Welcome! As part of its ongoing mission to document the Art and Production History of Star Trek, this site will present technical articles on Star Trek prop and costume authentication - focusing on The Original Series - with detailed photos and episode screenshots to complement the information presented; as well as feature pictorials to showcase Star Trek memorabilia in private & public collections, present rare Behind The Scenes TOS imagery & discuss other topics.
Gerald Gurian is a 40+ year collector of screen used Star Trek memorabilia and a passionate fan of TOS
- Star Trek TOS At Auction Part I - Gurian Collection Highlights - Greg Jein TOS Hero Type II Phaser
-Authenticating a TOS Communicator -6 Myths About Star Trek Prop Design -Star Trek 3rd Season Command Tunic
- Design Features of TOS Tricorders -Star Trek Props At National Air & Space - TOS Leatherette Tricorder
- TOS Federation Sciences Dress -Desilu Studio TOS Prop Fabrication - Unreleased Allen/Gurian Prop Photos
- The Beautiful Women of TOS Part I -TOS U.S.S. Enterprise 11' Filming Model - Captain Kirk's Chair from TOS
- Spock Ears -TOS Control Panels & Displays - Mr. Spock's Science Station
- TOS Soundstage at Desilu -TOS Shatner Romulan Pants - The Beautiful Women of TOS Pt. II
- TOS Galileo Shuttlecraft -Greg Jein TOS Cage Laser Pistol - TOS 3rd Season Midgrade Type II Phaser
- Dr. McCoy's Sickbay on TOS -TOS Balok Puppet Head - Captain Kirk "Mirror, Mirror" Tunic
- Greg Jein TOS Hero Tricorder -1992 Smithsonian TOS Cast Video - TOS 1st Season Command Tunic
- TOS "Where No Man" Silver Contact Lenses -TOS Special Effects: The Transporter - The Art of Matt Jefferies
- TOS "Space Seed" Gold Mesh Jumpsuit -Gorn Costume from "Arena" - Rare TOS Behind-the-Scenes Videos
- TOS Stunt Type II Phaser -1993 Bill Theiss Estate Auction - TOS Shatner Command Dress Tunic
- TOS Elasian Royal Guard Tunic -TOS Finnegan Silver "Shore Leave" Tunic - TOS Science Officer Tunic "The Cage"
- TOS Shatner Early 1st Season Command Tunic -William Shatner TOS Tunics At Auction - TOS Shatner Late 1st Season Command Tunic

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Captain Picard's Command Chair from Star Trek: The Next Generation

An iconic piece of Star Trek history, the screen used Captain's Chair from Seasons 2 through 7 of Star Trek: The Next Generation, was recently listed as Lot # 346 in the Propstore March 12 - 14, 2024 Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction with an estimated price range of $50,000 - $100,000 prior to it being a last minute withdrawal from the sale in order to return it to the CBS Studios Star Trek Archive.  This extraordinary set fixture had not been publicly seen in 30 years, after reportedly going missing from the bridge set following the completion of filming of the TNG series finale "All Good Things ..." in 1994.

The Propstore auction catalog description provided some interesting construction insights, exact dimensional information, and what were at-the-time previously unseen photos of the Chairs current condition. The text of the essay, with accompanying photos, is reproduced below in its entirety …

Lot # 346 STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (1987-1994) Captain Picard's (Patrick Stewart) Screen-Matched Light-Up Command Chair

Captain Picard's (Patrick Stewart) screen-matched light-up command chair from Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The centerpiece of Enterprise-D's bridge, Picard often sat and issued commands from his signature Captain's chair.  Other high-ranking crew members also sat in the chair whenever they commanded the bridge.

The Next Generation was a massive hit with audiences, earning more than 30 million viewers at its peak.  Since 1988, it has won more than 30 international awards, including a prestigious Peabody Award, 19 Emmys, and, along with other Trek series and films, a Guinness World Record Award for Most Successful TV Sci-Fi Franchise.

This style of chair was first introduced in Season 2 after the bridge set was fully redesigned. The headrest of this chair was replaced for the Season 5 episode "Violations".  Creases in the headrest and paint markings on the left arm and seat screen-match this chair to multiple episodes in Seasons 6 and 7.

The chair is constructed from foam core covered in sand-colored polyester suede with matching vinyl side support bolsters and hard foam rubber armrests. The armrests feature several acrylic LCARS screens designed to illuminate via an original power cord from the production, which is attached to the back and appeared onscreen under the tactical console. The consoles feature color gels associated with later seasons.

While larger panels were screwed in during production, the tape around this chair was applied to secure smaller panels. The seat of the chair is also removable, allowing it to be converted for scenes set in different timelines or universes.

Following production, this lot underwent sympathetic restoration, which included fixing it to a metal plate for stability and replacing the lights to better illuminate. The headrest exhibits signs of previous repair or replacement, while the body exhibits cracked foam, lifted adhesive around the screens, scuff and flaked vinyl, and discoloration from age. Dimensions: 33" x 36" x 40" (84 cm x 91.5 cm x 101.75 cm)

Special shipping required; see notice in the Buyer's Guide.

Contains electronics; see electronics notice in the Buyer's Guide.

Estimate: $50,000 - 100,000

Presented below are four composite images created by Propstore that contain highlighted features visible on the modern day Command Chair shown side-by-side against TNG episode screenshots in which the identical fabric creases, wear and/or paint markings are visible - thus establishing a screen-matched level of authentication for this historic item ...

On June 27th, 2002, in the historic Profiles In History Bob Justman Star Trek Auction in Los Angeles, California, Captain Kirk’s famous chair from the Bridge set of Star Trek: The Original Series realized a final sales price of $304,750 (on a bid of $265,000) - making it one of the most expensive pieces of Star Trek memorabilia ever to sell at auction.   One can only speculate, over 20 years later given the heightened worldwide interest in collecting screen used entertainment memorabilia and the frequent extravagant final prices realized for the most premium of items, how high this legendary TNG command chair might have sold for.