Patrick Stewart had to laugh at the sale of this prop
Star Trek auctions are still extremely popular. Fans and collectors of memorabilia clamor to get their hands on props used from the sets of their favorite series. Items that sell especially well are clothing worn by the actors, chairs actors used, and props the actors handled as well. That was the case for the prop flute that was used onscreen by Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “The Inner Light.” The flute played a major role in the episode so it’s no surprise that it was a highly-desired piece. In fact, it was so desired that it went for a grand total of $48,000, which includes hammer price plus buyer’s premiums.
So what was it about the sale of this item that amused Patrick Stewart so much? “It doesn’t play. It’s not a real flute.” Stewart shared the bit of information after laughing for several seconds when he learned the details of the sale.
Buyers were made aware that the flute used by Patrick Stewart didn’t play
Christies, the auction company behind the sale, had listed the flute as “non-playing” in its description so buyers were fully aware before they made the purchase. This particular flute was not only used in “The Inner Light.” It was also featured in “Lessons” and “A Fistful of Datas” on The Next Generation.
While $48,000 is certainly a large amount of money to spend on an item that doesn’t work, most likely, the collector wasn’t buying it to play tunes. Most collectibles aren’t purchased to be utilized but to be admired and to give the buyer the chance to own a piece of history. And a prop from “The Inner Light,” one of the most celebrated episodes of The Next Generation is definitely a piece of history.