23 Rare 'Battlestar Galactica' and 'Buck Rogers' Models Being Auctioned
by Andy Lewis
The collection, being offered as a set, has an estimate of $1.5-$2 million. The auction is slated for June 28.
Got a spare million or two? Or maybe your own sci-fi museum? Here’s something you might want.
A 23-item collection of Battlestar Galactica (the original 1978 TV series) and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (from 1979) screen-used miniatures is up for auction. The models are being sold as a set with an estimate of $1.5 million-$2 million. Profiles in History is conducting the auction, which is slated for June 28.
The set includes a screen-used Galactica, Colonial Viper and Cylon Raider. The Galactica is massive, measuring 6 feet by almost 3 feet, and is wired with a lightbox so it can be illuminated. The Viper, which is 15 inches by 8 inches, has halogen lights in the rear that can be activated and was the principal model used in promotional images. The Cylon fighter (17”x13”) is the only remaining model configured as it was when it was built (and one of only two models built for the original show). There are also numerous other Galactica models for ships that made up the fleet and enemy Cylon ships.
Ralph McQuarrie, the legendary production designer who is responsible for much of the look of Star Wars, did the original designs for Battlestar Galactica, including Galactica and the Viper and Cylon fighters. The models were built by many of the people who worked on Star Wars, including Oscar winners John Dykstra, Grant McCune and Richard Edlund
The Buck Rogers in the 25th Century models include Buck’s 3 foot by 2 foot Star Fighter, the Ranger 3 space shuttle that carried him 500 years in the future and assorted other models like the Hawk and Scorpion fighters.
Valuing the collection is tricky. With CGI filmmaking, few movies and TV shows feature models like this anymore. Similar, albeit more famous, models from this era have realized high prices. An Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation sold for $576,000 in 2006 and a Star Wars TIE fighter sold for $402,500 in 2008. Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rodgers don’t hold the same appeal as Star Wars or Star Trek, but these are one-of-a-kind examples from a golden age of Hollywood practical special effects. And it is unlikely there will ever be a collection this large assembled again. A museum — Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, for example — would be the best home (and it is the seller’s hope that a museum steps up).
The models come from the collection of Gary Cannavo, a Boston-based DJ who grew up loving sci-fi shows like Star Trek, Lost in Space and Battlestar Galactica and has been collecting for a quarter century. In the auction guide, Cannavo says, “As I got older and more successful, I embarked on finding these miniatures anywhere I could, never knowing where I would end up. The trek took me to many places where I met many amazing people I can call friends today. Each model has its own unique story of how and where I found them. It took many years, lots of money and thousands of research hours. It was a labor of love for me. These were spread all over the four corners and one-by-one I acquired them to add to this collection you see today. My love of these models has not stopped. I absolutely love each and every one of these guys. They simply do not make them anymore. It’s becoming a lost art and these are what’s left telling us about Sci-Fi movie and television history. I just feel it’s time to let them go and hope they find a great final resting place to be enjoyed by all.”’
A PDF of the auction catalog can be found here.
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