Star Trek collectibles tell great stories at Peter Wolchak’s Collecting Trek

Image courtesy Peter Wolchak, Collecting Trek
Image courtesy Peter Wolchak, Collecting Trek /

Collecting Trek showcases one fan’s four decades of collecting Star Trek memorabilia.

“If you want to really annoy a lot of Star Trek fans,” says Toronto-based collector Peter Wolchak, “write a headline that says the Enterprise is not a Constitution-class starship.” He wrote such a headline once, for his website, Collecting Trek.

Wolchak, who’s been collecting Star Trek merchandise and memorabilia since 1978—his first purchase was an autographed copy of David Gerrold’s The World of Star Trek—investigated when the “Constitution-class” designation for the NCC-1701 was first seen or heard onscreen. The answer? Not until “The Naked Now,” the second episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in 1987.

Yes, aerospace designer Franz Joseph’s Star Fleet Technical Manual (1975) labeled the Enterprise a Constitution-class starship. But the dedication plaque on the bridge during The Original Series (TOS) read “Starship Class”—a fact Wolchak pointed out agreed with the ship’s official designation in the third revision of the TOS Writers/Directors Guide from 1967, a copy of which Wolchak owns.

“Man, people got abusive,” Wolchak told me during a recent conversation I had with him via Zoom. “That article by far got the most attention.”

Like all the articles Wolchak writes for Collecting Trek, it was based on a collectible he owns. In this case, the collectible helped him tell a true story from Trek lore, even if it contradicts received fan wisdom and later franchise retcons.

Collecting Trek tells meaningful stories behind Star Trek and its collectibles

Wolchak launched Collecting Trek in January 2019 to fill a gap he saw in Star Trek collecting circles. “The genesis of the website,” says Wolchak, “was that I wanted to tell stories behind the collectibles.”

As a result, Collecting Trek—which Wolchak subtitles “A TOS Collection 40 Years in the Making”—isn’t a list of items he owns, or even a photo gallery of the admirably full Star Trek room of which he gave me a virtual tour. It’s a deep dive into the production history of TOS and the TOS-era movies, told via the books, autographs, original artwork, posters, trading cards, magazines, fanzines, toys, board games, and more Wolchak has been curating for four decades.

Image courtesy Peter Wolchak, Collecting Trek
Image courtesy Peter Wolchak, Collecting Trek /

Wolchak’s first major collecting project was acquiring the complete run of Gold Key Star Trek comic books (1967-1979). “They’re horrendous!” he says. “In terms of accuracy, they’re ridiculous. But they’re so much fun to read.”

In those pre-internet days, finding all the issues took Wolchak years—“partly because of availability,” he says, “partly because I was a young teenager and I just didn’t have that much money.” But he ultimately found them all, and had a lot of fun doing it.

And fun has always been the driving force behind Wolchak’s collecting. “I collect for myself, not for resale value,” he explains. “I have a lot of things that are valuable, but I don’t have them because they’re valuable.”

Among the most valuable items in Wolchak’s collection are some truly one-of-a-kind pieces. “I have Theodore Sturgeon’s outline for ‘Amok Time,’” says Wolchak. “Nobody else has that because it’s literally from Sturgeon’s typewriter.” Noel Sturgeon, Theodore Sturgeon’s daughter, authenticated the document for Wolchak.

Wolchak has some expensive, high-end collectibles in his keeping. But he also considers items that cost him much less to be centerpieces of his collection because of the meaning they hold.

For example, he fondly remembers the conversation he had with Nichelle Nichols when he handed her his copy of the January 1967 Ebony to sign. The issue features a stunning picture of Nichols as Uhura on its cover. “The Ebony magazine really mattered to her,” he says.

When asked if he has advice for would-be Star Trek collectors, Wolchak suggests that, given the abundance of Trek collectibles today, they narrow their collection’s focus, as he has limited his collection’s scope to TOS. He advises those collecting autographs to focus on personalized inscriptions, not simple signatures, “because forgers don’t personalize.”

Above all, he urges collectors to collect what interests and excites them. “Try to come up with something that is meaningful, either to you or to the actor,” he says, “because you get these great stories.”

You can discover all the great stories Wolchak has to tell—including at least one that annoys a lot of Star Trek fans!—at his website, Collecting Trek (

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