There are two new shows that may be of interest to toy and pop culture collectors this year – Collection Intervention and Toy Hunter. Collection Intervention is on the SyFy Network and Toy Hunter is on the Travel Channel. Today we will take a look at Collector Intervention.
The premise (per SyFy) is a show where Elyse Luray (a collectibles expert) ‘helps couples, families and individuals whose pop-culture memorabilia collections … have become damaging obsessions, creating financial strife and a huge strain on their lives.’
These impressions are from the opening show of the series, and they may change as the show continues.
The format is to introduce a collector, highlight their collection and to highlight the ‘damage’ that their collections inflict on their lives. During the show they will try to find a solution to help with the problems from the collection and the result is (at least so far) to sell off some of the collection. The first show has two subjects, so they split time through the show going from one to the other. Since it is an hour long show, I would expect it will stick with the two subject format for the immediate future.
You can watch the entire first episode online at SyFy.
Star Wars Collector
The first subject is a Star Wars collector, and actually a collecting couple – Garet and Consetta. The episode centers around Consetta and her attachment to all things Star Wars. Consetta is not an average collector by any means, since she counts as a friend Steve Sansweet, perhaps the most well-known and extensive Star Wars memorabilia collector in the world. The show ends with Consetta selling some items at Rancho Obi-Wan, the non-profit benefit corporation that houses and shows off a large collection of Star Wars items.
Something they didn’t mention on the show is that Consetta is actually on the Board of Directors for Rancho Obi-Wan and her role would be director of PR and Marketing. Here is her bio page. That explains her relationship to Steve Sansweet and it is fair to wonder if this was a staged publicity stunt for Rancho Obi-Wan. My sense is that it was not and her feelings and actions were genuine, but it bears mentioning. The overall segments felt very artificial for the Star Wars collection, but it may just be from editing.
I felt that Consetta’s collecting was very much an emotional connection for her. Money was not a motivation for her, which is why selling items to profit didn’t appeal to her. Her collection is defined by the items in it and not the ‘value’ in financial terms.
The ‘damage’ from the collection was space in their home. There was no mention of financial difficulties from their collection, and their relationship is stronger because of their shared collection. It is very clear they both accept each other and their interests.
They are true collectors in every sense of the word. They have a focused collection (in this case Star Wars, though Garet collects some other items) and they proudly display it throughout their home. They are not openers for many of their items, which is some cases is a shame. They have some items that would display much better out of the package, but their space issues prevent it.
The end result of the show is that they sold a few items from their collection. Based on their exit interviews, they rolled that ‘profit’ into more collectibles and they both plan to continue collecting as they did before. The show didn’t change their habits and my sense is that they were generally dismissive of the whole process.
In terms of the premise, I would say this one is a fail. They really found no substantive problems (other than space) and they didn’t solve anything.
The second subject was Mark, described as a Catwoman collector. He also had a large number of vintage 70’s and 80’s toys in his storage garage.
His damage was both financial and relationship related. He is carrying some debt because his collecting takes priority over bills, and he ‘hides’ his collection from his wife Lolly. She clearly doesn’t approve of his collection or his collecting habits.
I didn’t feel that collecting was really that important to Mark on an emotional level. He had a connection to Catwoman, but it is hard to tell how important the collection really was since it was clear he was afraid to display it. There is no way to know if he really was a bit ashamed of the collection or had pressure to not display it from his spouse. To be quite honest, it didn’t look like he had much of a collection.
The care and handling for his collection really showed it wasn’t that high a priority for him. He didn’t pay much attention to the storage or care of the items he had. In truth, he is the perfect subject for the actual premise of the show. He has real issues from his collection and selling some of it off at the end of the show seemed to help him and his relationship.
Mark could have gotten more for some of his items than he did on the show, but I think overall selling some things in a lot worked out better for him. It was quicker, he was paid immediately and he wasn’t forced to throw away anything that wouldn’t have sold individually.
His exit interview showed he has since sold off most of his collection, which reinforced my belief that collecting was not as emotional an investment as it was with Consetta. In terms of the premise, this was a success.
I suspect the Star Wars collection was the ‘heavy hitter’ to bring in viewers to the opening show, while Catwoman collection was more in line with the premise. Next show will have a toy car collector and a Barbie collector.
Elyse clearly has knowledge of collectibles and collecting, but she doesn’t come across as an actual collector. Her history as an auctioneer and consultant are clear – she knows what is and isn’t valuable and she knows how to sell a collection. Her recommendations were spot-on for auctioning the Star Wars items and selling most of the 70’s & 80’s stuff to a store in a bulk lot. Some of the rest he would be best served to sell individually on ebay.
I think the show would benefit if they had an actual collector to work with the subjects on their issues and their collections. In the first show Elyse came across as having one goal – get them to sell something. This creates a bit of an adversarial relationship where a co-host who comes across as having more empathy would help.
The promos suggest they want to help the collectors get their collections under control, and the first episode doesn’t live up to it. One collector sold his stuff, the others were basically unchanged. I don’t think they enjoy their collections more after the show than they did before it.
I have to admit, despite how staged the opening Star Wars piece felt I am interested in seeing at least another episode. I enjoy seeing how collectors display their collections, so there is a voyeuristic aspect to watching the show.
What I really want to see is if they can manage to help a collector enjoy their collection more when it is done, rather than just getting them to sell off some it. If they continue with the only solution being to sell off part or all of the collection, the show will get old fast.
What did you think of the show? Do you feel it puts collectors in a bad light? Hated it? Loved it?
Did it hit too close to home?
Sound off here or in the forum.