PROPWORX “IRONMAN 2/HULK” auction VS Premiereprops Fangoria auction…..in the battle for the belt who wins!

Well….well…well. Another weekend and three sales all in a row.  Yesterday saw an overnight sale from Asia with Juliens. Im sure that “thepropblog” will be doing a full roundup on that sale…although I will say that most of the prices seem to have been in line with Profiles prices.

Now the surprise of the day, and yes Im going to be eating some crow today, was the Propworx event. Everything went extremely cheaply! The sale was run from what I could see in a professional and quick way, without too much waiting around between items, although the current method of auctioning with any kind of online bidding seems to have slowed the process of old down. Add in an audience bidding and more than one internet service like Premiere does and things grind to a much slower experience.

When I joined the Propworx chatroom at 10am LA time Alec Peters was there to meet me but surprisingly no one else. I thought that the team had done a great job of letting the main stream collectors know about the event through the RPF, MPF and at the most recent New York comic con. It seems however that the economy may have had an effect on the event, or maybe it was the subject matter….although I find it hard to believe people wouldn’t want items of the quality offered.

I know there were some complaints about the lack of IRON MAN himself…ie pieces of the armor but there were many other cool items to be had. The end result was that pieces like whiplash went fairly cheap at $6,000, the racing suits for $4000-5k and the Black Widow costumes for $8 and $4k respectively….BUT…everything else went for silly money. Pretty much anything you could have wanted went for a fair, some might say surprisingly cheap price. It reminded me in many ways with the Kevin Smith auction…in that if you had saved some money up for a few months and were committed for some major piece you wanted…well….there you go. You probably got it. This isn’t just me talking either…respected collector Moviepropking aka Jason also commented on the very cheap prices as did Oz from the MPF. The $600-$1000 for a full drone costume seemed to be almost too reasonable for something of that size when put together in your den.

So basically if it wasnt a major character suit it was open season. If you remember the last auction the costume worn by Stan Lee went over 2k…this time $600. The ironette costumes for about $950….various RT’s for $600-800….oops…forgot the suitcases….around $4k of course….but then $100 for a prism….a principle prop!!!

Anyway if you want the prices log into  liveauctioneers and see for yourself.

Congratulations to you and your team Alec. Great catalogue (plus try and publish those wardrobe tags though), awesome auction service, fair prices in my opinion all round and I know you guys will be shipping out relatively quickly.

Now….time to talk about the opposite.

Old time readers will know that I’ve had my highs and lows with Premiereprops. On there on days they have been pleasant, well priced and quick to ship. On the low side its been a disaster….a disaster of Its a wrap proportions in fact. I myself had to wait 2 months for one piece but plenty of people on the Movie Prop Forum including David from “Propmasters” have been waiting since the last event this year longer.

Well today Im feeling the pain. I figured after the low prices of the Propworx auction, which I had basically walked away from bidding for what some of you readers will think is a rather daft reason.

So Ill put it on the table…I saw the “Three Musketeers” last night and really enjoyed it. Yeah…I know…you stopped reading the article….laughs. This man has no credibility.

Well I liked it so there. Anyway Premiere got pretty much all the major pieces from the movie and started listing Thursday night and low and behold most of the major collectors I knew had (a) no interest in the event due to the poor feelings in the community about them (b) just hadn’t bothered reading the listings of the event. This coupled with the awful reviews for the movie and I figured it would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Well of course I forgot who controlled the barrel.

As most of you will remember who have watched a live Premiere props video commentary during the sale most of what you hear is scurrilous bordering on amusing. Within 10 minutes of listening yesterday I heard “All movie props never go down in value….they only ever go up”……………….ho hum. I wonder how many people have been in this business and never lost money….sigh. I also heard costumes and actors mixed up, completely wrong facts said about movies and just plain boulderdash. I know its hard to fill to 11.5 hours of material off the cuff but you really have to be careful with what you say sometimes. Oh…and every time you mentioned “We promise to have this to you by Halloween” I wonder how many people from the MPF winced….or will when they read this. Talk about overpromising……

If you are one of these bidders....go back to propschool please

Of course we can also comment on the number of props that were described as being prototypes from production or even used that were not. It would seem that 3 collectors as seen in the photo here have no idea what a real “aliens” egg looks like.

This applies to facehuggers too. Of course the onus on proof has always been with the seller…but it seems here as usual due diligence went out the window as people spent good money on what really needed to be investigated further.

What made things frustrating too….a problem with the competing auction systems….can be illustrated below….plus the way the items were sold. So…read on.

Firstly if the item was “special” in other words likely to bring more than $500 an exorbitant amount of time was spent “chatting”  the item up…basically saying whatever could be said to make someone bid more for it. This really became annoying during “Three Musketeers” section where we were asked to believe that every single costume was one of a kind and only one was made for the film. Now….as much as I wanted to believe this one its just unbelievable to think that if a costume was damaged on set during a fight, or a piece lost that hours of filming would be delayed by not have a duplicate piece. Of course it makes for great auctioning to say…this is it…no more…! I buy that few stunt men were involved in the fights….but at the end of the day its just annoying not to see a costume tag that would prove one way or the other…and unlike previous Premiere lots they were conspicuous by there absence. Now the first item I was bidding on was the cardinals costume worn by Mr Waltz. So the opening bid is $50…the estimate is $1,000 to $3,000.

Ill let these two ending screenshots tell an interesting story…especially taking into account that the final bid didn’t take it.

Icollector final screen

Live auctioneers end screen

So this is the end result…a costume that supposedly reached $2400 and then didn’t sell even though it was within the estimate. A waste of time for them…and for the bidders who spent 10 minutes watching this go down, thought it sold…but of course eagle eared listeners would have heard behind the scenes people scurrying around guiding the auctioneer to pass it.

This happened many times during the musketeer items on various weapons and Mila costumes…the items would be started at a low price and eventually be pushed up via floor bids….and yet still not sell. Legal…yes….unethical…..probably…..in estimate……ridiculous! Also the auctioneer should not be looking at his team to know wether he can sell it or not at the price reached….he should know the reserves and sell price before hand.

I also have camera phone footage of J Kang…an overseas bidder bidding on higher priced wardrobe items and seeing the auction price rolled back to his bid from a $100 higher internet/floor bid after battles between him and whoever was the mysterious other bidder. What can be made of this…well I can believe an error made once…maybe twice but three times? Sorry..I saw this happen many times yesterday too. Not cool.

So…whats the outcome then. Well Propworx launched a punishing tirade on the flabby and tired Premiereprops and layed them out.

Whats clear at this point is that Premiereprops has had a dubious run recently. Todays auction did nothing to remove the tarnish the reputation. In fact some of the practices here are absolutely unforgivable. Bidders are no fools….I’ve been in this business for 22 years and I see some serious errors of judgement being made. I hope that others take some of what I’ve said into future events.

I think any bidder would have been happy to have bid on most of the correct items offered here. Whereas I think any bidder given cause to think twice about taking the time to bid…due to whacky estimates, strange bidding hi-cups and questionable items….definitely may not be back for future endeavors.

Dan Levine, President of Premiereprops "All props go up in value...never down."

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