One of the absolute holy grails of Star Trek collecting is being offered in Julien's upcoming auction (Icons and Idols 2013: Hollywood): an original Captain James Kirk tunic from 1969. I haven't done any actual research on the piece as yet, but at a glance everything looks right.
That's right – this awesome piece of Star Trek history has an autograph of William Shatner written right across the front in huge black marker. Now if you think that's kind of cool, good for you. But I guarantee that most collectors are going to be like me. They'll take one look at this piece, recoil in horror and scream out "WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING???!!!!???"
Just about anyone who is interested in such an amazing piece is going to want it in original condition. Some wear and tear and perhaps a bit of fading would be expected. But in this writer's opinion, this piece has been RUINED by the autograph. While it's certainly not worthless, I can't see how it will bring the kind of money the last specimen brought ($100,000). Not with that silly signature jotted across it.
To give a real-world example of this type of folly, a screen-used uniform worn by The Doctor as played by Robert Picardo on Voyager has been on Ebay for years. Literally years. Now The Doctor is one of the most popular characters from Voyager, and the uniform is certainly one of the more desirable versions (his red Command uniform when he became the "Emergency Command Hologram" or ECH). But it has the same problem as the Kirk shirt – the owner thought it would be a great idea to have Picardo autograph it right across the front. The seller has tried a variety of discounts with no takers. What a waste.
Maybe there's some rich collector out there that thinks the signature actually adds value to the piece (or at least doesn't detract). If so, good for them. But there have times in the past when a Shatner piece came up for auction and I put my life on a standstill trying to figure out how (or if) I could pursue it. This time, I certainly don't have that worry.
There's darn few pieces of this caliber still around from the original Star Trek. It pains me greatly that this one was treated so cavalierly. So if you ever want to get an autograph from your favorite Trek actor, please, PLEASE leave the one-of-a-kind "super-piece" at home!