Collecting Star Trek Props & Costumes
By Alec Peters - July 23, 2010
The world of Star Trek prop and costume collecting has changed significantly since the Christie’s Star Trek auction in 2006. After Christie’s sale of 1,000 items, an additional 10,000+ items were sold on eBay. As a result, there are more Star Trek props, costumes and set pieces in circulation than from any other property – and this means that no matter your budget, you can find something of interest.
Next month, the second official Star Trek auction will take place, and this is the Propworx Star Trek auction set to be held at the Creation Las Vegas Star Trek Convention from August 5-8. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not only the author of the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Blog, and one of the biggest Star Trek prop and costume collectors around, but am also the CEO of Propworx. I was lucky enough to turn my passion into a job, and I love the fact I can share that passion with an ever-growing group of friends. So the auction is not just a sale, but also a get-together for all sorts of collectors, most of whom are members of the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Forum. We all get together at the Las Vegas con every year and if you want to learn about collecting, I’ll be hosting a seminar on how to collect. Feel free to come and pick my brain.
Now, the Official Star Trek Auction is special for a couple of reasons. First, the auction will feature the collections of Star Trek veterans Doug Drexler, Rick Sternbach, and Mike and Denise Okuda, who worked in the art department for most of the 17 years between The Next Generation and Enterprise. They’ll have great items to auction, items that are featured in the auction catalog available at www.propworx.com.
The auction will include fantastic items for serious collectors and a whole group of concept art from Rick Sternbach and crew gifts from the Okudas, all of which should go at reasonable prices. On the high end, the original-series Spock ears and the translite from the original-series Enterprise bridge are two of the most important items. The ears were given to Doug Drexler by the daughter of the Star Trek makeup artist, so the provenance (proof of an item’s history and authenticity) is solid. The translite, which depicts the Enterprise’s schematic, is truly historic and was salvaged from the bridge set when it was trashed.
The captain’s chair from the Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” is one of the biggest pieces, and more than just in size. The Original Series' captain’s chair sold for over $250,000 and is on display at the Sci Fi Museum in Seattle, and there aren’t many of these out there. A beautiful piece that has been fully restored, this chair would be the centerpiece of any collection, and is expected to go for $15,000 to $20,000. The filming miniature of Captain Kirk from Star Trek: The Motion Picture is another amazing piece that has not been in collectors’ hands before. Originally built for The Motion Picture, it also appeared in Star Trek II as…a model. It was in a scene early on when Kirk and Sulu bust McCoy out of the brig. You can see it in the background of one scene, sitting on a table.
There aren’t a lot of costumes in this auction, but the Klingon Warrior costume is a beauty. It is the rarer movie version, most easily recognized by the triangular shoulders. These costumes have been selling anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000, as they are some of the most recognizable and desired of Star Trek costumes.
If you’re on a budget, there will be an array of cool, less expensive items in the $100-$200 range. Check out the catalog for the items with lower estimates. You can also look to the exceptional Rick Sternbach concept art. Rick was the main concept artist for TNG through Voyager and he has some truly special pieces in the auction. Concept art will often go in the $200 range, so expect bargains here. Also, the Okudas have consigned all their crew gifts, and these are both unique and very reasonably priced at auction.
The entire Propworx crew will be at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention throughout the convention. Again, feel free to come by and ask any questions, inspect the lots and participate in the auction. It will be an event unlike anything you’ve experienced.
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