Spock, Kirk, and Khan costumes lead weekend Star Trek screen-used costume and prop auction

Saturday entertainment memorabilia collectors and diehard Star Trek fans lined up in person, and bid via telephone and online as auction house Prop Store auctioned off 400 lots of screen-used props and costumes for Paramount Pictures at Prop Store’s new location in Valencia, California.  The auction included many key items used in the production of the 2009 J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot film as well as the 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness.  Paramount retained many more items than were auctioned off, but this was the third–and the largest–public auction of items from what the franchise refers to as the “Kelvin timeline.”  The Kelvin timeline resulted after the failure of Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock to prevent the destruction of the planet Romulus and the subsequent journey by the Romulan Nero back in time as revenge to destroy both the USS Kelvin, the ship where Captain Kirk’s father served, and subsequently the planet Vulcan.  The Kelvin timeline includes the third film of the new series, Star Trek Beyond, but no items from that film were included in Saturday’s auction.

If high hammer prices are any indication of popularity, Star Trek shows no signs of slowing down.  Most lots exceeded their auction estimates, and lots for key characters far surpassed those estimates.  As you might expect, costumes from Chris Pine’s Captain James T. Kirk, Zachary Quinto’s Mr. Spock, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan led the way.  Several Kirk costumes were at auction–examples of his standard gold tunic Starfleet uniform sold in lots of varying descriptions and completeness for $30,500, $14,640, and $8,540 (prices listed here include the added buyer’s premium fee charged to all buyers).  Even a costume for a Kirk double actor (an actor who stood in for Pine during stage preparation) fetched $3,965 and a similar unlabeled captain costume sold for $6,710.  Yet another Kirk uniform–a gray dress uniform for a double actor–sold for $12,200, and one of his Kronos (Qo’noS) disguises sold for $8,540.  But the best-selling lot was a costume worn by Quinto as Spock that also included phaser, holster belt, and communicator props–that lot sold for $33,550.  Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan costumes were all big sellers, selling for $18,300, $9,150, $9,150, $8,540, $8,540, $6,710, $6,100, and $5,795, making him roughly tied with Kirk as the most popular of the characters with items represented at this auction.  Other key characters represented included a Uhura Starfleet uniform for actress Zoe Saldana that sold for $17,080, a Dr. McCoy “Bones” uniform for actor Karl Urban that sold for $9,760, and similar costumes that sold at the same price for Simon Pegg’s Scotty and John Cho’s Sulu.  No costumes were auctioned that were used by the late Anton Yelchin’s Chekov.  The auction also included several recognizable production-made and screen-used Starfleet props.  A rare Starfleet rifle sold for $15,860, and Kelvin timeline chrome Starfleet phasers sold for $3,355 to $11,590.  Only a handful of Starfleet background/stunt communicators were available, selling for $1,342 to $2,745.  Static/stunt tricorders sold for $2,318 to $3,355.

Well-known Star Trek aliens also invaded the Prop Store auction.  Klingon uniforms from a deleted scene in the 2009 Star Trek that were re-used in Star Trek Into Darkness were auctioned off (selling between $600 and $1,110), plus new Klingon costumes from the sequel, some of which included helmets and light-up “working” phasers and rifles (selling for between $1,952 and $9,760).  Four Vulcan uniforms sold, including one in the same style as that worn by Leonard Nimoy as Spock in one of his last performances as the character (these sold for $549 to $1,098).  And nine Romulan costumes sold, including some labeled for Eric Bana’s character, the villain Nero (selling for as low as $732 to a lot of two costumes for $1,342).

Dozens of background costumes were auctioned, including Starfleet uniforms worn on the starship USS Kelvin, uniforms worn by the Enterprise crew during its Kobayashi Maru test sequence, medical uniforms, dress uniforms, cadet uniforms, and even more of the famous “red shirt” uniforms–some selling at five costumes per lot.  Even unlabeled uniforms or costumes for background actors sold steady in the range between $1,464 to $1,708.  Those willing to purchase a set of gold, blue, and red uniforms were able to save a few dollars compared to buying lots individually (for as low as $1,423 per uniform).  And prototype phasers and costumes were also available, selling for much less than the final, “hero” pieces.

Many of the costumes featured labels imprinted with the costume designer for Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness--Michael Kaplan.  Kaplan is known for his futuristic designs in several popular films, including Blade Runner, Armageddon, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  His work will be seen later this month in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  He also designed the costumes for Clue, Big Business, Flashdance, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Malice, Fight Club, Pearl Harbor, Matchstick Men, The Sorceror’s Apprentice, and Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol.  The props in the auction came from the creative minds of designers Scott Chambliss, Andrew Siegel, John Eaves, Chris Ross, Russell Bobbitt, and many others.

The first auction of Kelvin timeline props and costumes was held by Julien’s auction house in 2010, along with items from the Gene Roddenberry estate.  Sale prices from that auction were in line with yesterday’s auction.  Several other items from the 2009 Star Trek film were sold over a period of several months via online auctions following release of the film.

Screen-used costumes and props from the prior versions of Star Trek–the original 1960s series through Star Trek Enterprise and the last “Prime timeline” film Star Trek Nemesis, were previously auctioned off in sporadic sales in the 1980s and 1990s by Profiles in History and other auction houses, via the famous two-day Christies Star Trek auction of 2006, and in subsequent online auctions via the It’s a Wrap auction house and prop store, and later auctions from Heritage, Profiles in History, Screenused, PropWorx, and Prop Store.

Mythbusters and Tested’s Adam Savage provided an inside look at some of the items in this video with Prop Store’s Brandon Alinger:

The auction began at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Saturday, December 2, 2017, and continued for nine hours until 8 p.m.

C.J. Bunce

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