Last month I won three Tricorders from the Premier Props auction. They were pretty darn good deals, and one reason may have been because no one was sure if they were real or not.
As I said in my article before the auction: "Now the problem with the two Hero Light-Up Tricorders is that unless you bust open the back and take photos of the insides, you can't tell if these are production-made, or are the ones made for Star Trek: The Experience."
But since I am in Los Angeles, and live 10 minutes from the two guys who can actually tell you, I decided to take a chance. What was funny was that people who I told kept saying "Aren't you worried about getting your money back?" And frankly, I am a bit surprised. If they were fakes, why wouldn't Premier give me my money back? The last thing they need is a scandal with fake Star Trek props with a guy who has a big mouth and a platform to broadcast from! :-)
So I took the chance and here is what we found:
Mk IX Static Tricorder - REAL
Mk X Hero Tricorder - REAL
TR-890 Relativity Tricorder - FAKE
Now, every auction house runs the risk of auctioning off fake props. You take the opinion of a consignor you know, who may have other good stuff, and you basically roll the dice.
As I said, the only way to truly know if a TNG era hero Tricorder is real is to bust it open and look at the electronics. So I took all three to Brett Jones, who, outside of Michael Moore from HMS, the guy whose shop actually built them, knows more about Tricorders than anyone.
This turned out to be a replica. In fact it was a replica made by HMS to be sold at the Star Trek Experience at Las Vegas. Brett Jones busted this open (OK, he didn't "bust" it open, but used a fine point screw driver!) and immediately we found that it had the wrong power and distingusihing marks on the circuit board that identified it as a fake.
A keen eye can spot the give away
I got my money back from Premier Props as I expected. Of course, I had acces to the best resources in the hobby. If you didn't, and won this item, you would have wound up with a fake and not even known it. And this is why I think many people stay away from these auctions and the prices are low. A good price on a fake is still a bad deal.
But the big issue is Movieprops DNA, which claimed to have "Authenticated" these props.
More on that next article.