It takes big bucks to beam up Kirk's chair

The command chair used by William Shatner's signature character in the original "Star Trek" television show fetches $265,000 in an auction on eBay.

3 min read
Want to take Captain Kirk's seat? Be prepared to pay $265,000.

That's what the command chair used by William Shatner's signature character in the original "Star Trek" television show fetched in an auction Thursday. The live auction, which was accessible online through eBay, featured memorabilia--including costumes, props and scripts--from the "Star Trek" movies and television shows.

But the chair was the most important item in the lot, said Lorna Hart, general manager with Profiles in History, which conducted the auction. Bidding on the chair started at $80,000 and the final price of $150,000 exceeded its estimated value of $100,000. In all, 29 bids were placed on the chair.

"We had an idea that (the chair) was easily going to go over the estimate. That was just based on the phone calls we received," Hart said. "We had lot of people calling about it."

Hart declined to name the winning bidder.

The "Star Trek" auction is one of a growing number of high-profile auctions that have been available to eBay bidders in recent months. On eBay's Sothebys.com site, the company has a charity auction closing Friday that features Hollywood memorabilia.

Last month, Guernsey's auction house sold a collection of Grateful Dead memorabilia on the site, including two one-of-a-kind guitars formerly owned by the band's lead singer, Jerry Garcia. And in April, a round of golf with Tiger Woods sold on eBay for $425,000.

Although bidding on the Captain Kirk command chair topped its estimated value, other items in the "Star Trek" auction didn't fare as well. The robe worn by Leonard Nimoy as Spock in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" drew just two bids and closed at $10,000--well below its estimated value of $12,000 to $15,000. Meanwhile, the chair from the personal quarters of Captain Pike, Kirk's predecessor in command of the Enterprise, fetched only $7,000, below its $8,000 to $10,000 range.

The costume worn by Ricardo Montalban as the title character in "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" sold for $27,500, well within its estimated range of $20,000 to $30,000. And Captain Kirk's uniform from "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" drew just four bids and closed at $15,000, at the bottom of its value range of $15,000 to $18,000.

"When you have over 300 items, there's always a few that you thought would go higher than they did," Hart said. "You never know where flow's going to go. Sometimes you just get an item that you don't think is going to sell and it just goes through the roof."

One highly anticipated item that did not sell was Jimi Hendrix's Army medical reports. Profiles in History pulled the lot before the auction began and didn't allow any bids on it, Hart said. Hart declined to say why the auction house pulled the archive.

Earlier this year, eBay-owned Butterfields cancelled an auction of a collection of Malcolm X's writings after the civil rights leader's family questioned how the auction house got hold of the documents and threatened to sue. Earlier this month, eBay cancelled a high-profile auction for two Segway Human Transporters after Segway questioned whether the foundation selling the items actually had possession of them.

eBay representatives did not return calls seeking comment about the "Star Trek" auction.