I got to know a lot about Bradley Nelson phasers, so what’s out there and how much are they worth? Many call it the Rolls Royce of Star Trek phasers! I personally find it very impressive with a 400 volt strobe and it’s size just right.
Bradley Nelson from Long Island was Star Trek fan that attended the 70s cons in New York City. There he would see Star Trek props. Looking at the phasers he figured he could make a better one. He, with the help of Bill Hickey* (RIP) made and sold 430 which is the crew number of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Brad never used the name Star Trek or was ever sent a C&D. There were also 15 made up for Gene Roddenberry, these were absent any electronics and had a removable handle given evidence of power packs or banks. *Bill Hickey was in the Recreation Hall if the Future scene in Star Trek the Motion Picture. Many prop makers tried to copy his design but Brad outlasted all of them, his phasers were sold into the 90s.
After Roddenberry bought one at the 1976 Star Trek convention in NYC, Brad started to revise his design. He removed the epoxy line where the handle meets the body and cut the large knob smaller which was requested by Gene. He also switched the rainbow crispy to the mylar ridged design, there is a post on the TPZ to exactly where it comes from.
30 phasers were sent to me with another one coming. (people pay me a lot of money to rebuild/restore these.) I heard that Brad fixed about the same. I talked to people on the TPZ and understand there are about 20 more. Then there are a few images online. IMHO there are less than 100 in existence. The phaser was not without problems, the long screw had a fault where it’s threads cut into the AA batteries shorting them out. Also, if batteries were not inserted properly, there was a short. Given that, the P1 is only epoxied and will pop off if dropped. This would not be a secure future for the Hero version. A number of years ago Brad e-mailed me and asked if I could sell one, he wanted $2000. I didn’t have a chance to ask on the TPZ because it sold to the first member I was messaging to. To me, I’m a collector and 430 is a real limited edition. Given the price of the last one that sold on eBay and under a hundred out there, I would say upward of $3800. or $5000.CDN in good working condition. Looking at the Star Trek prop prices since they were first sold on eBay, we see the dramatic increase since the 50th. Also toys of props has shot up. The interest in TOS has increased. One thing I learned about Star Trek, people love the history. TOS is part of popular culture. The story of the lost series, what might have been, will always attract TOS fans. The Bradley Nelson was a phaser that Gene Roddenderry personally picked for the next chapter of Star Trek, that alone makes it so desireable. Opinions?