Boldly going... boldly going... boldly gone

It was reckoned it might fetch $25,000 (£13,400). As it transpired, such was the passion of one Star Trek fan it sold for an intergalactic $576,000.

No one ever stood at the bridge of this Starship Enterprise: it was only a model used in the pilot and opening sequences of the Star-Trek: The Next Generation television series. That was why organisers of the three-day Star Trek memorabilia auction in New York had given it a modest estimate.

But once the 1,000 or so items previously held in storage by CBS Paramount Television Studios went under the auctioneer's hammer, they broke all preconceptions. By the end of the sale of 40 years' worth of stage sets and props - with some employees of Christie's wearing Star Trek uniforms - the sale had raised more than $7.1m.

In addition to the Enterprise model, other top sellers included a space suit belonging to Dr McCoy, which fetched $144,000, and a replica of Captain James T Kirk's chair, for $62,400.