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Star Trek Memorabilia: Many Treasures From a Vast Universe August 13 2021

When it comes to memorabilia collectors, you're not likely to find many groups more passionate about their subject matter than those that collect Star Trek items. And considering the original show's multiple spin-offs, movies, books, graphic novels, an animated series, and its many other iterations, the abundance of potential collectibles is astoundingly large.

While financial worth is one key factor in choosing Star Trek collectibles, it's not the only consideration. In fact, for many Star Trek memorabilia collectors, value is in the eye of the beholder. That said, serious Star Trek collectors carefully curate the items they own, pursue, and purchase. Rarity, authenticity, and vintage status are typically critical criteria. Autographed items often carry a higher value. Here are a few of the categories that hold great value for Star Trek memorabilia collectors.

Costumes / Wardrobe

Original costume and wardrobe pieces from Star Trek TV shows and movies are

Star Trek - costume used by Leonard Nimoy

arguably some of the most popular collectibles. Rarity is at play here. Many of the pieces were either destroyed or altered for other uses or later shows. For example, Mork & Mindy used some of the spacesuits from "The Tholian Web" Star Trek: The Original Series episode as costumes for their alien.

So, getting your hands on an original Star Trek piece is a big deal. Here are a few eye-popping sales to back that up:

  • Captain Kirk's Starfleet outfit from the original TV series sold for $72,000 in 2016.

  • A 2006 Christie's auction netted $120,000 for the spacesuit Dr. McCoy wore in "The Tholian Web," an episode from the original series.

  • In 2003, Spock's tunic from Season 3 of the 1960's Star Trek show commanded $123,250.

  • A Spock costume from Season 2 of the original show brought in $114,000 in 2012.

  • Someone shelled out $4,480 for the costume Lee Meriwether wore in Season 3, Episode 17 of the original series in her portrayal of Losira.

  • A used formal Starfleet tunic sold for $4,250 in 2019.

  • In the same 2019 auction, the boots Nichelle Nichols wore as Uhura sold for $6,400, along with a skimpy "Alternate Universe" costume from the "Mirror Mirror" episode, for $19,000.

  • A buyer paid $12,000 for George Takei's alternate universe tunic.

  • Spock's Mirror Mirror alternate universe tunic brought a much higher price of $60,000. But the ear tip devices that gave Nemoy the pointy Spock ears only pulled in $3,000. It's also interesting to note that the ear tips he used in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered were in the same auction with a $5,000 starting bid. But there were no takers.

  • Captain Kirk costumes were popular during the 2019 Azarian auction, too. His alternate universe tunic sold for $47,500. His original wraparound tunic went for $65,000, and the formal version was acquired for $25,000.

  • A December 2019 Julien auction sold several uniform costumes from Star Trek: Enterprise. Sales prices ranged from a $512 William Riker Chef costume to $5,120 for a Deanna Troi uniform.

  • The Julien auction also offered several costumes from the wardrobes of Star Trek: DS9, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. A Captain Jen-Luc Picard Starfleet uniform commanded the highest price at $28,800.

Props

Hero Assault Phaser working prop from Star Trek VI

Props have been a big part of the Star Trek Universe. Weapons like phasers, rifles, Klingon disrupters, phaser pistols, knives, and blades were designed in a wide range of styles for various uses during the many Star Trek series and movies.

Shown here is a Hero Assault Phaser working prop from Star Trek VI.

Numerous other items were also necessary to create an engaging future world in space. Silverware, glassware, communication devices, medical instruments, proton jet packs, and prosthetics are just a small sampling of the objects that filmmakers and other creatives imagined and designed to flesh out believable environments in Star Trek.

One of the most famous prop collectibles was the phaser rifle used in the pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Although that was actually the second pilot for the original Star Trek series. It's widely believed that that phaser rifle played a pivotal role in NBC finally giving the series the green light.

Creator Ruben Klamer retained possession of the noteworthy prop until he auctioned it off in 2013 for $231,000. Another Star Trek prop phaser pulled in $78,000 two years before that. In 2019, prominent collector John Azarian sold a Klingon disruptor at auction for $30,000.

Most recently, a Hero Type-2 Phaser Pistol with impeccable provenance was put up for auction in July 2021. Considering a Type-2 Phaser Pistol sold for $192,000 in 2018, the final price of the current piece is expected to be high. It's not all about weaponry though. A prosthetic alien head called Balok's puppet head from "The Carbomite Maneuver" in the original series netted $80,500 in 2010.

While props are popular memorabilia, they don't all command five-figure and six-figure prices. Many props were sold during a 2019 Julien auction from various Star Trek TV series, such as Voyager, Nemesis and DS9 with prices between $2,812.50 and $5,625. Plus, a Hero assault phaser from the Star Trek VI movie came in at $2,500.

TV and Film Set Items

Dedicated Star Trek collectors with impressive incomes and assets have paid top dollar for some authentic fixtures and memorabilia from Star Trek sets. One record-setting piece was the command chair and platform from Star Trek: The Original Series. A dedicated collector acquired it in 2002 for $304,750. That equals more than $460,00 in 2021. A year later, another collector was willing to part with $92,000 for a mere piece of the Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise – the command module from the original show.

Those sales make the price of the NCC-1701/7 Galileo Shuttlecraft look like a bargain at $61,000. This set piece is 9 feet high, 24 feet long, and 9 feet wide. After acquiring the item in 2012, N.J. Schneider restored the worn-down craft and then donated it to the Johnson Space Center. It was eventually transferred to the Intrepid Museum in New York in 2016, where it's still on display in the Space Shuttle Pavilion.

Other set memorabilia include concept art, crew plates, crew jackets, and calls sheets. Can't afford the set of 81 scripts the Azarian auction offered for $15,000 – but didn't sell? You can grab a security guard helmet from Star Trek: The Motion Picture for only $1,280 or a Tribble prop from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for a mere $384. These kinds of pieces are available for sale from many vendors. Just be sure to confirm their authenticity.

Starship/Spaceship Models

Star Trek spaceship model

Star Trek spaceship model

Models and replicas have abounded throughout Star Trek's illustrious run. Mattel's Hot Wheels got on board quickly. Their early earth car versions may be somewhat puzzling. But they ultimately branched out to create Star Trek ships as well, starting in 2009. Collectible items like the USS Reliant NCC-1864, U.S.S. Excelsior NCC-2000, U.S.S. Vengeance, the alternate reality U.S.S. Enterprise, H.M.S. Bounty, and U.S.S. Enterprise San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive are among some of their more popular offerings.

But retail models manufactured for the public don't have the allure that the show- and movie-related versions have. Spaceship models were an integral part of the creation of the iconic Star Trek shows and movies. For example, a model of the Klingon Battle Cruiser was designed for the original Star Trek TV series, and that bit of history sold for $74,750 in 2006.

In the late 1980s, television introduced Star Trek: The Next Generation, a TV series that inspired some memorable Star Trek movies and several additional TV shows. Artists working for the show designed ship models for the U.S.S. Enterprise-D, NCC-1701. One was quite large, measuring nearly 5 feet by 6.5 feet. The 1994 "Star Trek Generations" film used this model as well. Christie's auction house eventually sold the model for a jaw-dropping $576,000.

Autographs

Leonard Nimoy and Kim Cattrall in Star Trek

Leonard Nimoy and Kim Cattrall double signed photo in Star Trek

There is certainly a big market for signed photos of Star Trek stars, especially when they are in costume and in a screenshot from the TV series or the movies. Market is much stronger for the original series than for the films made in the last few years. 

Original cast signed photos can go from several hundreds of dollars to a few thousand.

Star Trek photo signed by all the original crew

Star Trek photo signed by all the original crew

One of the more rare autographs is that of American screenwriter Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991), producer and creator of Star Trek. He is seen here with the original cast:Gene Roddenberry signed photo with the original cast of Star Trek

Gene Roddenberry autograph photo, shown next to the original Star Trek cast.

Trading Cards

Star Trek trading cards

Star Trek trading cards

Early merchandising inspired by the original Star Trek TV series included trading cards, formally called bubblegum cards. The Leaf Candy Company manufactured the first set of 72 black-and-white cards in 1967. But they're a rare find today, likely because they were only available in the Midwest and weren't on the market long. Fans speculate that the company pulled them because licensing rights came into question or due to issues with the writers and actors.

That's not the only reason collectors seek them, though. Their many silly, inaccurate episode descriptions are a quirky enticement, as well. The writer who drafted the blurbs for the pictures on the cards clearly hadn't watched the show.

The trading cards, wrappers, and boxes are all popular among collectors. Original cards in mint condition have sold for more than $5,000, while some of the wrappers command as much as $550. Not a bad investment on a 5-cent purchase in 1967.

More Recent Card Collectibles

Leonard Nimoy was a beloved personality and his representation of Spock made him a legend among fans. The actor passed away on February 27, 2015. Six years later, his family announced the impending release of digital trading cards. They feature previously unreleased family photos of Mr. Nimoy.

The family released a 255-card set on March 25, 2021, on the Worldwide Asset eXchange™ (WAX) blockchain network. William Shatner, the iconic Kirk, released his own digital card collection in 2020 on WAX.

Additional Miscellaneous Star Trek Memorabilia

As you might expect, the number of Star Trek collectibles categories is immense. Costumes, props, TV, and film set objects, models, and trading cards are among some of the more popular and lucrative pieces. However, avid collectors don't limit themselves to these types of items.

With the immense popularity of Star Trek and the vast number of people who collect its memorabilia, listing every possible collectible type for this genre is no easy task. Nevertheless, here are several additional popular Star Trek memorabilia categories that often don't get the recognition that the aforementioned items receive:

Original Production Cels

Artists created pictorial stories on celluloid sheets for animation. Collectors often include original hand-painted Star Trek cels in their collections.

Action Figures

Star Trek the original series action figures

Star Trek the original series action figures

While there's no shortage of Star Trek action figures on the market, some vintage pieces command a higher price than others. Oddly enough, there's even a Ninja Mutant Teenage Turtles Star Trek action figures edition.

Mega Bloks

If you're into fun collectibles, Star Trek Mega Bloks may be right up your alley. Choose from collector editions, construction sets, electronic models, and other offerings.

Comics

The economic worth of Star Trek comic books depends a great deal on supply and demand. But true fans dedicated to acquiring Star Trek memorabilia may be interested in more than the dollar value.

Classic Posters

Fans and collectors have always sought to acquire movie posters related to what they admire, whether for aesthetic or investment purposes.

Other Items

  • Toy Prototypes

  • Household Items

  • Commemorative plates

  • Badges and insignia

Bonus Trivia Highlight: A Star Trek Collection Mishap

Star Trek collectors and fans know their genre inside and out. They're certainly familiar with the weaponry that's represented throughout the related TV shows, movies, comics, video games, and other media.

Unfortunately for Randall and Raymond Purcell of Fort Lauderdale, FL, not everyone is so enlightened. The two brothers were avid Star Trek memorabilia collectors. They proudly displayed blades and other associated Star Trek weaponry on the walls of their home.

During an unfortunate family dispute, police who were dispatched to the Purcell's home apparently mistook the brothers' Star Trek collectibles as real weapons. After the unfortunate altercation, the Purcells filed a lawsuit alleging that police violently assaulted them, in some part due to the officers' erroneous belief that the Purcell's walls were covered with deadly weapons.

The police force found the officers not guilty in an internal probe completed in 2019. It appears that the brothers' $75,000 civil lawsuit has not yet been concluded.

Collecting Star Trek Memorabilia

If you're interested in Star Trek memorabilia, you're in luck. The popularity of the franchise is a huge advantage for fans and collectors. Just be wary of knock-offs and overvalued merchandise. Do your research, and ask an expert if you're unsure of the provenance of an item you hope to acquire. Also, always consider the added value of Star Trek autographs for the items in your collection.

Sources:

https://www.psacard.com/smrpriceguide/non-sports-tcg-card-values/1967-leaf-star-trek/1000

https://www.psacard.com/articles/articleview/7772/psa-set-registry-1967-leaf-star-trek-boldly-entering-trading-card-market

https://www.icollector.com/The-Azarian-Collection-Auction_as61768

https://juliensauctions.com/auction-results?id=319

https://www.startrek.com/news/10-collectible-star-trek-hot-wheels-no-collection-should-be-without

https://nypost.com/2021/04/07/florida-cops-mistook-star-trek-memorabilia-for-weapons-lawsuit/

https://www.newser.com/story/304684/suit-weapons-cops-felt-threatened-by-were-star-trek-props.html

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