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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Profiles in History Preview - October, 2009

With the Profiles in History auction coming up this weekend, I thought it would be worthwhile to preview the Star Trek items in their auction.

There has been a lot of controversy around the Profiles auction due to the catalog cover item, a supposedly rare Dracula movie poster, was found by the collecting community to be a fake, despite Profiles owner Joe Madalena's assurances that it was real. In fact the authenticator that Joe Madelena used was 100% wrong and Profiles has since removed the item from the auction. You can see the video here where Joe swears the item is real and talks about the authentication.

With this being the SECOND time that Profiles has put an item on the cover of their catalog that has turned out to be fake (the other being the Planet of the Apes Statue of Liberty head that was not what Profiles advertised), one has to question what processes are being used by Profiles to ensure an item is real. How can we trust anything in a Profiles auction is real if the items on their cover aren't even properly authenticated? This is very relevant to Star Trek collecting as there have been problems with Star Trek items in Profiles auctions before.

Now many of you will remember my reviews of the December 2007 Profiles auction where Brett from Federation Surplus and I went to Profiles to preview the Star Trek items. I published my review, as Brett and I came to the conclusion that many of the props, all from one consignor who allegedly used to work for HMS, the prop maker for much of TNG, DS9 and Voyager, looked fake. As Mike Moore, the well known owner of HMS, is the person who authenticates Star Trek items for Profiles in History, there is an inherent conflict of interest. Now I am not saying Mike Moore intentionally mislead anyone. I do not know Mike well, and have only spoken to him on the phone. He seems like a nice guy, and certainly knows his Star Trek props since he made a ton of them! But anyone can see the conflict in Mike authenticating props from one of his employees, especially considering the well known proclivity of HMS and its employees to cast extra copies of props for themselves and sell versions to anyone who walked in to their shop. Who is to say what was made for the production and what was just from the original molds? The waters are incredibly muddy here.

In the 2007 auction, Brett and I had pretty solid evidence to suggest that many of the one consignors items were not either production made or screen used. And in fact, some of those did not sell. Profiles refuses to disclose who a consignor is, and so provenance is never established. In the most fraud-ridden hobby out there, where provenance is everything, not disclosing this leaves to many questions when a prop's authenticity is questioned.

With the current crop of Star Trek items, for the most part, there is little problem though with authentication I think. The problem is mis-identification. The exception would be the T'Pol costume, which has serious questions around it.

Many of these items are from the It's a Wrap auctions, though not listed this way. Why not? Why avoid clear provenance? I think this is the biggest problem with profiles auctions, is their disregard for provenance sometimes, which is the cornerstone of Prop collecting. I rarely buy any Star Trek props that weren't from Christie's or IAW. There are too many Star Trek fakes out there.

Well, here is a brief review:


601
Set of six Star Trek: TOS crew gift cocktail glasses from Christmas 1966


Ok, this is cool. And I think this goes over $ 1,000. I mean, get together
with your friends and split it up! These are an actual crew gift and feature the Enterprise. A true piece of Star Trek history.


602 Original Matt Jefferies USS Enterprise bridge concept art for Star Trek


Anything Matt Jeffries is cool, and this is a nice piece. The estimate is strong, but it is a concept piece for TOS so I will not be surprised if this sells either at the opening bid or a bit higher. And while I think Mattt Jeffries is brilliant, I would wonder how his drawings will hold there value over time as appreciation for this pioneer is generally limited to those who are old enough to have watched TOS when it first aired.

603 Original Ozite Carpeting from Bridge of USS Enterprise


I guess there are people who would collect this, and I can easily see Rittenhouse Archives buying this and cutting it up for their cards (YIKES!!).

604
The largest privately held photographic archive of Star Trek images


Many know Richard Arnold, who works for Creation at some of their bigger conventions, was Gene Roddenberry's assistant while TNG was filming. Here he has offered his personal collection of Star Trek photographs, numbering some 10,000 pieces. This is quite an impressive collection and it would be wonderful if whoever won this shared it with the rest of us. Just what we see in the photographs is quite impressive and the TOS color photography is quite amazing.


605 Original Tribble from Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Trouble with Tribbles”


An original Tribble is hard to document. There were of course hundreds of them, as there were from the DS9 episode "Trials and Tribbleations". Tribbles from that later episode go around $ 500 all the time (I bought one at that price recently from the photographer who did the Entertainment Weekly photo shoot). The provenance on this seems solid, and this is reasonable at $ 1,500 or so I think.

607
William Shatner “Captain James T. Kirk” Starfleet pants from Star Trek: The Original Series


Well, here is your chance to get into Captain Kirk's pants! An original pair of pants from TOS, this should fetch well over the $3,000 - 5,000 estimate. I know at Christie's, a buddy of mine went after Sulu's pants to match his Sulu tunic. It is always nice to work towards completing a costume.


608
William Shatner’s Romulan uniform pants from “The Enterprise Incident”


Kirk's Romulan Pants are even cooler, and if you are the guy who owns the top to this, then this is a must have. Otherwise, it isn't quite that interesting. I mean, how do you display this?



609 Star Trek: Original Series 2nd Season Starfleet Sciences Dress from “Wolf in the Fold”

There were some questions raised about this piece when it was offered on eBay two years ago. I suggest serious screen matching to match up the cuts. It was priced too high at the time, but did sell in a private sale to the consignor of many of the items in this Profiles auction.












611
Spock’s screen-used miniature thruster unit for the V’Ger spacewalk from Star Trek: TMP


One of the cooler pieces in the auction, an actual filming miniature. With the Kirk Space Suit model going to be offered in this Spring's Propworx Star Trek Auction, this piece would be a good companion piece and some forward thinking collector may want to snatch this up!. I think this might go to Stephen Lane from Prop Store of London, who won the actual full size Spock Space Suit, which he acquired from IAW.



612 William Shatner “Admiral Kirk” Starfleet Class A Uniform from Star Trek: The Motion Picture

I hated this style of uniform, and it seems people share my view as the Class A style always went the cheapest of any screen used version. Face it, they are just ugly! This was sold just under two years ago for $ 2,550 by IAW. Yet the reserve here is $ 5,000. The owner has tried to sell this for astronomical prices before on eBay and no one bit. Maybe Profiles's customers will pony up the big bucks he wants. Because of its lack of eye appeal and its lack of boots and frays edges, I don't think this is worth much more than its opening bid.

From the original IAW eBay ad:

A costume featured in Star Trek I: The Motion Picture for wear by William Shatner in his portrayal of “Admiral Kirk”. The costume is a Class-A Starfleet uniform composed of trousers and a top with an unattached plastic bio-monitor. The interior of the top appears to have been altered and exhibits frayed lining, the hem of the trouser cuffs are frayed. The top features a sewn in Western Costume Co. tag reading ‘William Shatner’ while the trousers are nameless. Both garments appear to have been dyed. Sale Price $ 2,550


614
Nichelle Nichols “Lt. Cmdr. Uhura” Starfleet Class B uniform from Star Trek: The Motion Picture


Well this originally sold atr IAW for a very cheap $ 639. You can view it at the Star Trek Archive here. Note that the rank are not original and were added by the collector after he bought it. Still, he got a great deal and this is fair around $ 3,000.


621 Hero illuminating Klingon translator device from Star Trek: The Unidiscovered Country

The Hero Klingon translator has a high opening bid. The other one of these, sold through IAW for only $ 1,924. It allegedly was Kirk's. This one is already more than that price.


624
Hero illuminating Reman rifle from Star Trek: Nemesis


A lot of these were sold through IAW and hero versions were bought by myself and others for around $ 1,500. The opening bid already puts this above that when you figure in the Buyer's Premium. This is neither rare nor from a particularly memorable scene or even movie. Frankly, the background versions of this rifle display as well as the heroes as I have owned both.



627
Screen-used hero illuminating Mark TR-580 Tricorder VII from Star Trek: The Next Generation

Probably one of the most interesting items in the auction is this working Tricorder. An older TNG era Mark VII, these run in the $ 4,000 range generally, so the $ 6,000 opening bid is way high. I would love one of these, but won't bid at this price.


628
Alice Krige “Borg Queen” screen-used arm from Star Trek: Voyager series finale episode “Endgame”


A very cool prop is the Borg Queen arm from "First Contact". However, I think the estimates are way high. A $ 6,000 opening bid? Certainly it is a cool and interesting prop. But this is a $ 3,000 item based on current Star Trek market pricing. Not to say some rich person won't pony up for this, but not worth the price in my book.


629
Star Trek: The Next Generation 3rd Season working hero phaser


Well, a little research would have explained a lot. This is not a Screen Used Hero Phaser. It was the prototype, developed by Ed Miarecki for Rick Sternbach. I spoke to Rick on the phone and he said that this phaser is in pristine condition. It was never Screen Used and was the prototype Ed developed based on Rick's drawings. This is the type of research Profiles should be doing and which it often just takes a consignor's word on. I just picked up my cell phone and called Rick for this info. (Rick is an awesome guy who loves talking Trek) and then spoke to Ed Miarecki. It is also larger than the screen used versions.


636
Jeri Ryan’s “Seven of Nine” brown catsuit from Star Trek: Voyager


These used to command $ 10,000 a pop, so it will be interesting to see where the market is now. This one has neither the built in shoes nor the corset. But I think $ 5-6,000 is reasonable and would not be surprised if it goes more. These are tough to display and you do need a real mannequin to keep the form.


637
Klingon Distruptor and holster from Star Trek: Enterprise


These are pretty common, but still cool (as are all things Klingon). The estimate is reasonable and I think anything under $ 1,000 is fair.

639 Tom Morga Klingon costume from Star Trek: Voyager

At Christie's these were going for $ 10,000. The market came down with IAW sales and I picked mine up for $ 2,500. Now last time, Profiles sold one for the $ 10,000 opening bid which shows you Profiles has customers who don't care about the market, they just want it! So I won't be surprised if this sells. These are iconic, and this has the rarer movie tunic, noted by the shoulders and quilting.



645
Jolene Blalock’s “T’Pol” white desert jumpsuit from Star Trek: Enterprise



NOTE: ORIGINALLY SOLD AS A STUNT COSTUME BY IAW

This was sold by IAW as a stunt costume. They did not see any "Jolene Blalock" written in the tag as Profiles notes here. Did they miss something, or did the buyer alter the costume tag? No way to know, but the IAW listing said nothing about a Jolene Blalock name. Profiles claims" This costume was originally screen-worn by Blalock for the filming of multiple episodes, and then relegated to stunt usage when it became frayed/damaged." How do they know this? As I have said many times, altering names in a costume is the primary way fraud is committed in costumes. I am not saying that is what happened here, but it raises questions that need to be answered.

See the listing here in the Star Trek archive.

From the IAW listing:

STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE “T'POL DESERT STUNT COSTUME”

A costume worn by stunt performer Boni Yanagisawa in her portrayal of “T'Pol”. Off white and form fitting, the sides of the costume as well as the outside of the sleeves are ribbed and the shoulder feature a cream and a teal colored stripe (possibly a division strip), while the left shoulder features a sewn on ‘Enterprise NX-01’ assignment patch. The costume is distressed to appear damaged with minor stains evident on the front and significant green ‘Vulcan bloodstains’ down the right leg below the knee corresponding to a series of puncture holes. This excellent costume appears to have been featured in the Star Trek: Enterprise episodes “The Forge”, “Awakening”, and “Kir Shara”. The Enterprise tag sewn in reads ‘Boniee Yanagisawa’.


I would make sure I inspected this costume before I bid on this. I just don't trust the change. in status, or Profiles description.



Please join the discussion on the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Forum where this auction is being discussed.

Alec

1 comment:

K said...

PIH itself sold a Shatner class A at Hollywood 28 in August, 2007 (page 200 in H28 catalog). That one had breast insignia, attached shoes, Western Costume Shatner tag. No braid. The new catalog (HA 37) states (incorrectly) this one (IAW) is the first sold.