Greg Jein, a distinguished visual effects artist and collector in the film industry, left an enduring legacy. Born in 1946 and passing away in 2022, Jein gained acclaim for his expertise in special effects, earning two Academy Award nominations for his work on Steven Spielberg’s films Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and 1941 (1979).
Beyond his contributions to special effects, Jein was a dedicated collector of Hollywood memorabilia. His extensive collection included props, scripts, and various items from iconic films and television series. Notably, Jein was a passionate Star Trek enthusiast, and a significant portion of his collection was dedicated to the beloved sci-fi franchise.
Jein’s impact on the entertainment industry extended to his involvement in creating detailed models for Star Trek in the late 1980s. His collection became the focus of attention when it was recently auctioned, revealing a treasure trove of cinematic history and providing fans with a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes world of filmmaking.
The highlight of the recent auction was a pint-sized prop from the original 1977 Star Wars film: one of the X-wing starfighters in the Death Star showdown. Friends discovered the model in Jein’s garage while working to help Jein’s family organize his collection. Bidding started at $400K and quickly skyrocketed to an astronomical $2.6M ($3.135M w/p), setting a record for the most expensive Star Wars prop to grace the silver screen.
The auction wasn’t just a Star Wars extravaganza—it had a Star Trek twist too. Jein was a Trekkie at heart, and nearly half the auction’s lots had some connection to the iconic television series. The Galileo shuttlecraft from the ’60s original series made a tidy $180K ($225K w/p). In addition, the SS Botany Bay Filming Miniature (from the episode “Space Seed”), and another lot that included a treasure trove of over 300 scripts from Gene Roddenberry’s visionary mind each fetched a cool $160K ($200K w/p).
Live long and prosper, cinematic treasures! (and for those that are not Trekkies – that’s the Vulcan salute.)