Set Phaser on “Stun”


(Photo: Profiles in History online catalog)

Don Hillenbrand at Wrath of Dhan has an in depth look at the Star Trek TOS Phaser that is up for auction in Profiles in History’s Hollywood Auction 56 2-day sale. Not a lot of original screen-matched prop phasers ever comes up for auction, so this one, a mid-grade Type-2 phaser (screen-matched to the episode “Assignment: Earth”), will most certainly have hardcore collectors buzzing. In fact, in all my time working at Profiles, I’ve only seen a couple of handfuls of Original Series prop weapons. The prices, of course, have been steadily rising, punctuated by the recent sale of the only TOS phaser rifle ever made for $231,000 in Julien’s Auctions.

The phaser offered by Profiles will undoubtedly get a handsome price. Perhaps not a quarter of a million, but it should be enough to please. Profiles’ last significant Trek sale was a year ago: an early first season Kirk tunic, which sold for $80,000 ($96,000 with buyer’s premium). Prior to that it was a TOS mid-grade Type-1 phaser that went for $65,000 ($78,000 with B.P.) in December 2011. Will the Assignment: Earth phaser get its opening bid of $80,000? Time will time.

It should be mentioned that ScreenUsed’s auction on July 6 features almost 200 Star Trek lots. That’s the most offered since Profiles’ 2010 summer auction.


Updated July 2, 2013:

It goes without saying that Star Trek fans (Trekkies, Trekkers, et al) are a passionate bunch. The nuance here is that they can also be very technical when it comes to original memorabilia. So let’s get Treknical (ha!)…

The owner of the Type-2 Phaser in Profiles’ auction, Gerald Gurian, has contacted me with additional details about the item and clarified a few things from Don Hillenbrand’s analysis:

The Profiles write-up specifically discusses the use of screenshots from other TOS episodes to match particular features/contours/design elements observed to exist on the prop for sale; but is very clear, IMO, in asserting that it is the design characteristic – such as the hand grip geometry or a mold flaw in the rear fin design, etc. that has been matched to a screenshot from a different episode; and not the entire TOS phaser itself…

This sale is the first time ever, I believe, that a TOS Pistol Phaser screen matched to a unique episode has been offered at auction; and likely the first time that a major auction house published such a comprehensive write-up of a prop in its catalog that contained not only one, but multiple annotated images in a sincere attempt to convey authenticating information to the public – and Profiles should be commended for this…

I sincerely do not see how a rational interpretation of the Profiles description could lead to the conclusion that the phaser is being advertised as screen matched in 4 episodes!!! I might point out that if it is established as screen used in 1, it very likely was employed elsewhere in the series. Phasers are seen in virtually all episodes across all seasons. And this phaser has multiple traces of red, blue and gold velour trapped in its velcro … which likely does not get there from usage in just a single scene or a single episode. But as for claimed on screen usage of this unique prop, the Profiles writeup only asserts a single episode – Assignment:Earth!

(Photo source: Gerald Gurian)