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  Buying loose space artifacts to embed

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Author Topic:   Buying loose space artifacts to embed
denali414
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Posts: 182
From: Raleigh, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 02-06-2018 07:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone tried or contacted a company to make lucites for a group here?

The upcoming Heritage auction in May has multiple lots of Apollo 14 ablative plugs (87+ total plugs) and other lots in total of 100+ plugs of various missions (not specifically identified). Was just wondering if anyone has tried to get a cS group together to purchase a lot and get the lucite done by the group, which should be a lot less expensive then if the lucites were bought straight from auction.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 38847
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-06-2018 07:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Group bids needs to be handled carefully. There are laws against bidders agreeing to bid as one entity, rather than bidding against each other, to keep the price low.

It might be better for an individual to buy the items alone and then, if successful, sell the embedded pieces to others.

fredtrav
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Posts: 1546
From: Birmingham AL
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 02-06-2018 09:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it is a great idea if it can be done legally. Maybe a lawyer here can chime in, but perhaps a consortium be formed to bid on certain lots, and only those lots, with each member putting in a certain amount ahead of time with one person as the designated bidder. Then the consortium embed them in the lucite an distrubte them.

GrantV
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Posts: 27
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 02-06-2018 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GrantV   Click Here to Email GrantV     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with the idea of a consortium, and would be interested.

neo1022
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Posts: 256
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 02-06-2018 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I think this auction will do a lot to devalue the market on flown Apollo 14 plugs and kapton (unless the buyers hold them back and don't encase and sell them, as usually happens).

They really shouldn't release this much of the same material to market at the same time. In the ancient coin market — limited by similar supply-demand dynamics — when a horde of previously rare coins is found, they release them to market very slowly, often over decades. This artificial scarcity is still scarcity, so it keeps prices healthy and investments sound.

denali414
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Posts: 182
From: Raleigh, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 02-06-2018 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do not mean to devalue an auction or step on anyone's toes. Had not really thought about auction prices as many like the actual plug, instead of having it encased. So figured just a much smaller subset of people might be interested that would otherwise not buy a whole lot. Do not want to devalue or cause a legal problem.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 4095
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-06-2018 03:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by neo1022:
I think this auction will do a lot to devalue the market on flown Apollo 14 plugs and kapton.
Concur, contingent upon what the lot(s) go for. We could see some spirited bidding by multiple individuals who either perceive an investment opportunity or others who will compete in the interest of displacing these plugs from the market.

mode1charlie
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Posts: 1032
From: Honolulu, HI
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 02-06-2018 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm interested in the consortium idea — as long as it's legally above board and the buyer/producer is well-known and reputable.

neo1022
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Posts: 256
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 02-06-2018 08:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I assume they will fetch a healthy sum, but I given they way market forces work, I bet the secondary market for the lucite will crash and burn.

Someone bought a bunch of Apollo 14 panel screws in the last auction (all from same source as these), framed them up and tried to sell them for $550+ each — needless to say, they didn't sell. Last time I checked, he was asking about $250, with little action.

In this game, it's all about perceived scarcity. Right or wrong, if you see something often enough, you begin to see it as common (and therefore, not worth spending a lot of money on).

garyd2831
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Posts: 583
From: Syracuse, New York, USA
Registered: Oct 2009

posted 02-06-2018 08:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Then again some people don't buy with the sole purpose of flipping for profit or to assume there will be a nice return on investment.

Obtain to collect and enjoy.

jtheoret
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Posts: 268
From: Albuquerque, NM USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 02-06-2018 11:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jtheoret   Click Here to Email jtheoret     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am a lawyer (and a once and future dealer soon to re-launch my Apollospace.com website) and find this an interesting topic. Caveat: What follows are my own musings and suppositions and should not be construed as legal advice.

Robert, can you be more specific, are you referring to anti-trust laws like the Sherman Act or is something else you had in mind? I barely took a look at this. Many states have their own laws, but I imagine federal law is what would be applicable, though any state Heritage (or other auction house) has an office or headquarters or anything in would also need to be looked at.

Auction collusion is a thing, but would primarily be aimed at dealers and resellers artificially keeping the bids low to increase resale profits. The word consortium has been tossed out, but what kind of legal entity that is (and its purpose) probably very much matters.

My initial thought was an LLC. Anyone interested in joining the LLC could be a member and contribute capital with their interest, profits, and losses determined by their contributions. The members would vote on purchases the LLC would make to resell for a profit and/or hang onto as an investment. Members could withdraw their capital/profits in the form of cash or other property (e.g. an ablative plug or panel screw).

I think as long as state law and the operating agreement allow, this could possibly work. There is nothing illegal on its face for a group of investors to form "Space Investments, LLC" (or whatever) to invest in space memorabilia for investment and profit.

Now, that said, a business cannot be formed for an illegal purpose — so would this discussion constitute a conspiracy to form a company for an illegal act or purpose? You can't make a contract for an illegal purpose either (oral or written). So, all that is important to consider.

Also, there are competing dealers here who may or may not want such a thing to succeed — not to mention auction houses who would very much not want to have a couple dozen of their best customers bidding as one.

Food for thought. I think an LLC with a good operating agreement could work, but I would want to review any and all relevant state and federal statutes and regulations before anything else. In other words, a lot of research and work up front to be sure everything is possible and above board and then a lot of trust and cooperation among the members forming such an LLC, and possibly, even likely, a lot of pushback and challenges from other persons and entities.

I'm willing to help look into this a little more and possibly willing to participate in such a venture, assuming its allowable.

While I act as my LLC's lawyer, it's a two-member company and pretty simply stuff and I don't mind giving myself legal advice. A newly forming LLC with multiple members in different states would need to hire neutral counsel outside its membership. Bottom line, there are lots of things and issues to consider.

jtheoret
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Posts: 268
From: Albuquerque, NM USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 02-06-2018 11:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jtheoret   Click Here to Email jtheoret     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also, I think encasing rare artifacts in Lucite is just plain wrong.

mode1charlie
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Posts: 1032
From: Honolulu, HI
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 02-06-2018 11:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jeremy, thanks for your insight and comments on this — even though you don't approve of lucite-encased artifacts.

I generally dislike people splitting up artifacts into pieces and then encasing them in lucite (though I make for exceptions, like Florian's efforts of which I own several and like them very much). But lucites per se I have no problem with since many of them were produced "back in the day" by NASA itself.

I wouldn't want to see the plugs further split up, but would only be interested if they were encased as they currently exist.

Jeff
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Posts: 417
From: Fayetteville, NC, USA
Registered: May 2009

posted 02-07-2018 06:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff   Click Here to Email Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not sure I follow, you don't like people splitting up artifacts but you waive that judgement for Florian? Your statement seems contradictory to me, or am I reading it wrong?

mode1charlie
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Posts: 1032
From: Honolulu, HI
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 02-07-2018 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, it's a contradiction. (I think we all have some.) Unlike most other other recent examples out there that I'm aware of, I find Florian's work tasteful and his integrity is also above reproach.

Jeff
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Posts: 417
From: Fayetteville, NC, USA
Registered: May 2009

posted 02-07-2018 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff   Click Here to Email Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess it depends on how one interprets the word tasteful. Not sure how one "tastefully" takes a Friendship 7 heat shield acrylic from a longtime NASA employee, breaks it open and then cuts it into 30 pieces to embed and sell. To each their own though.

You either agree with the defacing of artifacts or you don't. No real middle ground.

denali414
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Posts: 182
From: Raleigh, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 02-07-2018 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd think since heat shield plugs are individual plugs (in groups of 15 or more), you are not "breaking up" or "defacing" an existing artifact, such as when cutting up Kapton foil or a harness into smaller pieces to sell. You are still keeping the artifact intact, just making the lot into individual pieces.

fredtrav
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Posts: 1546
From: Birmingham AL
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 02-07-2018 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am open to an LLC. I would like to have one or two of these plugs, but don't need and can not afford a whole lot.

I don't really see it as a threat to Heritage. Most owners in the LLC would not bid on these lots as we are not dealers who want them for resale, and thus could not to afford to bid anyway. It might actually help as there would be one more bidder in addition to the few dealers who would be bidding. The price could actually increase.

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