Last year Christie’s auction house helped CBS Paramount unload 1000 lots of memorabilia from the Star Trek vault in a highly publicized auction that brought in over $7 million. However, it appears one collector is not so happy and believes he has been duped. Ted Moustakis of New Jersey spent a total of over $12,000 for a uniform and a poker visor worn by Brent Spiner (TNG: Data) as well as a poker table used on TNG. Moustakis now claims that the items are not genuine and says that Spiner is backing him up.
Moustakis tells the New York Daily News that when he went to the Creation Vegas convention last August he brought the visor to get it signed by Spiner, but Spiner told him it was a fake and the real one was sold by the actor himself on EBay. TrekMovie.com can confirm this because Spiner actually spoke about this when on stage. Of course Spiner could be wrong and maybe there was more than one. Moustakis also states that Spiner told him that he had notified Christies they didn’t have his visor.
Moustakis is convinced he has been duped and now thinks the uniform and table he bought are also not genuine. According to The New York Post Moustakis is suing CBS Paramount and Christies for $7 million bucks. He and his lawyer believe that Christies knowingly sold bogus items as genuine memorabilia. Moustakis’ lawyer Richard Borzouye tells the paper “they were given strong reason to believe certain items were not authentic. This was done knowingly.” Both papers say that CBS and Christies were not available for comment.
UPDATE: AP is reporting that a Spokesman for Christies states “the case has not merit.”
Moustakis with his alleged fake memorabilia
Christies is possibly the most famous and well respected auction house in the world, but they have had legal trouble in the past. In 2001 they (along with Southeby’s) were slapped with a $512 Million judgment for price fixing. In the case of the Trek auction they solicited the help of famed Trek designers Mike and Denise Okuda to authenticate and catalog items for the auction. The process was even documented and turned into a TV special on the History Channel. It seems a bit far fetched that CBS and Christies would sell something that was a fake, but it is within the realm of possibility that an item could have been misidentified. Two identical items would have very different prices if one was worn by a star actor on screen and the other was just a never-used backup.
All those who have bought items at Trek auctions will certainly want to keep an eye on this suit and TrekMovie.com will provide updates as they become available. For more see The New York Post and The New York Daily News. The story has also been picked up by NBC10 in New York.
Data wearing his Poker Visor