Trek Memorabilia Collector Suing CBS & Christies | TrekMovie.com
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Trek Memorabilia Collector Suing CBS & Christies December 28, 2007

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Memorabilia , trackback

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

Comments

1. Chris M - December 28, 2007

This is big news!

If this proves to be true then we could be seeing the beginning of the end of Trek auctions. If you can’t trust that you’re buying the genuine article from a respected auction house like Christies then who can you trust?!

Is Spiner sure that there wasn’t more than one visor?

2. Chris Pike - December 28, 2007

It does occur to me that some of these props etc would not be at all difficult to copy – how can an item be absolutely definitely authenticated?

3. YUBinit - December 28, 2007

Paramount trying to pass off one thing for another. Sound familiar? A certain movie comes to mind… ;)

4. FlyingTigress - December 28, 2007

#1

I don’t know how any of the talent would know how many backup copies of props/costume pieces were manufactured. It might be that one is just as authentic as the Brent Spiner piece, just not screen-shown. And, unless Christie’s labelled it as such (as opposed to ‘from the episode ____” — a subtle, but, potentially legally-distinct, difference), Mr. Moustakis might have a high hurdle to clear for a $7,000,000 judgment against Christie’s and CBS.

Another question might be posed: Since the piece auctioned-off by Brent was the property of Paramount, did he have permission to take it with him?

/I won’t even discuss the concept of paying $12,000 for that item.

5. Cervantes - December 28, 2007

Over $12,000 dollars? It takes all sorts I guess.

Off topic: here’s a little snippet more from Karl Urban on the Trek shoot -
http://www.thedeadbolt.com/interviews/karlurban2_interview.php

6. FlyingTigress - December 28, 2007

pimf “Christies”

#3 Which one? If Star Trek (2008), as owner, they get to decide what they do with their property — no ‘passing it off as’. If a third party made something called “Star Trek”, and ‘sold’ it as being an authorized release from the owner, then one could argue “passing something off”.

Whether we accept what decision they make (i.e buy tickets when it is released) is our decision.

In the alternative, one could go and develop an original TV series/ franchise of their own, and keep subsequent iterations as ‘pure’ as they wish.

7. FREAKAZOID - December 28, 2007

Shouldn’t this guy at least verify the authenticity of the other stuff he bought BEFORE filing a lawsuit? I mean he is going to look like a real idiot if everything else is genuine and some poker visor (which was probably originally purchased at Wal-Mart) was just a clerical mistake.

8. Pizza - December 28, 2007

The bowl of mouldy fruit I thought was from the TNG episode: Timescape is probably just a bowl of mouldy fruit.

#3 or perhaps someone trying pass themself off as a Star Trek fan.

363 dtST

9. Joe Coatar - December 28, 2007

I apologize, I can’t feel sorry for the rich.

10. Diabolik - December 28, 2007

He was already paying more than it was worth, used by Spiner or not. He should have just ordered a poker table and visor from some gambling supply company.

11. Scott Gammans - December 28, 2007

#10: Maybe that’s what Christie’s did! LOL

12. FlyingTigress - December 28, 2007

#11

Or, given the origin of the design of Geordi’s VISOR, it might be that the property department for TNG went over to WalMart and bought a few for the ep.

I don’t recall, since I didn’t follow TNG as closely as others might have: Was AGT… the only episode where Brent wore this style of poker game visor? Because if it wasn’t, I could see another scenario where Brent “came home with” (permission granted or otherwise) the one from that episode (since it was the finale) the one he auctioned off, and the one that Mr. $12,000 was used in another ep.

I could see, in the court case, another interesting situation occurring…

If the Christies auction occurred after the eBay auction by Brent, I could see a smart corporate attorney asking Mr. M. in a deposition in this lawsuit

“as an obvious Star Trek enthusiast, and apparent (serious understatement) fan of Mr. Spiner and his character, did you have knowledge of Mr. Spiner’s assertions of the chain of ownership/ possession of his (Brent’s) auctioned-off poker visor — and took that knowledge into consideration of your winning bid for the Christies auction item?”

13. Trekkie1701D - December 28, 2007

I just skimmed the comments, so I apologize if this info has already been presented.

In hollywood it is a VERY common practice to create duplicates of EVERYTHING, costumes, props, furnishings, etc. This decreases the risk of something breaking and having to stop production. Mr. Spiner could very well be correct that it wasnt the one used on screen, but that doesnt unnecessarily mean it was a replica, it’s was just production made but not screenused. It could have even been screenused if there were multiples in use (like stated above).

14. SPB - December 28, 2007

WOW… SLOW NEWS DAY.

I can understand a collector forking over a ton of money for something from the TOS era, but $12,000 for a TNG uniform and a poker visor???

I have a hard enough time parting with $30 for an Art Asylum Enterprise toy. It’s great (I suppose) if you have that kind of money to burn, but geez… I’ll NEVER get into that hardcore collector mentality. I’m the kind of guy who just shook his head in disbelief when Gabe K. was searching for the “ultra-rare” Picard figure in TREKKIES!

15. YUBinit - December 28, 2007

#13 Very true. And given the fit in the photo my guess would be also that the prop master may have also obtained or if manufactured, various sizes not having known the appropriate fit at the time.

Was the item listed as screen used?

16. FlyingTigress - December 28, 2007

Could you imagine being the judge in this case — if he weren’t a Trek fan?

“WTF? You paid $12,000 for a TV series costume and a poker-game visor? And you’re coming into my courtroom asking for $7,000,000 in damages because, although owned by the production department of said series, and transferred from the production company’s warehouse to Christies after an investigation of items conducted by individuals who worked on said television series, it appears to have not been seen on screen?”

[bang]

“Defendant’s motion to dismiss is granted”

17. New Horizon - December 28, 2007

So, the guy spends 12,000 and sues for 7 million? What a crock of bull poo. How does that even equate to a 12,000 purchase? Get your money back…yes…get rich for life…I don’t think so. This suing business in the U.S. is absolutely ridiculous. It’s like they think they’re playing the lottery.

18. FredCFO - December 28, 2007

The Okudas used their vast knowledge in authenticating items, but they also used DVD’s of episodes to confirm items as well.

Obviously, this is not a perfect process. But if stuff wound up in Paramount’s Star Trek warehouse, then where else did it come from?

How does buying something for $12,000 turn into a $7,000,000 lawsuit? Shakespeare was right…

I’m sure that Christies and Paramount used language to the effect of “to the best of our knowledge and belief” when they sold that stuff.

Moustakis should probably reread the Ferengi Rules of Acquistion.

19. CmdrR - December 28, 2007

That’s why I only by genuine characters at auction. I’m looking to pick up Ensign Ro or Lt. Dax, but only if they have proper ID.

20. SPB - December 28, 2007

THANKS A LOT, MOUSTAKIS…

…just the type of story that the media is going to run with to make all Trekkies/-ers look like a bunch of nuts. No one would have cared to cover this story if he WASN’T looking for $7 million.

21. Eric Sandler - December 28, 2007

Yes, The Cristies Catalog listed it as follows:

LOT 633 A wire and dichroic finish plastic visor worn by Brent Spiner as Data during poker game scenes in Star Trek TNG including descent part 1 in which data played poker with real life scientist Dr. Stephen Hawking and in all good things the final episode of STTNG”

Spiner must know which visor was his as he must have wore it dozens of times. Chances are this item was a second or an extra. It looks like the beef here is that if it was a double that clearly didn’t fit Spiner as shown in the picture above and if Spiner told Christies they were selling the double not the one he wore, ahead of time they shouldn’t have listed the item as they did, as it was very misleading to say the least.

22. SPB - December 28, 2007

AND… AND!

He’s a father of six! Nice to see their college money was well-spent.

23. sean - December 28, 2007

So, is the other $6,988,000 for ‘pain and suffering’? He’s essentially accusing them of excessive greed by displaying it himself. Our litigious society has really turned into a joke. Unless, of course, he’s suing ‘on behalf’ of all the other collectors who purchased items at the auction.

I think they’re all nuts for spending tens (and in some cases, hundreds) of thousands of dollars on models and pajamas anyway.

24. Stanklin T. "Mr. Optimism" McFibberich - December 28, 2007

I can’t wait to bid on Quinto’s fake Spock ears and lobes…and Pine’s fake Kirk hairpiece.

25. bill hiro - December 28, 2007

“So, is the other $6,988,000 for ‘pain and suffering’?”

I would assume its punative damages.

A lot of sour grapes in this thread. If the guy can afford to lay down 12K on a costume, more power to him. I hope to have the same kind of disposable income down the road.

26. dennis bailey - December 28, 2007

As FlyingTigress and others have pointed out, an item can be of authentic provenance and never have been “screen-used.”

Unless made necessary by budget considerations, there’s almost never only one copy of a prop or costume. Spiner may have worn that visor for a week or a season and taken it home with him, unaware that there were two or three others made (in fact, he may have worn several identical ones without knowing it) in case one was damaged or disappeared off of the set.

27. Decker's Stubble - December 28, 2007

I’m reminded of the DS9 episode where a very angry Romulan snarled at Sisko, “It’s a fake!”.

Also, feel free to imagine Admiral Ackbar saying the same thing.

28. Tyajn - December 28, 2007

Poor little rich boy got ripped off. Boo Hoo.

29. Green-blooded-bastard - December 28, 2007

I have absolutely no pity. I can think of PLENTY of other things to do with $12k than buy a $50 shirt and $12 visor, but I’m guessing it’s all relative. How many of us make $25k a year and buy toys and comics? Think proportion. If he can afford to spend that kind of money on a crappy shirt that makes him feel better, he’s probably making millions. It’s a drop in the bucket for guys like that.

30. non-fanatic - December 28, 2007

Are these auctions for charity?

31. Quatlo - December 28, 2007

Shrewd poker playing by Data. The Christie’s buyer will get his 12 grand back and maybe some compensation to split with Data, and Data won’t have to refund his eBay buyer.

32. Myrth - December 28, 2007

Yes it could be a second prop which would give it value, but no where near as much value as if it saw actual screen time. That is the issue. When you pay that much money, you are paying it for the actual object on screen. You are buying a moment (as much as anyone can) not the cheaply made object itself. Oh and please it was nto 12000 for the visor, it was 12000 for the visor, uniform, and table.

33. Dr. Image - December 28, 2007

Yeah, there are plenty of rich guys out there that fork over insane amounts of money for this stuff, but this points to a much larger problem- the issue of counterfeit props in the marketplace. Now, before you all go off, let me point out that even the Smithsonian has been duped. There is a communicator and phaser which have been on display for years which are totally bogus. How do I know? Because there ARE people in the industry- the unsung heros- the propmakers- who KNOW. Were any of these guys involved with the authentication of the Christie’s lot? As far as I know, NO. No offense to the Okudas, but they didn’t have hands- on experience making the stuff. Others should have been brought in with first-hand knowledge. I might mention that I’m not one of those rich guys with more money than brains. I’ve built up a small collection by being lucky enough to meet some very talented people whom I totally respect.
I don’t think this is the first guy who’s going to sue.
For more info on Trek props check RACprops.com and trekpropzone.com.
Buyer beware!
BTW, I think all the dough went into Paramount’s pocket.

34. Myrth - December 28, 2007

#29 Do you know how much you DVDs, and toys and comics would be worth as cash in the third world? Take the amount you spend on these things and multiply it by 8 and that is the impact you could have on a third world country starving and dying. Are you willing to give these things up? if not, don’t point fingers at a man you know nothing about.

35. Sierra - December 28, 2007

Ok i am following this purely on curiosity but it sounds like a lot of people are just venting cause they dont have money to do the things this guy did….serioulsy he can do whatever he wants with his most likely hard earned money…geez instead of wasting your time posting dumb comments go do something with yourself…and for all you people who are just dont get the point….$7mil=punitive damages…its our right as americans to sue whoever we want whenever we want….

36. Kev-1 - December 28, 2007

Auction houses have bee sued before and found guilty of selling non-authentic items as genuine. You have to check what you’e buying. I remember one of the big magicians bought a movie Batmobile for major cash– then found out it had only been used for publicity or was an extra that had never been on screen. It’s a little out of hand, the auction business, with these prices. We’ve come a long way from the “Great Sci-Fi Auction” of 1980. Kirk’s yellow shirt (One of them) went for two-HUNDRED-seventy five dollars. And no, I didn’t bid because they didn’t advertise any Trek items as being there. But the press plays it up and gets people to pay thousands for Superman’s (only?) cape– he had dozens of capes for standing , flying, walking, not just one.

37. YUBinit - December 28, 2007

#29 Actually not even the second world. I was just in the Philippines a couple months ago and gas was around 49 pesos. The exchange rate was at about 49 pesos to 1 US dollar.

38. Myrth - December 28, 2007

#37 how much gas? An average gas tank is what 15 gallons. So is that 15 gallons to a dollar? yeah that is a higher impact than a factor of 8.sd

39. Thomas Jensen - December 28, 2007

It’s amazing how much people pay for a costume: an object made of simple common materials. And many of these are quite expertly recreated by people in the know who make them exactly like the ones seen on screen without difference. And the cost is minimal compared to the ones which are sold as ‘screen used’.

I’ve never been one to spend good money for something ‘screen used’ which has been recreated by people who have done it better then even the originals. In fact, the re-created props for the original Star Trek are superior to the originals as they have modern lighting effects and sounds which the originals would never have. Plus, they are new and flawless, not years-old dented, aged props with bad paint, which I’ve observed with some items auctioned from the trek series.

But back to costumes, I have at present the main three uniform/costumes used in the original series first and second seasons, in the same material, with the proper colors and made in the same manner as was done 40+ years ago. And I’ll tell you, they didn’t cost anywhere near the prices we see the orignals get in auction. But they are superior in that they are new and flawless. And probably better then some used,old costume, some actor wore on set.

But, of course, to each his own.

40. ZoomZoom - December 28, 2007

more money than sense. The guy needs a slap round the head to snap him out of the moronic state he appears to be in. I’ll do it for free.

41. Sierra - December 28, 2007

what moronic state?? hes using his money to buy something that makes him happy…find something to do with yourself and stop worrying about smacking people you dont know for free because they have more money than you….geez

42. SirMartman - December 28, 2007

I wonder if he will be interested in buying my fake Rolex watch,,,

43. Myrth - December 28, 2007

#40 What if he is an average joe that saved up that money for a while? We don’t know. All we know is that he is a colector from Jersey. Would you feel any diferently if he took a tour of Europe instead? Cause a nice tour abroad can easily cost that much. Bottom line is that it is his money and his value placed on the purchace. If he will get as much fulfilment from a shirt, visor and table as some one will from a car or a tour about the world so be it, its not for you to threaten violence.

44. Son of V'ger - December 28, 2007

25 years ago a famous director won the Rosebud sled from Citizen Kane at auction. When Entertainment Tonight asked Orson Welles what he thought, he said far as he knew the sled was burned during the movie’s closing scene.

45. YUBinit - December 28, 2007

#39 Your right. Ever seen some of the screen used PADD’s? Balsa wood, spray paint, and with jet-print sticker on it. On film real world detail just isn’t necessary.

46. Jupiter1701 - December 28, 2007

So you’re telling me that Worf’s pimple from Insurrection that I bought at the auction might be a fake!?

Darn, another $50,000 down the drain . . .

47. Diabolik - December 28, 2007

I have a well-used tissue that Spiner discarded one day while at a convention. He had a bad cold and filled it up with mucus.

It is a bit dried now, and turning yellow, but I filmed both the nose-blowing and tissue-tossing, and can confirm that the tissue, sealed in a ziplock baggie, is authentic and used on camera.

Any bidders?

48. non-fanatic - December 28, 2007

#35
#41

hes using his money to buy something that makes him happy

The more money you have the more you have to spend to “make yourself happy”. That’s because stuff doesn’t make you happy, it just satisfies your curiosity for a short while until you get bored and want something else.

That’s why I feel a bit sorry for those with lots of money especially if they’ve worked hard for it.

Imagine being able to buy whatever you want. Imagine having to buy ever bigger and better things to get the same excitement as the last thing. Imagine waking up one day surrounded by all this stuff and realising that it means absolutely nothing. You’ve reached the point where nothing you could possibly buy will give you the same excitement you had as a kid when you saved up your pocket money for weeks to a buy a toy car.

You realise that you’ve wasted your life and consumed far more than your fair share of the Earth’s resources. Now you start getting depressions, a short temper, resentment, and on top of that, everyone despises you because you’re rich.

Much better to find an interest or a hobby. Get pleasure out of creating things.

Think about what someone in one of the poorest countries in the world would think of you and the money you spend on trivial stuff. If everyone in the world consumed as much as American’s (for example), then we’d need three planets to cope.

No, I feel sorry for him, I don’t envy him one single bit.

49. Sierra - December 28, 2007

in response to number 48…dont be bitter cause you probably dont have the money to do these things…why dont you “create” a piggy bank you cant fill…i guess your “hobby” is insulting people you dont know…

50. COMPASSIONATE GOD - December 28, 2007

Re:13. Trekkie1701D – December 28, 2007
“In hollywood it is a VERY common practice to create duplicates of EVERYTHING, costumes, props, furnishings, etc. This decreases the risk of something breaking and having to stop production. Mr. Spiner could very well be correct that it wasnt the one used on screen, but that doesnt unnecessarily mean it was a replica, it’s was just production made but not screenused. It could have even been screenused if there were multiples in use (like stated above). ”

That depends on the time period. For example, how many Phaser rifles were constructed for “Where No Man Has Gone Before” or 3-foot Enterprises for the series? Depending on use and budget, only one item may ever see “life” as a prop, costume piece or miniature.

51. Pointy-Ears - December 28, 2007

3. YUBinit – December 28, 2007
Paramount trying to pass off one thing for another. Sound familiar? A certain movie comes to mind…

Yeah, I know what you mean…Nemesis always comes to mind as being passed along as Star Trek.

52. FlyingTigress - December 28, 2007

#39

The fans bidding on those original costumes are hoping to extract DNA (skin, hair, etc.) samples from which they can clone the actors.

53. last o' the timelords - December 28, 2007

Look props and costumes are given the detail required to look good on camera. Most are amazingly shoddy in person. Many are discarded at the end of production. Paramount devoted a huge warehouse just to Trek when they realized the fans would take better care of them and they could have their warehouse back.

I have purchased a couple of obscure DS9 costumes. I only spent in the 200$ range. It thrills me to have a piece of Star Trek history.

That said the visor purchase puzzles me as I always suspected it was just store bought anyway. I was amazed that Enterprise used the Art Asylum toys as actual on camera props. These were also auctioned off for hundreds of dollars on eBay.

54. Meh - December 28, 2007

Wel it wouldn’t take much for CBS to get HMS to make more props for them to sell off.

55. Kigs - December 28, 2007

I remember this one from the Vegas con. I too, was there when Brent Spiner said that the item was definately not the one that he had worn on set. When asked how he knew, he said “because it was my visor”. I think it sucks if it is not the real thing, though Mike and Denise Okuda do seem to know what they are talking about. Maybe this was an extra one Brent never worn or hey ppl do make mistakes. I dont feel sorry for the guy though. Why would you spend 12,000 bucks on a viosor when you were going to meet the guy in person in the first place? Beats me. I got to meet Leonard Nimoy twice now, and I would rather that than buying something way over priced if it weren’t sold by Leonard himself.
Kigs

56. shuttlepod10 - December 28, 2007

Yeah, collecting Trek props is awesome. I have an original Voyager comm badge, a PADD display used in Insurrection, and a wall sign from the Enterprise D. It doesn’t look like a toy you buy off the shelf. This stuff looks very used, and in most cases doesn’t look brand new because it’s made to only really be used once, and then thrown away.

57. Commodore Z - December 28, 2007

I’d be pissed off if I had bought a fake prop, but it seems to me that it’s Brent’s word against Christie’s. How can we know if Brent was telling the truth when he said that he snarked a prop and that this is what he really sold on Ebay?

BTW: I wish I could have afforded that visor!

58. Lurkmee - December 28, 2007

Brent Spiner said that it was “his” visor. Maybe he really did own it to begin with, and brought it to the set for the poker scene? And maybe the prop department had made the one that was sold at Christie’s, but they ended up using the actor’s own visor for the scene? And that’s why he kept the one used on screen and sold it on ebay?? And the one sold at Christies never appeared on screen? I bet that’s the story.

59. =A= - December 28, 2007

i cant trust that cost over $12,000 for a uniform and a poker visor worn by Brent Spiner (TNG: Data) come on that is bullshit!!! they got rip off money fkup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

60. Buckaroohawk - December 28, 2007

There is another possibility here. This esteemed collector may have developed a whopping case of “buyer’s remorse,” and to spare himself the embarrassment of saying “I spent $12,000 on stuff that, in it’s purest form, is likely worth less than $200,” he’s griping that the stuff may be fake.

Looking at it reasonably, he probably doesn’t really have much to back him up legally. The chances are good that Spiner probably wore the poker visor at some time on-screen. Unless he kept the thing with him all the time, there’s virtually no way for him to know if he was wearing “Visor A” or “Visor B” on any given day. Yes, he took ONE visor home and sold it on eBay later, but the chances are very good that there were others he wore as well. As for the photo above, it looks to me like Spiner’s goofing off more than anything else. Anyway, spirit glue works wonders keeping such props (visors, hairpieces, false beards, etc.) in place over a day’s long shooting.

As for the authenticity of the other props, the dissemination of such was very well documented (both on film and on paper, I’m sure), so my guess is they’re probably authentic as well. My prediction: This guy will rattle his sabre until CBS and Christie’s offer him a settlement, which he’ll quickly accept. He’ll then use the cash to purchase the tube of mascara used to make William Shatner’s eyes look all foreboding as the duplicate Kirk in the episode “The Enemy Within.”

At least that’s what I’m gonna tell him it is… :-)

61. shuttlepod10 - December 29, 2007

Spiner always sounds like an ass in person. He was probably clowning around. Every time I read some article about him he’s always talking about Trek fans like they were dolts.

62. Schiefy - December 29, 2007

#60–I was thinking the same thing. If there was more than one visor created, then how did Mr. Spiner keep track of this one visor during the entire period of episodes he would have used for them. Isn’t it the job of the prop master to keep these sort of things on hand when needed? Why would Mr. Spiner keep the visor with him this entire time–even if by some chance it was one he might have personally brought in? Again, I would think the prop department would have insured some backups were made in case Mr. Spiner “forgot” to bring his own visor in.

Now, to be fair, how could the Okudas (or whoever wrote the Christie’s catalog info) know which visor was worn on screen and which was not if there were multiple visors available? Was someone thinking on set, “Maybe I better track this visor because it might be worth thousands of dollars someday”?

Definitely a slow news day! :)

63. SteveinSF - December 29, 2007

Anyone who would spend thousands of dollars for any of this crap is just stupid. I can see the TOS stuff being worth money–since it’s rare and ready to fall to pieces, but really, to spend $12,000.00 on some of this lame stuff such as a poker visor…I say too bad, buyer beware. Spend it on charity next time.

64. Dr. Image - December 29, 2007

#50- There was only one three foot Enterprise made for TOS. It was built by Richard C. Datin and was stolen from Roddenberry’s office in ’68, never to be seen again.
Some day it will show up. Imagine how much THAT thing will be worth!

65. Scott - December 29, 2007

This story would make for good drama on Boston Legal!

66. sean - December 29, 2007

#25 & #35

I know it’s for punitive damages, what I’m saying is, can we really call that a reasonable figure? He was supposedly duped on one item, and even if that one item set him back $12,000, is it really reasonable of him to sue for an additional $6 million?

The problem with punitive damages is they are supposedly there to punish the offender, but more often than not are simply a way for the plantiff to overcompensate themselves.

“its our right as americans to sue whoever we want whenever we want…. ”

That statement pretty much sums up what’s wrong with our current litigation system.

67. steve adams - December 29, 2007

I once went to an Sci-fi auction in LA years back.
I was stunned to see someone pay 200 dollars for a 3X5inch piece of the carpet used on the bridge of the Enterprise D.
^
Just a little piece of Carpet ? When these auctions are held and items are presented as “real” people expect them to be “real”.
^
I hope the judge in this case rewards this guy *some money back. 7mil is a little much. But I agree that if proven to be true this man deserves justice and CBS deserves to take a hit. I hold them more accountable then Cristies Auction house…
^
Also this guy needs to hand back the items so they can be destroyed.

68. Ron Jon - December 29, 2007

I was at a convention where Spiner spent a lot of time on stage bitching about the Christie’s auction. He called the auction “disgraceful”. Then, apparently, he turned around and sold a prop that he claims he took from the show!

Who’s disgraceful?

(I met him at a convention. He wasn’t a very nice guy.)

69. Awdraper - December 29, 2007

all thoughts are well taken…but, being a small collector myself…

for me to have been able to buy the actual ST: TMP Enterprise filming model would have been just fine with me. I would have placed it on display in a special room, kind of like what the Smithsonian did with the original TV model…

Heck, when the close up the Vegas place, I would like to buy the LARGE Enterprise they have there…I have no idea where I would put it…

Just owning one of the main filming models sold from any of the shows would have been….priceless

70. Uncanny Antman - December 29, 2007

It’s already been said a bunch of times, but…

Suing for $7 million over $12,000 items?

What a load of bull-plop. Some people see even the smallest slight as some opportunity for a windfall, and it is just mental.

And I’ll bet you he wants to keep all the stuff, too.

If they find in his favour, I would be overjoyed to see them give him a full refund in exchange for the merchandise. (The way it should be.)

I’m thinking I might travel to the US and have someone throw a phone at my head. Or slip on a banana peel. Or eat a hamburger that’s a little cold.

Jeez.

71. Gary Seven - December 29, 2007

#48, #49- Decades of well-substantiated psychological research on happiness demonstrates that #48 is correct, although most Americans act as if they will be much happier with each increase in income. With more money, mostly what happens is you need more and more to maintain that “high.” Psychologists call it “The Hedonic Treadmill.” In fact, a study of the Forbes 500 richest people found them only slightly higher in happiness than the average citizen. Factors like close relationships, an optimistic outlook, a sense of community, and generosity are all larger determinants of happiness and do not need to be continually increased to maintain their effect, unlike money. Money IS most important when one is poor and struggling to pay bills; after that its effect pretty much levels off.
But money can have a huge effect on people who need it, and in that sense it is powerful. The $12,000 could have meant caused a significant reduction in sufferring for a lot of people (or animals, for that matter).

Yeah, it’s his right to do what he wants. That doesn’t mean I should approve of and respect his choice.

“I object to power, without constructive purpose.” -Spock, “The Squire of the Gothos.”

72. steve adams - December 29, 2007

Very well said Gary Seven, I agree but you can say this about alot of rich folk and what they spend their money on. I mean a Rolls cost over 100.000 to own and operate.
Its just a friken car. That’s more than some people and companys make in a year.
^
This guy (I’m not going to try and spell that) obviously has gotton a lawyer that positioned the case on extorting Paramount for 7 mil.
Its obvious they called his bluff on leaking this story to the press and whalla we have this sensational lawsuit story.
^
Common practice in lawsuits that seek monitary compensation allways go to the TOP and then work down.
Their top was 7 mil. What there going to prob get from a jury is less then a million.
Paramount/CBS will demand the items back from this guy the Judge will allow it, and then Prmt/cbs will go after the chaps that put certified the items for auction. They then will be fired…
^
Amazing how a few props can go beyond a show and effect peoples lives.

73. Anthony Pascale - December 29, 2007

collecting is not my thing, but I do find it amusing that some mock those who do collect. People who visit and comment on a Star Trek site mocking those who collect Trek memorabilia is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

74. Ron Jon - December 30, 2007

All this assumes that Brent is correct and that there weren’t more than one visor. For all we know, Brent could be mistaken, or he could be trying to keep someone from questioning the authenticity of the visor that HE sold.

75. Jabob Slatter - December 30, 2007

Oh, who the hell’s gonna know the difference? Ask for a refund at the most, but don’t sue for seven million when all you spent was twelve thousand bucks! What a douche bag. Somebody please set the guy on fire for me.

76. Jabob Slatter - December 30, 2007

#70 – I’ll throw a phone at your head, but I’m not super rich, so your settlement might be smaller than expected…

77. steve adams - December 30, 2007

Yea Ron Jon, your right it could envolve Spiner to take the stand.
^
He can’t go back now, but I don’t think he’s lying.
They obviously had 2 or 3 of these 1,99 poker visors lying around.
^
That’s the grey area in this case.

78. Jim - December 31, 2007

Summary

Spiner himself says he sold the real prop on ebay before the Christies auction
Christies claim they sold the ‘real prop’ in the Star Trek auction
Christies say the case is without merit
The Christies ‘real prop’ does not fit Spiner
Spiner says he told Christies they did not have the prop he wore on the show (as he sold it on ebay)

Is this not a case of misrepresentation on the part of Christies (either accidental or deliberate)?
Has ‘Ted Moustakis of New Jersey’ tried to return the goods for a refund?
Is that not ALL he is entitled to?

If I were to buy goods from a regular store, and when I got them home they were not as described, should I be entitled to sue for $7 milllion?

79. The Vulcanista - January 1, 2008

#78: “If I were to buy goods from a regular store, and when I got them home they were not as described, should I be entitled to sue for $7 milllion?”
****************************

Sure; you’re entitled to sue for whatever you think a jury will award, and why not? There’s probably some jury somewhere in the U.S., in combination with your really slick atty [Denny Crane!], that would be stupid enough to award you the $7M.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

80. Diabolik - January 2, 2008

I wonder, if i were to go through McDonald’s, and spill hot coffee on my lap, could I sue for damages? Nah, no jury would be so stupid as to award that….

81. Victor Hugo - January 3, 2008

I totally agree with16. FlyingTigress -

Besides, isn´t it odd enough that Paramount is just “getting rid of the junk”?
Couldn´t they treat it with a little respect. Like Indiana Jones would say, all these props BELONG TO A MUSEUM, where everyone can see it.

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