As a collector of original Tennant ties, I wake up practically every morning and scour eBay in hopes of stumbling across an auction for one. In this way, I managed to purchase TWO original Armani’s (my duplicate was sold, sorry), and more often, sadly, watch people with deeper pockets than me walk away with others.
But sometimes, heartbreak happens without the excuse of “I’m not affluent enough for this hobby.” As a case in point, recently my eBay account stopped emailing me in the mornings about new listings (this has now been fixed). At about the same time, a seller popped up with a few BNWT, mint condition Rocha John Rocha ties.
The Rocha John Rocha tie is sort of the “apocryphal” Ten Tie, because it was never worn onscreen. Attention was brought to it after it was sold at Bonham’s in 2010 alongside 3 screen worn ties, and after much research, it was revealed that it was one of many purchased by costume designer Louise Page, intended for use on the show, but it never made it onscreen. It did, however, get used in at least one promotional public appearance by David Tennant in costume, and only one photograph of it on his person actually exists, to public knowledge (and let’s face it, it might actually be a photo of the Massimo Dutti tie worn in The Doctor’s Daughter).
Aside from being a super hipster nerdy collector’s piece (SUPER hipster nerdy, so nerdy you probably haven’t even heard of it), I happen to love this tie. I had the good fortune of observing one in person this past year at Gallifrey One, and despite its thick polyester feel, I just love it.
Yesterday it was brought to my knowledge that someone had recently purchased one on eBay for a mere £3 (!!!), so I instantly took off searching on eBay, finally realizing that it had been several days since I’d gotten any email updates on my searches!
I immediately stumbled across the above-mentioned listing, and began to jump for joy when I saw that they were being sold BNWT for only £10 BuyItNow!! I immediately went to purchase one, when:
I immediately contacted the seller, in hopes that perhaps it was a mistake or there would be more in stock soon. The reply:
This tie wasn’t even screen worn! This guy has two different ties for sale, 18+ stock, and someone walked in and bought ALL 8 Tennant ties (and ONLY those ties! Notice how there’s only “8 sold,” according to the auction)!! What does this person even expect to do with them? They can’t expect to get TOO much more for them, they’re certainly not going to sell for $100+, and it’s not even a great cosplay tie since it’s technically a non-screen accurate detail because it was never worn onscreen!
It bugs the hell out of me, as both a collector and a general enthusiast, because this is totally common in the cosplay community (and probably most collecting communities). At Gallifrey One this year, I talked with a lot of Companion cosplayers, mostly Clara and Amy Pond-ers, who were telling horror stories of the eBay cutthroatery in trying to purchase these discontinued, screen accurate manufactures of these pieces. Ties and dresses are more difficult to obtain for cosplaying because it’s really difficult to custom create a tie, or a dress with a complicated silk-screen pattern on it. A custom suit or jacket is simple to build in a similar fabric for an excellent result, an Urban Outfitters UK printed skirt is much more difficult to replicate with any recognizability, and with things like Clara’s River Island Ditsy button down dress from the 50th Anniversary special, the attitude is snipe it on eBay for 3x retail price (likely from someone who purchased the last 5 in their local store) or find a new cosplay. And there are people out there who are totally willing to buy the last 5 River Island Ditsy button downs (or all 8 Rocha ties) instead of letting those who don’t already have one pick one up. And I’ll admit, I’m not totally innocent here either, picking up two Armani ties off eBay, but I did play fair on the second tie auction (the first was a BuyItNow scenario) and I let it run its course – it just so happened that I was the only bidder – and I then turned immediately around and relisted it with a starting price at what I originally paid.
I don’t mind splurging on cosplay items because many of them become part of my everyday wardrobe. My old Ten coat was one of my favorite articles of clothing, until I had to sell it to afford my updated brown suit. I wear my Baker scarves almost daily. Nice shoes, hats, coats, it’s rare that I can’t wear them in regular settings, although I do have to be careful with some of the more eccentric pieces, like my current (budget) S12 Baker Safari jacket. But I hold myself to a very high cosplaying standard, and that means that sometimes I have to run the crazy eBay race in order to accomplish things I want to accomplish.
It’s just upsetting to me that this is the community we work in. I love watching the inspiration that these costumes and outfits give people, and the inspiring amounts of work that people like HonoraryDoctor or MagnoliClothiers put into recreating these pieces for those who don’t have access to the same resources, but sometimes it’s disheartening to know that it’s all going to come back around to the eBay race sooner or later.
Such is the price of passion about cosplay.