Much to my delight, a few weeks after I posted that story, I was contacted by an Italian collector named Paolo who had some interesting news for me. He told me that while reading my article he recognized my prop due to a very basic reason – he had one just like it! And I don't mean "kind of" or "sort of" like it. After Paolo was kind enough to send me some pictures I came to realize exactly what he meant: our props were twins! Or more accurately, part of a set of triplets, since his and mine also matched the details of one of the other specimens I had used in my original analysis, the "Azarian" version. I had also unknowingly used Paolo's version in my comparison, as Paolo came to inform me that he believed his version was the one I showed as having been sold by Profiles in History in 1997 and which I had observed in my story as having similar details to mine and the Azarian piece.
Paolo recently shared some additional photos with me and gave me permission to use them here. I wanted to share my findings with other Star Trek TOS prop fanatics (I know you're out there), so here's some shots with my version and Paolo's in side-by-side comparison:
Paolo has been collecting Star Trek since the 90's and originally bought the Disruptor in 1997 from a place called "Movies Galore" in Scottsdale Arizona. Earlier that year, Profiles in History had auctioned off a Klingon Disruptor and Paolo believed that "Movies Galore" had acquired that piece and then resold it to him. I have a photo of that PIH auction piece in my original story and the styles definitely match.
So how does Paolo's Disruptor fit into the scheme of things? Quite well, actually. My supposition has always been that my version (and by default, others that resemble it) was created as a background piece as opposed to the higher-detailed "hero" pieces that were used by main characters in close-ups. Having at least three known "background" versions out there is consistent with this hypothesis since there's always multiple background versions made for a piece like the Disruptor (as my earlier story mentioned, eight Disruptors were seen in one scene alone).
I'm grateful to Paolo for his willingness to share his Disruptor with me (and all of you). It was enlightening to me to see another version of my piece in such specific detail. Many thanks, Paolo!