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Lost first USS Enterprise model returned to ‘Star Trek’ creator’s son

Piece’s fate had been mystery since 1970s

By Jamie Stengle, Associated Press
Published: April 20, 2024, 5:55am

DALLAS — The first model of the USS Enterprise — used in the opening credits of the original “Star Trek” television series — has boldly gone back home, returning to creator Gene Roddenberry’s son decades after it went missing.

The model’s disappearance in the 1970s had become the subject of lore, so it caused a stir when it popped up on eBay last fall. The sellers took it down and then contacted Dallas-based Heritage Auctions to authenticate it. Last weekend, the auction house facilitated the model’s return.

Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment, said he’s thrilled to have the model that had graced the desk of his father, who died in 1991 at age 70.

“This is not going home to adorn my shelves,” Roddenberry said. “This is going to get restored, and we’re working on ways to get it out so the public can see it, and my hope is that it will land in a museum somewhere.”

Heritage’s executive vice president, Joe Maddalena, said the auction house was contacted by people who said they’d discovered it a storage unit, and when it was brought into their Beverly Hills office, he and a colleague “instantly knew that it was the real thing.”

They reached out to Roddenberry, who said he appreciates that everyone involved agreed that returning the model was the right thing to do.