Well, for some time we have heard that there were too many items in the Paramount vaults to fit them all in the Christie’s auction and that the rest would be auctioned off on eBay. Well, we are finally seeing them.
My buddy Dana and I were on the phone as the auctions hit eBay last Friday. 100 lots total and some good stuff, though not like we saw at Christie’s. There were plenty of TNG and Voyager style uniforms for background players, and only two significant named costumes. Captain Janeway’s uniform and Captain Terrel’s uniform from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The latter missing all the important accessories. None of the uniforms have communicators or rank pips, which may wind up being sold separately.
I am going to offer some insight into these auctions, and I do some from 10 years in the auction industry. I founded a company called Marketworks ( www.marketworks.com), which is eBay’s # 1 partner for big businesses. We have handled the eBay sales for Dell, IBM, Home Depot, Disney and about 1/3 of the top PowerSellers on eBay. I know how to sell on eBay and so I hope my comments carry some weight.
Here are the basics that “It’s a Wrap Hollywood” needs to understand:
1) Titles are everything Their titles are awful. Half don’t even say what they are, just a name of a Star Trek show. The other half don’t use sub titles. Really poor.
2) Reserves You only put a reserve on an auction for downside protection. You do it to protect your investment. So say an item cost you $ 1,000, but is worth more now, your reserve is $ 1,000. It’s a Warp put reserves on items that were EQUAL to the selling price at Christie’s WITH premium. This is crazy, and shows a serious lack of insight into the auction industry and how markets work. It will also prevent a lot of items from selling. Considering they have a warehouse full of items, they need to move the items.
3) Opening bids Why they are starting a Klingon Mask at $ 2,000 is beyond me. Everyone is laughing at this one. It is a $ 1,000 item, so you start it at $ 1 and put a reserve if you have to. But starting it at $ 2,000 is absurd.
Now we move onto the fixed price items on It’s a Wrap’s web site.
1) An Andy Propbert painting for $ 150,000. Yeah, good luck on that one.
2) A single gaming chip from Quark’s for $ 375. Give me a break. It is worth $ 150 max.
3) A warp core from an alien ship for $ 10,000. Maybe at Christie’s, but I doubt that sells for that much for an insignificant prop. Probably really nice though.
4) The Type II Phaser rifle for $ 5,100. Well, it is obvious where they are getting their prices from. That is the price this piece sold for at the Christie’s auction ($ 4,200) PLUS the 20% buyer’s premium that Christie’s charges.
Only ONE person was willing to pay $ 4,200 for this item and that person won it at Christie’s. NO ONE thought it was worth more.
What “It’s a Wrap” does is take the HIGH bid and add the buyer’s premium and think someone will pay it. What they don’t get is that only one person valued the item that highly. They surely do not understand markets and how they work.
5) Star Trek II – Ceti Alpha Creature mold $ 100,000. Oh GIVE ME A BREAK!
Finally, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT. There are 6 months of auctions. They did this with the Xena prop auction several years ago and prices plummeted over the course of months. There are thousands of items at the Warehouse. Let them go unsold, don’t overpay. You will get things cheaper later.
Well, feel free to comment!