The Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Forum hit 500 members a couple weeks ago. This after only 15 months on the net! The forum is the # 1 spot for collectors of original, screen used and production made props and costumes. If you read this blog and you aren't a member of the forum, you really should be. Why?
1) The biggest Star Trek prop & costume collectors are all members here. Forum members have dominated the It's A Wrap auctions. Most of the best Star Trek collections in the world are represented on the forum. The members don't just talk about props & costumes, we actually collect and treasure the stuff!
2) The best discussions happen on the forum. There are always active discussions about everything from prices to authentication to preservation. Have a question about something you own, or are thinking of buying? Forum members will help! Share your collection, get help with displaying costumes, find out which lighting is best. We discuss it all in a friendly, non-threatening manner.
3) No flame wars or get-a-lifers. Unlike other forums which we all have had to deal with, our forum doesn't have flame wars. We don't have members who feel it is necessary to insult you when they don't like your opinion, or feel that hiding behind a computer allows them to say whatever they want.
Why? Well, first of all, we are mature adults and this is a hobby. We are here to have fun. Second, we get together as a forum every year in Las Vegas at the Creation Star Trek Convention and host the Star Trek Prop & Costume Display that dozens of members take part in. We all try and meet up as often as we can at Star Trek events and conventions and actively promote the hobby in the real world, not just online. So there is a fellowship you won't find elsewhere. (Two members are even getting married on the Bridge this year).
4) Real props, not replicas. We deal in real, production-made and screen used props and costumes. While we may buy replica comm badges, rank pips or the occasional phaser when we need to finish a costume, you won't find many discussions about replicas on our forum. The Replica Prop Forum, The Trek Prop Zone and ASAP are all good places to talk about replicas.
5) Fraud Prevention and assistance. While other forums will talk about what is real and what is fake, we go out of our way to help collectors resolve their problems as well as not get into bad deals in the first place. We are continually looking out for our members, and then help them resolve issues. While other forums talked about the sale of a fake phaser on eBay a few months ago, our forum helped the buyer get his money back, and then even helped the seller get HIS money back when he found out the he had been taken too. We actively help the collecting community with DEEDS not just words. We also maintain a section of our site with reviews of sellers as well so collectors can find out about the reputation of sellers.
6) Expertise. STPC&A Forum members not only have more original Star Trek props and costumes than any other forum membership, but we have members who do significant research and know about the subject. Even IAW is now using forum member Jorg to help identify props. He has been doing it for forum members since last year. Give him ANY prop and he will not only tell you where it was used, but supply screen caps! Aaron Carlson is one of the top collectors of Maroon Officer's uniforms (and Star Trek V, but we don't bring that up much) and he can help you with questions on that subject. Jordino and Katie are Vulcan specialists. Even Star Trek production crew use the forum to help them with the sale of their own props and items from the show.
So if you aren't a member, you should be! We would love to have you. And thanks to everyone who has made the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Forum the best!