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Friday, September 26, 2008

IAW auctions losing their punch due to direct sales?

There has been a lot of talk on the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Forum about how weak the selection is the past few weeks in the IAW auctions. There tend to be half a dozen good items followed by lots of background costumes, small props and pieces of costumes. But this is not surprising. IAW can only have a certain amount of great stuff left. The amount of small or less impressive pieces has always vastly out numbered the hero stuff. And they are certainly out of, or almost out of, many of the great types of uniforms that everyone wants. Main character costumes, Maroons, Romulan costumes, Klingon costumes, Xindi and Reman costumes, Cardassian uniforms (like the one this week), Breen costumes, Generations Naval Uniforms, these are all very popular and IAW is running out, if not out of, most. That is to be expected after almost 2 years of auctions! (Yeah, that's right, December is 2 YEARS).

But, one big problem I was made aware of is IAW made a HUGE direct sale to Martin from Germany, (filmweltberlin on eBay) probably the biggest Star Trek collector in the world. The direct sale was one or two CONTAINERS worth of costumes and props. Yes, you heard right. IAW sold whole racks and complete selections of styles to Martin. Wonder why there are few DS9 style Admiral uniforms? Martin has a rack full. Why are there never any DS9 style Admiral buckles? Martin has a whole rack of them. Yeah, Martin was invited into the IAW warehouse and was able to choose whole racks of costumes. He wiped out entire styles of costumes and props. Of course, other great customers like myself, who have spent close to $ 150,000 with IAW have asked to see the warehouse and never been invited in.

And Martin is not the first. David from Backlot Props, a nice guy and serious collector and dealer, was invited in just before the IAW Warhouse move. He bought a HUGE selection of costumes and even walked away with a CAPTAIN KIRK MAROON. Yeah folks, that is right. IAW had a Captain Kirk Maroon and direct sold it. Now I have no problem with the sale. If David paid at least what the Christie's one went for (that went to my buddy Bill from the UK for $ 25,000 before buyers' premium) then it was a fair deal all around and I think a good move by IAW who probably wouldn't have gotten that much on eBay.

My problem here is that IAW, didn't give others the chance to visit the warehouse and select stuff they wanted. They never had an open house or a warehouse sale...even for their best customers. I can understand not wanting everyone knowing where their location is (they are incredibly paranoid about this), but you would think once you spent a ton of money, they would want to keep you doing so. Certainly the big direct sales were expedient, selling a lot of items quickly. But it is sad that some of us, who have been big supporters of IAW, never got treated the same way.

Now, IAW has done direct sales, and I have been a beneficiary of those sales as have others. Colin was very good in putting together a half a dozen or so items I wanted this past year. But I would have loved the privilege to roam the warehouse and pick out what I wanted. When I was out at the Burbank Star Trek Convention this past March, Dom graciously bought myself, Kenny Friedman and Willie Bathe dinner one evening (thank you again Dom) and said he would try and bring us over to the warehouse the next day. Never heard a word from him that day. Oh well!

I guess you needed to be able to drop $ 100,000 at one sale to get an invite, and sadly I cannot do that. If that is IAWs criteria for getting into the warehouse, I cannot fault them. I have always said that the better a customer you are, the more attention you get. Simple rule of business. But then again, you would think they would want to take care of their # 1 source of advertising!

Alec

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was told early on, by Dom, that there would be an "open house" by invitation only. Apparently, most of us got left off that list!

Anonymous said...

I just hate not knowing what exactly was sold. I love the Trek Archive database and not having all those items in there is, well, upsetting and disappointing.

Anonymous said...

When I chatted with IAW at the Vegas 2008 Con, they told me they "just want to get rid of the stuff". They had many costumes marked down on the last day of the convention.
-Scooby
gees guess I could just log in! LOL