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Source: ThePropBlog.com, Blogged by Dan Benton
The Profiles in History Lost Auction has finally come and gone, and to say the reviews were mixed would be an understatement.
Putting aside the obvious issues discussed here and at the Movie Prop Forum in recent weeks, collectors and fans still had high hopes that Joe Maddalena & Co. would somehow come through with an event that would shake the foundation of the movie memorabilia world.
Prior to the first piece going live, I received several calls and e-mailing noting that the $500 Good Faith deposit (see: Flip-Flopping Profiles in History Removes ‘Good Faith’ Deposit) still appeared when users tried to log in using the Live Auctioneers software. Although collectors weren’t actually forced to pay said fee, it still caused for a brief moment of anxiety…a moment of anxiety that shouldn’t have happened because PiH had previously said they would remove all traces of that little speed bump.
Not everything was negative, however. If you’re a glass half full kind of person you can take solace in knowing that the prop collection world gained countless new members and had a huge influx of funds.
- The auction brought a lot of top-notch media attention to the hobby.
- Some of the costume lots immediately got broken up and placed on eBay. This gave some of the other collectors who didn’t have a ton of money to spend a second opportunity on certain pieces.
- Starting the auction at 1:00 Pacific Time really put a hurting on those out East. With day one ending around midnight and day two ending early this morning, it was really too much for certain fans to take. Many collectors missed out on the opportunity to bid simply because they had to get up for work the next morning.
- At one point the auction had to be stopped so that collectors and fans could move their cars in order for others to leave.
- Many of the props and costumes being auctioned off weren’t on display or even on the premises.
- No sound. No video. For those watching live online, it was like torture. PiH should have set up a UStream account and broadcast the auction live similar to the way Propworx had done it for the Iron Man auction.
- Several additional catalog inconsistencies were discovered during the auction.
- What was billed as a “huge ABC special event” turned out to be nothing more than a sparkler. Of the many Lost cast members involved in filming over six seasons, the most notable to appear at this auction were Sterling Beaumon, who played Young Ben in five episodes, and Daniel Roebuck, who played Leslie Arzt in seven episodes.
Another negative, which was not Profile’s fault at all, was the new collectors’ misunderstanding of the estimates. Many new faces figured the estimates would be in their price range and had no idea how much over a high estimate certain pieces could go. Several fans who made their way to Santa Monica walked away extremely upset and empty handed because they just didn’t have the disposable income to compete.
Things that make you go “Whaaaaa?”
- The 13 Oceanic Airlines bottles of water sold for $1,400. Outside the auction area, 24 bottles of sealed Oceanic Airlines water were selling $36.
- Prior to the auction, a video was shown of Evangeline Lilly claiming to have stolen the original Sawyer Letter, only to have it lost in a house fire. Ironically, later in the auction “Sawyer’s Letter” sold for nearly $10,000. To top it off, it turned out the letter wasn’t hand written…it was all computer type.
- John Lock’e suicide note to Jack Sheppard was another big ticket item. Unfortunately, once fans got a look at the piece, they realized Jack’s last name, Sheppard, was spelled incorrectly on the envelope. It was spelled “Shepard.”
- One of the Spanish “Flash” comic books sold for $1,400; the other sold for close to $3,500. They were the exact same thing.
At one point late last night/early this morning, the internet at the Barker Hangar went down and fans were forced to continue their bidding by phone. It wasn’t the first time this has happened at an auction, as the internet also went down at the Propworx Iron Man Auction (see: Iron Man Auction Short Circuited at Lot 163) back in April.
Either way, if you’re Profiles in History and the fan experience means little to you, then you’ve got to be happy. The amount of money they pulled in from this auction in comparison to the estimates was astronomical. The rich have gotten richer and the powerful have gotten more powerful.
Unfortunately, that does little for the fans and collectors who were feeling “ripped off” as one put it. Others felt disrespected and competitors in the industry felt ashamed to be associated in any way with Profiles. Many felt it was a sloppy job from top to bottom, and that it’s done more harm to the industry than good. And while I understand those sentiments, as a member of the media going on seven years now, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that any publicity is good publicity.
Still, I’d like to see Profiles make a much better effort next time. I’d also like to see them do more for the fan experience as this auction fell far short of its expectations.
In the end, if Profiles was a student, the auction was their project and I was the teacher in charge of grading them, they’d be going to summer school.
Pro-Prop Blog Notes:
The ‘Lost’ auction: A list of notable purchases
Yes, someone did pay $25,000 for this. (Profiles in History)
We may be living in challenging economic times. But that didn’t stop some “Lost” fans from spending $5,000 on a 12-pack of Dharma Initiative beer — or $16,000 for the door to the Swan station — during this weekend’s “Lost” auction.
Bidding got frenzied and expensive during the two-day sale of props, costumes and other assorted gems from the “Lost” production closets. Held in Santa Monica, Calif., but open to bidders who participated in person, via phone and online, the Profiles in History auction netted $900,000 on Saturday, according to the New York Times, with Sunday totals projected to go well over $1 million.
One Celebritology reader told me she was lucky enough to snag Sawyer’s outfit from the pilot episode for the bargain basement price — in “Lost” auction terms, anyway — of $650. But the majority of items tended to go for upwards of $1,000, making bidding from one’s home laptop an often disheartening affair. (What? I can’t even get some Apollo candy bars without dropping 2K?)
Dharma Volkswagen van: $47,500
Daniel Faraday’s journal with Jughead notes and reminder about Desmond Hume being his Constant: $27,500
The Frozen Donkey Wheel: $25,000
Hurley’s Camaro: $24,000
A copy of the pilot script, signed by J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof: $15,000
The fail-safe key turned by Desmond Hume: $11,000
The controversial squirrel baby could have been yours’ for a mere $2,750. (Profiles in History)
Jack’s bloody outfit from the final scene: $10,000
Large piece of the fuselage: $9,000
Charlie Pace’s Drive Shaft ring: $9,000
John Locke’s suicide letter to Jack: $9,000
Kate’s toy airplane: $6,500
Benjamin Linus’s fake money and passports: $5,000
Hurley’s notebook with his rewrite of the “Empire Strikes Back”: $4,250
Sawyer’s copy of “Watership Down”: $3,300
Claire’s Squirrel Baby: $2,750 (perhaps it didn’t go for more due to the Squirrel Baby controversy?)
Rousseau’s music box: $1,800
The fact that you now can’t afford your monthly mortgage payments because you spent so much money on “Lost” auction stuff?: Priceless.
By Jen Chaney
The Washington Post
August 23, 2010; 11:05 AM ET
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