I know I'm onto something when I get verbally spanked by self-appointed "Emperor of Star Trek" and inveterate liar Alec Peters. Please keep in mind that the only way I'm going to call someone a liar is if I can back it up in court. If you don't know who Mr. Peters is, good for you. I wish to God I didn't, but, FWIW, he's a Star Trek collector, Blogger and former CEO of the now-bankrupt Propworx. Oh, and he made a Death Threat against me. Having Mr. Peters talk about ethics is like asking Charles Ponzi about investing.
Mr. Peters thought it would be a good idea to smack me in a blog post he wrote yesterday regarding my recent stories on the Star Trek TOS tunics that are, coincidentally, going up for auction today. I have been very clear about my views on these tunics: I believe them to be authentic production-made pieces, but find the claims of certitude that they were worn by main cast members to be dubious at best. They might have been worn by them, but Profiles doesn't say "might". They say "worn by" with total certainty. Nowhere in the auction text is anything remotely like "could have been" stated.
But Mr. Peters took the opportunity to spank me, saying:
One blogger, Don Hillenbrand has attacked these tunics. Don is the same blogger who:
1) Attacked the TOS Kirk tunic last year despite absolute screen matching and authentication by every major TOS expert in the country.
2) Attacked the TOS Phaser earlier this year depite a 100% screen match.
And why does he attack items? Because he doesn't like the seller. He hates me, so he attacks my Kirk Tunic, He hates Gerald, so he attacks Gerald's Phaser, and he hates Profiles, so he attacks them.
There is no place for personal vendettas in prop authentication. Authentication is a scientific process. It is an emotionless one. I was the last person to actually believe the TOS Kirk tunic was really Shatner's, until I saw the screen match.
And Don hasn't spoken to ONE expert on TOS costumes. He thinks he is an absolute expert, so he doesn't do any research with the people who have handled these costumes for decades.
I find the use of the word "attacked" especially enlightening. FYI: anyone who disagrees with Mr. Peters is an "attacker". But let's put that aside for now and concentrate on content.
1) Attacked the TOS Kirk tunic last year despite absolute screen
matching and authentication by every major TOS expert in the country.
While I'll leave it to my readers to decide whether or not my story was an attack, I will certainly admit that I found the evidence of "Kirkness" lacking in the initial presentation (as did many others on various forums – you can check that for yourselves). I still stand by that, based on the lame "evidence" that we were given. It was only after much prodding by myself and others that Mr. Peters was able to finally produce a definitive screen-capture that proved the Kirk affiliation. Once that happened, I was very satisfied that the piece was indeed a Kirk and said so publicly. My comments about this are public record and no amount of rewriting of history by Mr. Peters will change that.
And why does he attack items? Because he doesn't like the seller. He hates me, so he attacks my Kirk Tunic...
This is the most telling comment here and proves Mr. Peters to be the liar he is. In several venues – including his own forum – Mr. Peters stated that he used to own the Kirk tunic but he had sold it and was therefor no longer the owner. But above, he states specifically: "so he attacks my Kirk Tunic". Note the words "my Kirk tunic". God, this is like taking candy from a baby.
As for hating him and his ilk, pity is not hatred.
And here we get to the real issue – Mr. Peters had spent the last several years knocking Profiles (very much like I have, BTW) and apparently didn't want to be seen dealing with them. So he had one of his good buddies/sycophants act as his surrogate (and I know exactly who that was so let's not get cute about it). Now LEGALLY, he might not have been the owner. After all, if I sell you a house for a dollar to hide it from the bankruptcy courts, I technically no longer own it. Wink, wink.
Bottom line – the shirt was his (by his own admission) and I was messing up his sale. Which is why he spent DAYS trying to refute my story while also searching for better evidence, which he eventually found thanks in part (in my opinion at least) to my story. You're welcome, Mr. Peters.
For the record, the shirt eventually did sell, but only for the minimum bid, which was still HUGE money!
"And Don hasn't spoken to ONE expert on TOS costumes. He thinks he is
an absolute expert, so he doesn't do any research with the people who
have handled these costumes for decades."
I would have welcomed the chance to talk to "experts" on this, but let's take a look at his "expert" list from the same story:
Rob Klein (probably the # 1 expert on TOS costumes and owner of a large collection)
I am familiar with Mr. Klein and have actually bought from him. I find it difficult to believe that he agrees with Profiles' assurances of absolute "worn by" authenticity. I have not read anywhere were he does. If he does indeed have some type of "inside knowledge" that conclusively identifies these pieces to be as claimed (as Mr. Peters states), then why not just produce it? Why do we need a secret handshake to get information?
Mr. Gurian was once called a "nutjob" by Mr. Peters himself for his refusal to even consider that some of his TOS props might not be authentic. But when Mr. Peters needed his help, suddenly he became an "expert". Got it.
THE DOUBLE GUSSET POSTULATE. Regarding the size, if Mr. Cawley can supply a list of all actors for which a gold Lieutenant's shirt was made that shows none of them to be the same size as Takei, that would be conclusive. Without that, it's a guess. (Take a look at the photo, right, and tell me other actors might not have worn the same size.) So when Mr. Cawley makes claims of 100% certainty about anything, I take them with a grain of salt. Any reasonable person would.
I know of Mr. Romage by reputation and, again, I find it difficult to believe that he agrees with Profiles' assurances of absolute "worn by" authenticity. I have not read anywhere were he does.
"Now certainly, Profiles didn't have to explain themselves to someone who didn't even bother to do any research, but they did. And there rationale is solid."
Of COURSE Profiles needs to explain itself! ALL SELLERS need to explain themselves! That's how the market works! A seller makes claims, we challenge those claims and hopefully buyers can come to an understanding of what, exactly, they are dealing with. To say otherwise is ludicrous. We're supposed to just take what they say and assume they are right? REALLY?!? What an idiotic thing to say.
As for research, my story is filled with it. Common sense research rather than "I know something that you don't and I'm not going to share it" research.
And finally, here's Mr. Peters' summation:
"There is no 100% certainty. The Burden of Proof has been met, but without a proper screen match, you can't be absolutely sure. So the question is are you, the bidder, OK with the level of confidence the experts have. If you are, go for it! If not, let someone else win it. "
So he writes an article about what an idiot I am, only to come to the same conclusion as me:
"There is no 100% certainty."
I'm a fool for saying there's no certainty, but Mr. Peters then says the same thing and he's a genius. Oh, yeah, that makes perfect sense. (BTW, Mr. Peters, since certainty means "a fact that is definitely true" you can only have 100% or none).
There's no certainty here. There are possibilities. There are maybes.
After all his pontificating and name-dropping, Peters gives us nothing we didn't already know – they are the right sizes and show the proper rank and that's about it. If you think those facts are worth spending $18,000 on, that's your business. I write to inform as best I can. If, after reading my report, you think
I'm full of crap, no problem. Unlike Mr. Peters, I've never told anyone
what to do or how to think.
Some have said that my requirements for proof are too difficult to fulfill. To that I say "tough!" IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE HARD. If it weren't, every piece that came to market would be called a Hero piece that was used by/worn by a star. Big claims require big proof. If a seller can't stand some scrutiny of their pieces, they shouldn't put them on the market.
I never claim to be an expert on things I write about, for one basic reason – there's too much out there for ANYONE to be an expert on everything. I try to find out as much as I can and talk with those that know whatever is knowable. Only then do I reach a conclusion. I have no quarrel with most of the "experts" quoted by Mr. Peters. I simply disagree with their conclusions. I did not call them names or anything like that – I simply disagree and told of my reasons why in great detail.
That said, what I AM an expert on is common sense. I'm an ace at smelling bullshit and calling it out. And I'm especially adept at sensing liars. To whom it may concern: you might want to have a better advocate than Alec Freakin' Peters.
I and others have noticed that there's almost a mysticism that surrounds old Star Trek that seems to say "you're too stupid to have an opinion – only the elites can figure this stuff out." Well, in my opinion, "we know more than you do" is not a good sales tactic. Tell us what you know. Explain it to us. Only then can we be truly informed.
"There is no place for personal vendettas in prop authentication.
Authentication is a scientific process. It is an emotionless one."
I could not agree more. And THAT is why I write my stories, and why I stand behind them.
You might want to review the scientific process, Mr. Peters. Apparently you're not very familiar with it.