A lot has happened with this auction since I first found out about it two weeks ago. I have tried to be open and fair with Kevin Martin and the Piece of the Past Star Trek Auction he is running. Being that he is new to Star Trek auctions, I have tried to help, and have done a lot of work trying to authenticate many of the pieces. It is obvious that there were fakes mixed in with real items which is always a problem.
The biggest problem is the same problem we see over and over in this hobby. People assume that since an item was sold in an auction at Christie’s or Butterfield’s or Profiles that is provenance. It is not. Provenance is being able to prove where an item came from, and in this hobby it means tracing it back to the studio. In this auction we have no such proof.
Plus, there have been a lot of problems with this auction besides inadequate provenance. Inaccurate descriptions, fake items and the wrong photos were really unacceptable to most Star Trek collectors and has caused many of them on the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Forum to choose not to bid. What Kevin failed to realize, is that all the problems with the auction has cast doubt on the auction as a whole. Now, I am bidding on 4 items, but on 2 of them my bids are low as I have doubts about them. If I win them I will take them to Mike Moore of HMS, who is the real authority on those items and have him authenticate them. I know I can return them if they turn out to be fake and if I lose, I won’t worry about it.
Ultimately, what we have is an auction of items bought 10 years ago, before the Star Trek collecting hobby was as sophisticated as it is now. People simply didn’t know what was real and what was not. It is like the situation with the Mark English fakes in the early 80’s. There was no Internet and people didn’t know.
Remember, provenance is KING.
So here is the latest on the items where questions have been raised.
First, the Cardassian Pistol. Even though not mentioned in the auction ad, it is broken in two. The description says it was from a Paramount auction at Christie’s, but no reference is given.
The Klingon Mek’Leth is unlike any one I have ever seen. The finish looks totally wrong. Without provenance I would pass.
The Horgh’an was one I was interested in, but passed when I compared it to the two I have handled, both of which had totally different finishes. They were matte and this one was glossy and too light. No provenance…pass.
The Klingon Knife is a United Cutlery Replica. Kevin maintains that the sheath is a real prop, but it doesn’t match any I have seen and since the sheath fits the knife, I would pass without provenance.