'Star Trek' phaser rifle sells for $231k

An ultra-rare piece of "Trek" memorabilia pulls in an impressive amount on the auction block.

Christopher MacManus
Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.
Christopher MacManus
An early 'Star Trek' publicity still featuring the rifle. Julien's Auctions

Never underestimate the purchasing power of a "Star Trek" fan.

Beverly Hills, Calif., auction house Julien's has sold -- for a whopping $231,000 -- a one-of-a-kind "Star Trek" phaser rifle wielded by William Shatner in the second pilot episode (and some publicity stills) for the iconic late-'60s sci-fi TV series. Aside from obtaining the weapon and its original case, the winner of the auction also received an original schematic and associated letters signed by Gene Roddenberry and other "Star Trek" producers.

If you're wondering what's so special about this mock rifle, well, in 1965, "Star Trek" series creator Roddenberry had to impress NBC after network executives told him the first pilot needed more of an action-packed adventure vibe. What would any enterprising creative genius do in that situation? Outfit your Captain with a bigger gun, of course!

A closer look at the $231,000 rifle. Julien's Auctions

For the job, Roddenberry consulted toy manufacturer Reuben Klamer, who created a large wooden rifle covered with metallic paint and other futuristic embellishments. In return for his services, Klamer only asked for potential licensing rights for the weapon. After production of the second pilot wrapped, "Trek" honchos dropped the rifle for the smaller phaser pistol, and the pilot became the third episode of the regular broadcast series.

In the video below, Klamer chats up the creation of the rifle and his involvement with "Trek."