Perhaps no other fanbase understands the value of memorabilia and franchise history quite like Trekkies do. This probably explains why, rather than selling the Enterprise model for a quick buck, the unnamed seller instead went through the proper channels and made sure the priceless artifact was returned to its rightful owner. But how did it end up lost in the first place, you ask? Well, Gene Roddenberry originally lent the model to be used during production of 1979’s criminally underrated “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” whereupon it mysteriously went missing. For their part, the seller claimed to have found the model in a storage unit — the exact path it took to end up there, however, will likely never be known.

In order to fully authenticate the find, according to the New York Times report, Eugene Roddenberry enlisted the help of “Star Trek” art supervisor Michael Okuda, “Trek” VFX artist Denise Okuda, and technical consultant Gary Kerr, the latter of whom used an old photo of the model from the 1960s as a point of comparison. According to Eugene:

“We spent at least an hour photographing it, inspecting the paint, inspecting the dirt, looking under the base, the patina on the stem, the grain in the wood … It was a unanimous, ‘This is 100 percent the one.'”

With that, an age-old cold case in the “Star Trek” universe has finally been solved.

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