Sunday night I watched a documentary on Discovery* about how Paramount Studios sold a whole bunch of Star Trek memorabilia in a massive three-day auction at Christies. Apparently, Paramount wanted to get rid of all the props, costumes, and other crap it had accumulated over the years and thought he best way to do it was to put everything "in the hands of the fans" because they would "take really good care of it". Which is business-speak for "our fans are so addicted to this stuff that they'll pay $13,000 for a single copy of a script so let's fleece them for all they're worth. Obviously, people who are Trekkers are apparently loaded and insane.
In truth, I enjoy Star Trek as much as anyone. Heck, probably a lot more than most folks. There's something about the show that kept me glued to the screen to watch all the original series, all of the Next Generation, and a healthy smattering of DS-9 before I got kind of tired of the whole thing. There's something about a morality play disguised as "Kirk gettin' it on with a sexy alien or three" that holds a teenage boy's interest more than your ordinary morality play. Even trekkers** themselves hold a special place in my heart because they are oftentimes as big a nerd as I am at heart. But seriously people, let's examine the level of insanity at this auction.
A plastic shooting model of the Enterprise-D (the one used in all the shots for Next Generation) had been expected to fetch between $25,000-$35,000. The actual sale price?
That's right. Some guy out there was trying to decide whether to buy a plastic model, or a Ferarri. Or a house in a nice suburb. Or a year's worth of blow***. But frankly, once you're even *considering* buying a half-million dollar spaceship model, you've probably got the house, Ferrari, and blow covered already.
All told, Paramount raked in over $7 million from the sale of all that stuff. No doubt they've already spent all that money buying ads for the Transformers movie coming to theaters near you July 4th!****
But here's my question. Star Trek is now 40 years old - so at what point does it peak in terms of value? Do people seriously believe that future generations of collectors will pay even *more* for these things? Myself, I'm a little skeptical. I think that kids today will be much more into stuff that's targeting them now, not in recycling yesterday's movie memorabilia. It seems to me they are likly to view Trek stuff much the same way our generation views memorabilia from "Gunsmoke" or "Gilligan's Island". Will it be worth something? Sure, but nobody's going to shell out $576,000 for a scale model of the Ponderosa Ranch.
Something tells me those buyers got taken to the cleaners.
Still, I wouldn't have minded having a battle-damaged model of the Reliant from Wrath of Khan on my mantle...
* Or one of it's ilk, honestly, other than Mythbusters I never know what channel I'm watching anymore when a documentary comes on.
** Yes, not "Trekkies", that's considered derogatory in some circles of them. And a 250-lb dude in a Klingon Uniform complete with battle sword is still a 250-lb dude with a sword.
*** I'm guessing here. Truthfully, I have no idea what the street value of cocaine is these days, but if Lindsay Lohan can find it then it must not be that hard to find; and if it's not hard to find it must be cheap, right?
**** I know, I know, I've already talked about how Michael Bay is probably going to ruin this movie like he ruined Pearl Harbor in Pearl Harbor. But I mean, I'm 32 and still own a fair number of my transformers from when I was a kid. If I don't go, how do I know that those toys won't come to life and try to kill me in my sleep?