What Was the Most Expensive ‘Star Trek’ Item Sold at Auction?

star trek phaser

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images Zach Pogemiller from auction house Profiles in History displays Uhura's (Nichelle Nichols) Phaser from the Star Trek series ahead of "The Icons and Legends of Hollywood Auction".

For many Star Trek superfans, the big dream is someday owning a piece of the show’s history. From time to time, auction houses offer up old costumes, props, and even production memos from the Trek franchise’s decades-long history. Curious about the most expensive items to ever hit the auction block? Here are some of the most expensive and interesting items sold at Star Trek auctions over the years. Where possible, we’ve included both the “gavel price” (also known as the “hammer price“) and the final price, which often includes buyer’s premiums or other fees.

One note before we dive in. Purchasing power can change over time, due to inflation. Therefore, for every auction report below, we will include the final auction price that was reported at the time of sale, but we will also provide an updated conversion using the BLS Inflation Calculator. At time of publication, the BLS calculator was only able to calculate inflation through December 2020, so that will be reflected in any adjusted values listed below.

With all that out of the way, read on to find out which ship models, props, and costumes have brought in the biggest bids in Star Trek auction history.


Enterprise D Model Sells for $576,000

star trek model ships

Mario Tama/Getty Images A collection of ships on auction at Christie’s.

One of the biggest auctions in Trek history was back in 2006. Christie‘s put on an event called “40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection” in October of that year. The auction made headlines at CNN after Christie’s initial estimates for some of the memorabilia proved to be hugely off the mark.

For example, the big seller from that event made a model of the Enterprise D. It was only estimated to sell for $35,000 at the most. It ended up selling for a gavel price of half a million dollars, with the final price being a whopping $576,000.

Adjusting for inflation, that would be approximately $743,400 in 2020 dollars.


Klingon Bird of Prey Also Fetched Big Bucks

 

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It’s perhaps not so surprising that an Enterprise ship model was so in demand among fans with deep pockets. But what about the non-Federation ships?

Turns out, one of the other all-time high bids for memorabilia in this space was for a Klingon ship. The Klingons are arguably the most popular and well-known Star Trek alien race, with perhaps only the Vulcans being as well-known and well-loved. That being said, the one thing the Klingons will always have over the Vulcans is the iconic Bird of Prey battle cruiser.

At the very same Christie’s auction, a Klingon Bird of Prey went for a hammer price of $260,000 for a total of $307,200. Adjusted for inflation, that’s around $396,500.


The Captain’s Chair Was Very Valuable

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For many fans, sitting in a captain’s chair of their own is the ultimate fantasy. While there are companies out there that sell reproduction chairs, knowing that you’re sitting in a real chair from the set is what some fans prefer.

In 2002, CNET reported that the original captain’s chair used by Captain Kirk was sold for $265,000 at a Profiles In History auction featuring items from the Bob Justman collection.

Star Trek Prop Authority reports that the final price was $304,750. Adjusted for 2020, that chair would cost about $441,200.

It’s worth noting that not all captain’s chairs are created equal. Christie’s records indicate that Janeway’s chair from the starship Voyager went for a comparatively paltry $4200 at their 2006 auction, or about $5400 in 2020.


The Most Expensive Prop

Julien's Auctions Star Trek Phaser Rifle2013-03-29T17:47:03Z

Everything we’ve talked about so far is either furniture or something that was used on camera for wide space shots. But what about a piece of show history you can actually hold in your hands?

The most expensive handheld prop sold at a Star Trek auction was a phaser rifle. Business Insider notes that the proper was once held by Kirk in the episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. The rifle, featured in the video above, went for $231,000 in 2013. Adjusted for inflation, that would be approximately $257,600.


The Most Expensive Costumes

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Two Trek notable costumes have gone for huge amounts of money over the years. Costumes are often worth so much because it was rare for them to not be destroyed or altered, as the tweet above shows.

One of the most expensive costume sales was at the 2006 Christie’s auction previously mentioned. Back then, Dr. McCoy’s shiny spacesuit from “The Tholian Web” went for $144,000, with the hammer price being $120,000. That is about $185,500 in 2020 dollars.

Yahoo! also notes that two Spock costumes have brought in big money. One costume from season 2 fetched $114,000 in 2012. Adjusted for inflation, that would be around $128,300 in 2020 currency.

Spock’s season 3 tunic sold for even more, going for $123,250 nine years earlier in 2003. Adjusted for inflation to 2020, that’s approximately $173,500 to drop on a costume made all those decades ago.

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