Lost original USS Enterprise model returned to Rod Roddenberry

Rob Kim/GettyImages

Last year, our contributor, Lillyan Radcliffe, wrote about Gene Roddenberry's missing Enterprise model that had turned up at an online auction and how his son, Rod, was trying to confirm that it was authentic and, if so, bring it back home. The three foot model had been used during the filming of Star Trek: The Original Series' pilot, "The Cage." After Star Trek was cancelled in 1969, the model was given to Roddenberry in 1975 where it sat on his desk. But after loaning it out, he didn't see it again. Naturally, everyone assumed it had been lost for good.

Then the model turned up on an Ebay auction, but it wasn't sold. Rod found pictures of the model from his father's private collection and compared it to the pictures uploaded by the seller. They proved that the model was, indeed, the one that had orginally belonged to Roddenberry Sr. Afterwards, Rod told fans he had plans to recover the missing model and, after scanning it into Roddenberry's Archives, donate it to the Smithsonian Institute.

Now, according to a report by Trekmovie, the Enterprise model has been returned to Rod Roddenberry. As it turns out, the model had been taken to Heritage Auctions for authentication. Once that had happened, the auction contacted Rod Roddenberry to arrange for the model's return to ts rightful owner. That return has now taken place, and Gene Roddenberry's son is thrilled to have the Enterprise back where it belongs.

""After five decades, I’m thrilled that someone happened upon this historic model of the USS Enterprise. I remember how it used to adorn my dad’s desk. I am tremendously grateful to Heritage Auctions for facilitating the return of this iconic piece of Star Trek history to my family. I can’t wait to figure out how we are going to share it with my extended family, Star Trek fans around the world. We look forward to making that announcement.”"

Eugene Roddenberry, Jr.

Pictures of the iconic ship have already been showing up online with Michael Okuda sharing an image taken with his wife, Denise, and Doug Drexler on Twitter/X and writing how wonderful it was that the lost treasure was on its way back home.

Drexler also shared a picture on his Facebook page that is a detailed close-up shot of the one-of-a-kind starship.

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Heritage Auctions Executive Vice-President, Joe Maddalena shared a statement, expressing the company's delight to have been able to facilitate the return.

"“Once our team of experts concluded it was the real thing, we contacted Rod because we wanted to get the model back to where it belonged. We’re thrilled the Enterprise is finally in dry dock.”"

Joe Maddalena, Heritage Auctions

It's amazing that after so many years, this piece of history finally made a safe passage home.

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