Thursday, July 7, 2011

Propworx Creates An Interesting, Rereadable Reference Tool With The Official Star Trek Prop And Costume Auction Book!

The Good: Photography, Neat interviews, Collectible value
The Bad: Typos, Expensive for what it is.
The Basics: In preparation for the August 8, 2010 Propworx Star Trek auction, the company produced a beautiful volume which still informs fans worldwide!

I'm feeling a little melancholy this afternoon and it has a lot to do with the fact that this will likely be the first year in the last six that I won't be making my summer sojourn out to Las Vegas, Nevada for the annual Star Trek convention there. As a teenager, it was a dream vacation and I did not go, but for the last five years, my small business has picked up the tab and I've had two tables to sell merchandise from at Creation Entertainment's Las Vegas Star Trek convention and it was cool for my mother and I and the, for the last two years, my wife and I. But, the economy being what it is, I do not have the capital to put down for tables or afford the trip out, so unless something miraculous happens on eBay in the next week, my August will be unblemished by a trip out to Las Vegas and back. That leaves me a little depressed.

It's days like this when I find myself flipping through the Propworx catalogue from last year's Star Trek convention. Last year in Las Vegas, on the final day of the Star Trek convention, Creation Entertainment hosted an auction from Propworx of props from the set of the various Star Trek series’ and this was the first time I was actually able to attend one and bid in person (a few years prior, I went to the viewing of the to-be-auctioned props from Christie's and actually lay my hands upon Deep Space Nine, which was a spiritual experience for me). To prepare potential bidders for the auction, Propworx created The Official Star Trek Prop And Costume Auction book. It may seem strange to create such a lavish book for a single auction, but Propworx CEO Alec Peters had it created and it has become a collectible book still sought after by fans the world round.

Moreover, The Official Star Trek Prop And Costume Auction is not just a pamphlet on the items being auctioned by Propworx. Instead, this is a 296 page hardcover book which includes lavish photographs, interviews, and product descriptions that are enough to make the mouth water of any serious Trekker. Peters and his team wisely created a book which is designed to be more than just a sales tool, but instead stand up for collectors of rare Star Trek items of the history of the creation of their favorite show.

The first notable aspect of this book is the photography. This professional auction book features both incredibly clear photographs of each of the lots in the auction along with digital art, candid photographs and promotional photographs from the contributors and series'. This is actually an impressive volume in a photographic sense and the color balance and richness that is usually saved for high end photography books.

The book opens with interviews and comments unique to this book. Profiled in The Official Star Trek Prop And Costume Auction are digital artist Doug Drexler, the modern franchise Scenic Art Supervisor Michael Okuda and his wife Denise, Senior Illustrator Rick Sternbach and writer Marc Zicree, all of whom provided items to the Propworx auction. The profiles read well and are interesting, though they contain some typos which set a poor tone for the book.

The listings follow, broken up by Star Trek series and this is the meat of the book. More than simply a listing of auction items, each paragraph gives specific measurements, tells a story and/or completely details the item for sale. Some of them are amusing, like the note on Lot 07 "Rescued from a dumpster by Eric Payton" (45)! The descriptions usually tell the episode or episodes the item was in and the condition. The book also contains estimates of what these items would sell for. Unlike the Christie's auction of the biggest and most significant Star Trek props, the Propworx auction estimates are not off by a factor of 10 (items in the first Star Trek auction sold for an average of ten times what the estimates were for! No, the estimates in The Official Star Trek Prop And Costume Auction are only off by a factor of two to three. So, for example, the Cardassian Isolinear Rod (Lot 120) that is estimated at $100 - $200 actually sold for $500. It's also, arguably, the reason that if my wife ever lets us return to Las Vegas for a Star Trek convention, I shall not be allowed to attend the auction.

The Official Star Trek Prop And Costume Auction adequately prepared bidders for what would be on the block and while many of the items were production sketches which did not draw the attention of the scads of fans the original auction did, there was enough to keep die-hards happy. And now, those who missed the auction have a collectible book which shows more of the history of their beloved show leaving the vaults and ending up in the hands of private collectors.

For other Star Trek reference tools, please check out my reviews of:
The Star Trek Compendium By Allan Asherman
The Star Trek Encyclopedia By Michael And Denise Okuda
The Klingon Dictionary


For other book reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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