Today was the first of Propworx’s two day auction of assets from the television series, Battlestar Galactica. The first 400 of 800 items were sold at auction live in Pasadena and online via the Auction Network. I was very impressed with Propworx’s handling of the event as well as the Auction Network bidding service.
PropWorx & The Auction Event
It appears to have been successful, in light of the sheer number of items all from one television property. One of the auctioneers mentioned that there was 1500 registered bidders for the auction. The number of live floor bidders is difficult to estimate from camera pans of the room, as people tend to come and go.
Obviously, in a live auction, everyone wants to sit in the back of the room for strategic advantage.
Day One items included Production Art (Set Plans, Concept Art, Foam Core Set Models), Costumes, Ships, and a handful of props (the remainder of which go on the block tomorrow, along with Set Decoration and Sets).
While I watched intermittently, it appears that every item sold for $100 or more (with the exception of the spaceships), and there were some good deals to be found for collectors.
The event included some great framing commentary by the hosts which included commentary and interviews with principals from the production, including the people who made the costumes and props for the show, talking about those pieces as they were auctioned off. It was so well done, I would have to say that the remote experience was likely superior to being live on the floor of the auction, which is remarkable.
Note the 1:1 scale Raptor ship in the background.
One of the top items in the auction was Lot 260 – Head Six’s Red Dress:
Propworx CEO Alec Peters came out on to the floor to explain that this dress was one of a kind and actually donated by the actress, Tricia Helfer, with proceeds benefiting a number of animal-related charities.
This item sold for $13,000.00 to a floor bidder.
Alec also took the opportunity to describe the Propworx COA, which includes a number of features that are to the benefit of collectors. Alec is actually sending me a sample COA soon, which I will review in a future article.
I thought the three ships offered in the auction – 1:1 scale – were incredibly impressive, but unfortunately all three failed to meet their reserves, so none were sold at auction. Alec remarked that the will be sold privately or appear in the second live auction event following the close of the series.
The Auction Network
This was the first auction that I’ve watched live over the Auction Network, and I came away extremely impressed.
Compared with the now defunct eBay Live Auctions and apparent successor LiveAuctioneers, Auction Network really blows away the competition in every way.
Of course, the most apparent and obvious advantage over eBay Live Auctions and LiveAuctioneers is that Auction Network has real-time streaming video which shows the action on the floor, as well as (in the case of this event) commentary, interviews, and other added content. This really brings remote/at home bidding to the 21st century.
With eBay Live Auctions and LiveAuctioneers, consumers bidding over the Internet have always been at a severe disadvantage when compared with floor bidders and, to a lesser extent, phone bidders. Merely watching bid increments as text over the Internet is in many ways participating “blind”.
With the Auction Network, remote participants can have a sense of the “room”, learn more about their competitors, and learn critical last minute update information.
I have read that LiveAuctioneers has streaming video capability, but I have never seen it implemented in any original prop auctions.
In addition to the fantastic streaming video (with multiple panning cameras), Auction Network has a much, much superior web interface.
While competitor LiveAuctioneers has a site that appears very “1999” in design, the Auction Network site is very contemporary and offers much more capability for the user.
Below is a sample annotated snapshot which gives an idea of how online bidding works:
One feature that I really appreciate is the “Power Bid” options. With live auctions, typically the bid increments as set based on bidding ranges – as an example, when bidding reaches $1,000, you must bid in $100 bid increments. However, the two “Power Bid” buttons allow the bidder to advance by one or two increments on top of what is necessary. This can be a usefull tool for the bidder, especially for the higher end items in which each bid makes a much bigger difference.
But overall, I think Auction Network really is the service to beat at the moment. Very impressive.
Propworx First Impressions
I look forward to the action in Day Two tomorrow. I think Alec has done a remarkable job putting this auction together – truly an amazing amount of work in a short amount of time. Having watched other studio resellers liquidate studio assets into the marketplace, I think Propworx has in its first endeavor far surpassed anything done by Premiere Props or Hollywood Vault, who have been in the business for several years.
Very professional, well organized, polished, coupled with the fact that it was the product of someone who knows the hobby and the property. Congratulations to Alec and Propworx.
Jason De Bord