it was “worn by Hannibal Lecter in the 2001 film”.
July 2008 eBay Auction, Further Analysis
Below is an archive of the current mask offered for sale on eBay today:
“~HANNIBAL MASK from Hannibal” (eBay Item # 350078412765)
Link to Archive of Full Auction – “~HANNIBAL MASK from Hannibal”
We offer the Hannibal Mask worn by Anthony Hopkins in the 2001 film “Hannibal, ” which is part four in the Hannibal Lecter Quadrilogy. Having escaped the asylum in “Silence of the Lambs,” Dr. Lecter goes into hiding in Florence, Italy. Back in America, Mason Verger, one of Hannibal’s victims, seeks revenge. Disfigured and confined to a life-support system, he plans to lure Lecter out of hiding using the one thing he truly cares for – Clarice Starling. Chilling as ever, Hannibal rocked our socks once again. This mask was seen when the prison guard is given the mask in the pink bakery box. The bakery box is included. As you can see from the pictures, the mask has been damaged, but – it’s still Hannibal’s! We have refrained from having it repaired so that the new owner can have it done by his or her own restoration specialist.
Comparing the May 2007 Mask with the July 2008 Mask:
The photo comparison below shows a matching piece broken off in both photos and the matching strap details (May 2007 mask inset):
The photo comparison below shows stress cracks on the May 2007 mask (LEFT) which match the full cracks in the July 2008 mask (RIGHT):
The photo comparison below shows a close-up in which specific marks/cracks match up between the May 2007 mask (LEFT) and the July 2008 mask (RIGHT):
Below are a series of comparisons between photos of the eBay auction mask (LEFT) and exposure-adjusted screencaptures from the film (RIGHT):
A member of the Movie Prop Forum offered interesting speculation, suggesting that the original mask as seen on screen may have been made with a layer of fiberglass cloth near the surface (which was painted over), which would account for the distinct texture and rough finish all around the edges of the mask as well as the rough edges of the drilled holes.
Example: exposure-adjusted screencapture highlighting rough edges, layering effect:
By contrast, the mask offered at auction on eBay appears to have relatively “softer” texture and smoother edges and drilled holes. Additionally, the clean breaks from the damage on the eBay mask make it appear that there is not fiberglass cloth embedded as a layer within the piece.
Example: auction photo highlighting relatively smoother edges, solid single layer:
Below are some comparison photos of – TOP ROW: Exposure-Adjusted, Cropped Screencaptures, MIDDLE ROW: Raw Fiberglass Cloth Samples, BOTTOM ROWS: Photos from the Two eBay Auction Listings
Assuming the mask currently offered at auction on eBay is the same mask offered at auction in May 2007, why is it now being offered for sale again?
How did it come back into the custody of Star Wares?
Was it returned to the dealer by the former owner? Under what circumstances?
How was it so significantly damaged since the previous auction one year ago?
If it was purportedly sold for $14,000 originally, why is it now being offered for $5,000?
What is the provenance? How is it traced back to the production?
How did Star Wares determine it was “worn by Anthony Hopkins in the 2001 film”?
With the additional photos, in conjunction with the photos from the May 2007 auction, I still have not found any scenes in the film showing a mask that matches this mask.
Jason De Bord