Aaron Case’s interest in collecting Star Trek autographs was sparked in the summer of 1991. At the age of 12, young Aaron was hanging around his house a lot when his parents suggested he find a summertime hobby. An avid fan of Star Trek, Aaron found out that he could write the actors directly at Paramount studios. He shares, “I began an aggressive letter writing campaign to every actor on the various Star Trek TV shows. I handwrote postcards to each actor on the show. Almost immediately, I began getting responses!”
Some of the autographs were genuine, while others were photocopied. Still, it was exciting to hear back from the actors who portrayed the characters that he loved. The very first autograph that he received was from William Shatner. It was a 5×7 image with a photocopied signature. “It was cool, but years later I decided to replace that one with the genuine article,” shares Aaron. “But he always stands out as the first person to send me an autograph.” Today, Aaron’s collection contains over 350 signatures and is still growing. “Some of my all-time favorites include Leonard Nimoy, Peter Weller, Sid Haig, and Whoopi Goldberg.”
Aaron has always had a collector mentality – a desire to complete a whole set of something. “My moment of realization with these pictures was when a friend of mine went to a Star Trek convention in Chicago and got me a signed picture from a guest star named Beverly Washburn.” At first, he was disappointed that it wasn’t one of the main stars, but soon he realized that this opened up the door to the hundreds of guest stars who appear on the show. It was at this point that he started to look for guest star signatures, and his collection really began to take off.
Aaron’s collection stands out for several reasons. First, about 80% of the items are personalized with a greeting to Aaron. The second reason it stands out is the rarity of some of the items he collects. “I’ve got an autograph from Meg Wylie who played one of the Talosians in the unaired pilot episode called ‘The Cage’ from 1965,” shares Aaron. “I actually have three autographs from the unaired, original pilot episode.” Third, the sheer size and scope of the collection is impressive, especially with the coverage of guest stars from the multiple Star Trek movies and TV shows that have aired over the years.
Like many collectors, Aaron finds it difficult to select his favorite item. “I have multiple favorite items!” he explains. “Some of the recognizable ones that stand out are Kirstie Alley, Whoopi Goldberg, and Christopher Lloyd. About two years ago, I finally got ahold of a Peter Weller autograph, the actor who played Robocop. He made a couple of appearances on the show. That just made my day!”
When Aaron first started collecting, he wanted to put the autographs in photo frames and hang them on the wall. However, as the collection grew, he ran out of wall space. Additionally, he realized that photographs tend to fade when left out exposed to the light. Today, he stores the autographs in acid-free archival plastic sheets, and then those all get placed in three-ring binders. “I’ve got them separated by the TV show, and then in each TV show, I’ve got all the main stars at the front, and then the guest stars are organized alphabetically.”
Many of the autographs in Aaron’s collection have appreciated in value since he acquired them. As an example, Aaron recalls a Leonard Nimoy autograph that he purchased directly from Creation Entertainment, the company that runs the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. He paid $50 for the autograph, which today is selling for around $500 on eBay.
Aaron’s collection continues to grow, and his love of Star Trek has remained steady over the past 30 years. He is proud to have a completed set of all the main stars from the first five shows, which include Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, and Enterprise. He also has a complete set of the main stars from the JJ Abrams reboot movies. “I’m currently working on the new shows in production,” Aaron shares. “It’s overwhelming for a collector because there are so many new ones I want to get that I cannot find. I’m always looking out for autographs that I don’t have in my collection!”