Over the weekend The Heritage Auction Gallery held an auction including a number of Star Trek costumes. Bidding was fierce for some items, most notably Admiral Kirk’s jacket from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan which sold for $37,500. Full report from the event below.
William Shatner’s TWOK Jacket Sells for $37.5K
The Star Trek highlight of the Heritage Auction Galleries Signature® Music & Entertainment Memorabilia Auction held in Beverly Hills on Saturday was the Admiral Kirk Jacket and shirt costume from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Admiral Kirk’s costume went for a pricey $37,500
Originally estimated to sell for $20,000, bidding shot up to $37,500 (before buyers premium). And for full disclosure, I was one of the bidders who tried for the Kirk costume, but dropped out when I hit $35,000 (well above my original intended maximum bid). The last auction for one of these Shatner worn movie era uniforms was at the Christies Auction in 2006 where it went for $25,000. To be honest, I am now glad I didn’t win the auction as I think the price went too high and the emotion of the moment overcame logic, but it was a good lesson in auction market dynamics.
That being said, this uniform is a very rare piece of Star Trek history and it was in overall excellent condition, with the exception of a small hole on the front of the jacket where an insignia pin was attached. The uniform consists of the distinctive maroon jacket, sleeveless white undershirt, black trousers, and black leather belt with metal Starfleet insignia buckle included. This particular Starfleet duty uniform features a jacket and undershirt worn by none other than William Shatner in his role as Admiral James T. Kirk was later modified and worn by Leon Russom, along with the included trousers, as the Starfleet Commander-in-Chief in Star Trek VI.
Jacket tag with Shatner’s and Russom’s name (added later)
A couple of the major lots had opening bids so high that no one bid on them. This was the case with both the Spock Duty Uniform Undershirt worn by Leonard Nimoy as well as the DeForest Kelley TOS Duty Uniform Trousers. That pair of trousers was interesting in that it had front pockets and one knowledgeable source believes they may in fact have been James Doohan’s who had pockets made on his pants for his cigarettes! The pants also had the cuffs removed, which means they were being prepped to be reused for Star Trek: Phase II.
Spock costume went unsold
Despite my disappointment that I didn’t get the Kirk jacket, I did get the Klingon costume, which in fact was the stunt costume for John Colicos as the Klingon Kor in Deep Space Nine. I own the undershirt, belt and gauntlets to complete this costume, so was pleased to get what has been a holy grail for me. It went for $ 3,500 plus buyer’s premium, and after losing the Kirk at 10x this price, I felt I got a good deal and got away with my bank account intact!
My new Klingon costume – only $3500
Alec Peters is the owner of PropWorx, who are handling the Star Trek Auction at the Las Vegas Trek Convention in August and author of the Star Trek Prop and Auction Blog.
“My new Klingon costume – only $3500”
Will you model it for us?
Cool, the shat still can do it!
That new Klingon costume doesn’t look like anything people would know. No wonder it didn’t sell.
It’s really a shame that Paramount never had he foresight to “preserve” the Trek costumes after each movie. Shat’s costume should never have been altered and re-used, except maybe for Shat. I can see reusing Commodore Ferris’ uni for Lord Garth, and Shat’s sandals for Elaan of Troyius (yuck, by the way) but it would seem only logical that movie sets, props, and costumes be kept pristine for other display, including museums, private showings, or theme attractions. Or for sale. Duh.
Think of the great attraction Paramount could have if they took more care with some of this stuff.
Here’s the thing……just because the Kirk uniform had a tag sewn inside saying it was for William Shatner, where is the definitive proof that THIS is the jacket worn in the film? How do we know that, at the time of filming the movie, the wardrobe department didn’t have 3 or 4 uniforms made up for Shatner in case of stains/damage? If I was going to spend $37K on a piece of Trek history, I would want to be absolutely sure it’s the same thing I saw on screen! I wouldn’t pay ANYTHING for a spare outfit that sat in the closet and was never used in the movie!
@4 Agreed! I’d want the one with the bloodstain anyway.
#4 and #5
One would think that the REAL STII uniform was, indeed, the one with the bloodied uniform with Ike Eisenman’s handprint on it. Kirk wore it for the rest of the film, so that should be the authentic one. Hmmm.
could the bloodstain have been cleaned off?
didnt they reuse the uniforms in all the sequels?
it seems odd that they specify it as only being from II
I never liked the uniforms Star Trek II – VI. They always looked Gestapo-ish to me. I know I’m in a minority here, but i think the best looking Star Trek uniform was from Star Trek – The Motion Picture….
You’re right! You are in the minority!
9. hahahah. The golf shirts from TMP were boring.
Indeed, he is :)
While I understand the resistance due to the military overtones, I always thought that the TWOK uniforms simply were more professional and interesting, especially the admirals (I always liked the gold stripe, and I was wondering why there was the second one–didn’t realize they’d modified it for STVI, cool!) Ironically, it was only the TMP admiral’s uniform I liked from the first movie–if they had all been similar I wouldn’t have hated them.
Put me in the camp that greatly disliked TMP’s unis. Only Spock’s had a dark collar, reminiscent of TOS. I really disliked Kirk’s “summer wear” short sleeve version. And the less said about the crotch toasters, the better.
TWOK unis look plausible, as does most of the movie sets and props (not counting the nuclear reactor room — which apparently overtook the matter/anti-matter engines.)
As for the blood stain, I’m thinking that’s the Hero costume. I’m purely guessing, but I’d expect that it would come with a replaceable panel so they could do the grab with blood sequence more than once. Anyway, Kirk changes unis after returning from the Genesis Cave:
Anyway… of all the unis, TWOK and TNG Season 3-7 unis would be my favs. They just look like stuff to wear in space.
I never have understood the resistance of depicting Starfleet as a military force. Despite Roddenberry’s discomfort with the notion, he and the other writers/creators of TOS did pretty much structure Starfleet as a carbon copy of the US Navy from the get-go. Its ships are often engaged, as Nick Meyer put it, in “gunboat diplomacy.” And more often than not those ships are armed to the teeth (even leading the memory-wiped crew of the Enterprise-D to assume their vessel was a battleship just from reading the tactical display–TNG: “Conundrum”).
As much as the show-runners and some fans have wanted to pretend our boys and girls behind the arrowhead are out there to plant daisies in alien torpedo tubes, deep down we all want a little exploration (in both inner and outer space) and whole lot of stuff blowing up the rest of the time.
Best Star Trek uniforms ever.
Indeed there would be multiple, identical-looking costume pieces for Shatner for each film, and he may have worn all of them or some of them, and other actors, doubles, stunt men, and extras may have worn them at various times. There wasn’t even just one blood-stained jacket because the shape of the stain changed from scene to scene. The fake blood was probably washed out subsequently or that panel of fabric replaced, so the jacket could be re-used. The kind of preservation Paramount was interested in was having enough uniforms to recycle for as many productions as possible, so of course they were worn by multiple actors over multiple decades!
The jacket in this auction is obviously missing its Starfleet badge, and the rank insignia and other details may be wrong for Kirk as he was a rear admiral and this jacket was modified for the Starfleet commander in chief. Replica uniform pins made from the original molds can be obtained from Roddenberry.com
Exactly my point! So, how in the hell do you confirm that this is THE jacket Shatner wore in front of the cameras for TWOK? The answer is you CAN’T!! Worthless!!!
Plus, it could also be counterfeit. It once happened to a poor chap who thought he bought an authentic screen-used uniform worn by Brent Spiner. Boy was he wrong!
Forget phasers, transporters, and warp engines! The most amazing piece of Trek tech ever created is the fabric that the TWOK uniforms are made of. After all, it has the look of wool, and yet must be cool enough to wear in the full range of temperatures a Starfleet officer must endure. Including, for example, hot desert sun.
Seriously, those things must have miniaturized air conditioners in them.
I could see TMP Kirk striding confidently in his “Spandex”-like fatigues in the humid SF weather as he catches his air tram; picture him in a woolen duty jacket in the style of TWOK and — it’s enough to give one heat stroke just thinking about it.
But, again, it must be some kind of autothermoregulatory fabric. Kirk’s time is, after all, 200 years from now.
Someone should do a Ph.D. thesis on this kind of thing. I can just see it now: Thesis adviser — Tim Gunn.
What’s that fashion design competition show called again? Could they make a Trek-themed special? With a retrospective on the late William Ware Theiss, for example?
Hey, this could actually work.
There are 1000s of different uniforms worn during a film production. I would think every day you would need a new jacket or pants. What if you were eating and spilled something on a jacket. It was probably an extra they had or Shatner wore it one time.
sigh…they shouldve designed the 2009 film uniforms to more closely resemble the 80s film uniforms…but look at the uniforms: anyone detect a bit of Naziesque design in them? from the cuffs to what they used for the Admiral rank pin to so much more… :|
British redcoats from an alternative future maybe. Nazis… sorry, I’m not seeing it. Too warm and colorful for the Third Reich.
Forget the name tag. For $37,500 it should have come with The Shat!
#6 – there were actually at least two different uniform tunics with the bloddied handprint on it since in two different places in TWOK, the handprint was situated differently on the tunic.
#13: “deep down we all want a little exploration (in both inner and outer space) and whole lot of stuff blowing up the rest of the time.”
You’d do well not to attempt to speak for others.
There was nothing Nazi-like in the uniforms: they have traditional bell-bottoms, not jackboots! And unless long, black leather coats and big-brimmed black hats became the uniform between movies, the Gestapo reference by one guy above is completely ridiculous!
There’s certainly a streak of the navies of the Napoleonic era, though. Nick Meyer’s take on Trek drew heavily from the Hornblower novels so the look of the uniforms having a historical reference is hardly surprising. The naval feel is something I loved in the TOS films. Hopefully we’ll see a variant of these wonderful uniforms if the new Trek film series runs for long enough.
Anything that avoids the awful TMP uniforms suits me!!
The TWOK style is not only a better ‘uniform’ but as ‘costumes’ they fare much better for actors with expanding waistlines etc. This is not meant as a slight, but it was prudent to move to something more structured, that did not distract the viewer by accentuating the actors’ shape, with hip-hugging spandex. These actors were not 35 anymore, could you imagine what it would have looked like by ST IV for them all to be still wearing tan and baby blue pajamas? Oh my….
Sorry, I wasn’t trying to speak for every Trek fan. But let’s face it; the action scenes are what put a lot of backsides in the theater seats, especially among the younger set. Hopefully, the filmmakers will find a nice balance between action and intelligent scenes in the upcoming sequel–the last movie was a bit heavy in the former for my tastes.
And keep in mind that conflict is the key ingredient in any story. Without “stuff blowing up” on occasion, all you’ve got is a bunch of people sitting in a circular room watching the latest twenty-minute episode of “Big Psychedelic Clouds from the Great Beyond” on their flat screen TV. (V’ger flyover in TMP).
#25 The band on the bottom of the left arm is similar to German WWII uniforms, just check any ep of “Rat Patrol”. Maybe that’s part of what people see as a similarity. Just sayin’.
Okey, Who’s the wisequy out there who says he likes the TMP uniforms….Everyone’s entitled to there own opinion (I would have prefered the II – VI uniforms to actually be pink with purple polkadots). But seriously, who, besides someone who should be locked up in the lunny bin, likes the TMP uniforms.
(I kid…but seriously!!!)
and it must be admitted, that Star Trek II was great, in half because of the two space battles, and star trek IX was great in part because of the great space battle, and Star Trek 09 was great because of the space….wait am I repeating myself here…….
I favor the TMP uniforms as well.
#27: “Hopefully, the filmmakers will find a nice balance between action and intelligent scenes in the upcoming sequel–the last movie was a bit heavy in the former for my tastes.”
I share your hope. And you phrase it so much more generously than I ever could.
“And keep in mind that conflict is the key ingredient in any story.”
That is true.
“Without “stuff blowing up” on occasion, all you’ve got is a bunch of people sitting in a circular room watching the latest twenty-minute episode of “Big Psychedelic Clouds from the Great Beyond” on their flat screen TV.”
That, on the other hand, is not true. There have been, for millenia, countless examples of powerful and enduring stories rich in conflict and challenge without _any_ stuff blowing up.
Stuff blowing up is spice, not food. I like spicy food just fine, but spice alone is not a meal.
TWOK started the best looking uniforms in Starfleet use, next to TOS which includes the style worn in the The Cage/Where no man has gone before.
For TMP, Director Bob Wise wanted the focus on the characters faces rather then what they wore. Since by 1979, American housholds had color TV and we were used to seeing bold colors unlike the novel brightness of TOS in 1966…if you had a color TV.
The fabric of TWOK unifroms is made up of the same type of material used in making the US Army officers uniforms used in WW2 that I have in my collection. It is a very nice materail and woould hold up well, since my WW2 uniforms are 60 to 70 years old now. I got some good close up photos of all the uniforms when STAR TREK:THE TOUR was in Long Beach. All the stuff was very well made and I can only imagine cost back when they were all made by a tailor/costume shop for the major stars to use. Background players don’t get the top quality costumes as they don’t get the close ups.
As for the price….???? Well, it is worth what it is to whom ever bought it and if they are happy with that price, then so be it as I wish them congrats on a great piece of Trek history. A lot of us may not have close to $40,000 for bidding on it. I sure don’t , but that would not have stopped me from appreciating it for what it is.
Yeah, I know about too much spice. I was just being a wiseguy with the stuff blowing up comment. It just seems to be the only thing Hollywood is interested in showing us these days. Sigh. Actually, my favorite Star Trek story is “In the Pale Moonlight,” which doesn’t feature any onscreen explosions. It’s just a well-acted, well-written morality play.
On the other hand, I must admit I enjoy a good space once in awhile. Okay, a little more often than that. :) I just miss the pace of the battles in the TOS films–that slow, measured buildup to a short burst of violence (Mutara Nebula, the battle with Chang’s BoP, etc.). Something that was sorely missed in the last film. Abrams really needs to take a cue from Sergio Leone. Now there was a director who knew a good buildup… and then some!
“I must admit I enjoy a good space once in awhile”
That’s SPACE BATTLE, idiot! Learn to type.
I’ve always hated those uniforms. Why did they let Robert Wise stray away from the original uniforms I’ll never know. It sure opened the door for these horrible uniforms. I hope they never reappear!
I still say that it must be hot as hell to wear those costumes with studio lights beating down on you.
That’s a mighty big uniform to fill! haha.
And yeah, 38, they were hideous. I’m really, really glad that JJ went back to the original look for the 09 film.
The commentary on the Directors Cut DVD of TMP tells that Bob Wise did not want to have the audience distracted by garish, bright uniforms which would make the actors secondary. So he felt a drab looking uniform was more fitting for his film (it is the directors choice after all) and to have us focus on the charactors.
I am among those who think that those were the worst ever designed, next to the 1st & 2nd year of TNG, but that is my opinion only.
Interestingly, the US Army did an On-line poll of soldiers about 4/5 years ago when they were considering a change of uniform. They asked soldiers to pick what they liked. One of the options they had to choose from was the version of TWOK unforms. While I doubt the Army would have gone along with that had it won the poll, I like the fact that I got to vote for it. Instead what we are going to wear now is our dress blues becoming the Army Service Uniform (ASU).
#41: “So he felt a drab looking uniform was more fitting for his film (it is the directors choice after all) and to have us focus on the charactors. ”
That’s definitely much nicer than saying “our actors were getting a little flabby for close-fitting shirts; we wanted something with blockier lines so they could still look sharp.” :)
The TMP dress uniforms were, IMO, very sharp. (high collar, two tone top etc..)
Unfortunately the casual wear look was used for the majority of the filming were a little too Buck Rogers for me.
Anywhere else to buy this costume?