Well, it is Star Trek auction season! After almost a year of no significant Star Trek auction since IAW sold off everything they had left in a fire sale to Martin Netter from Germany, We now have not one, but three big Star Trek auctions!
Now, everyone pretty much knows I run Propworx, and we have a Star Trek auction in August. Ours is officially licensed by CBS, of which I am very proud. It is also our first multiple-consignor auction, which presented some interesting challenges and was a lot of fun (We just put the catalog to bed and off to the printer!).
So despite this, I am going to, as always, be fair and honest when talking about other auctions because that is what the over 8,000 unique visitors a month I get expect. When it comes to Star Trek, this is the source for info in the hobby and if I get like another prop blogger, and start playing favorites, then I lose credibility with you, the reader.
More importantly, you all rely on my expertise in deciding what to bid on sometimes. And I will have more information on the items in the auctions as I go and inspect everything.
Julien's Auctions released their Star Trek catalog in PDF form this week and you can see it here. The interface is slick, but many have complained (including me) that the "zoom" feature doesn't work.
Overall, the catalog is nice, though the designer seemed to like overusing bright colors. The descriptions are good, but Julien's shows its lack of Star Trek expertise by how it devotes entire pages to sub standard costumes (like the Jem H'adar that isn't even complete and is worth maybe $ 300 as is.) The photographs are excellent and the layout refreshing. Julien's does a nice job here and I suggest you all buy the catalog, which is $ 50.
As I reported previously here, the auction has the William Shatner memorabilia collection and the Roddenberry estate sale in addition to a few costumes from Majel Roddenberry and the 17 JJ movie items.
After talking amongst other collectors, the first impression of this catalog remains: a lot of memorabilia that is not very interesting to serious prop & costume collectors. And the JJ items will certainly sell very high because of their temporary rarity. So overall, not a lot to get terribly excited about.
For a complete review of the JJ movie items, check out my previous blog entries here.
I will say I think Julien's is a first rate operation and doesn't suffer from many of the problems that Profiles does (more on that later). I think they take their sales very seriously, and quality is very important to them. Everything they do is top notch I think.
For full disclosure, there is one item I want in the JJ collection, and I am willing to overpay for it. I rarely do that, but sometimes you think like a nut.....
A few days later Profiles in History came out with their Star Trek catalog, which is basically the third day of their June Hollywood auction, and it is chock full of goodies. The entire catalog has great stuff, which is typical from Profiles.
Their catalog however, continues to be sub-standard. It amazes me that despite Profiles being the # 1 entertainment memorabilia auction house in the industry by volume (followed by Julien's, Heritage and Propworx), their presentation ranks last. Propworx, Julien's and Heritage ALL have better catalogs than Profiles. It is sad because they have such great stuff, but choose not to put in the work to highlight those items in a dynamic and interesting way.
Now, while Profiles in History is the king of props (With all due respect to the PropKing Jason White!), they have been known to be sloppy in their authentication process. Heck, two of the items on the cover of their catalogs have proven to be fakes in the last two years, and I have had many problems with their Star Trek items.
In the past I have brought to light items that were either misidentified (see here) and Profiles refused to make any correction to the description, or just VERY suspect (see here and here). Everyone should read this article about how Profiles lets consignors write descriptions, and how Profiles doesn't necessarily check everything out in depth.
Now do I think Profiles is trying to defraud anyone? No. I just think they are sloppy at times, and in the most fraud ridden hobby out there, you need to be extra vigilant.
OK, so on to their Hollywood Auction # 40, of which there are almost THREE HUNDRED Star Trek lots! The vast majority of these items are from one collector who had a connection inside Paramount. So that is why you didn't see any hero Tricorders in Christie's or IAW's auctions.
This is the biggest Star Trek collection of goodies to hit the auction block since Christie's (though the Propworx sale will be twice as large) and there is almost nothing but high quality hand props. Start making your list and planning your budget now, because you will go broke if you are not careful.
The good news is that there are SO many good items, that I think prices will be depressed. Early on in the auction, people will be careful and saving their money for later on when other items hit. And later in the auction people will have spent their budgets!
I will be writing more about the Profiles auction and go and check everything out in the next two weeks. So stay tuned and join the conversation on the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Forum.