Christie's holds Star Trek garage sale

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Trekkies will be setting their phasers to "bid" this fall when Christie's holds the first official studio auction of memorabilia from all five Star Trek television series and 10 movie spin-offs.

CBS Paramount Television Studios is cleaning out its vaults for the sale, comprising more than 1,000 lots totaling some 4,000 items, to be held from October 5 to 7 in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the original Star Trek series, Christie's announced Thursday.

Fans and collectors will have a chance to acquire Star Trek artifacts ranging from models of the "Starship" USS Enterprise to Capt. James Kirk's uniform or Capt. Jean-Luc Picard's jumpsuit in an auction where Christie's expects to raise more than $3 million.

Other items to hit the block include props, weapons, prosthetics, and set dressings unearthed from five Paramount warehouses.

Among the highlights are a miniature of the Starship Enterprise used in visual effects for the film Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, expected to sell for $15,000 to $25,000, and a replica of Kirk's chair from the original TV series that was re-created for the 1996 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations," which is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000.

Fans with more modest budgets can train their sights on a host of Trekkie ephemera like the 10-inch Resikkan nonplaying prop brass flute used by Patrick Stewart as Picard in the episode "The Inner Light" in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which carries a low estimate of just $300.

Cathy Elkies, director of special collections at Christie's, said the value of the objects was difficult to gauge because "we don't factor in that emotional fury generated around this kind of material."

Past estimates for auctions associated with the likes of Marilyn Monroe or Jacqueline Kennedy, who enjoyed dedicated followings, have been far off the mark as actual sale prices soared to five, 10, and even 100 times presale projections.

Star Trek fans, with their Web sites, conventions, and clubs, have proven to be among the most wildly devoted in all of pop culture.

CULTURAL ICON

"To several generations of people, Star Trek was a cultural icon that represented our dreams, our hopes and our aspirations--what we can become as a species, what we aspire to," said Mike Okuda, a graphic designer on four of the TV series and seven of the motion pictures as well as coauthor of The Star Trek Encyclopedia. "And to have a tangible piece of that is to have a tangible piece of a dream."

With the original captain's chair from the first Star Trek series in the Museum of Science Fiction in Seattle and the original Enterprise miniature at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in Washington, other items from the 1960s show could be the most sought-after at auction.

Okuda said many of the first Star Trek props were reused, destroyed, or disappeared. But the auction will feature a mustard-colored minidress from the first series as well as costumes worn by guest stars, such as a gown worn by famed attorney Melvin Belli who played an evil alien entity.

Star Trek fans will get a peek at the collection when the memorabilia goes on tour this week in Germany. Other stops include San Diego, London, Las Vegas, Seattle, and Los Angeles before a weeklong exhibit in New York ahead of the October sale at Christie's salesroom in Rockefeller Center.

Conceived by author Gene Roddenberry in the mid-1960s, the original Star Trek series debuted in 1966.

The last TV series, Enterprise, set in the early 22nd century, about 100 years before the adventures of Kirk's five-year mission, ended its run on the UPN network in 2005.

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