Newsletter #131

October21, 2000

Greetings Accumulators!

Don't know what it's like where you are, but here in the northeastern U.S. it is like a summer day! The sun is out, the temperature is in the seventies, and The Subway Series is about to begin. We New Yorkers are passionate about our baseball teams - we cheer them when they're winning, and we're just as vocal when they're losing. So, this could be a noisy week in the Big Apple.

Here at Accumulator Central we like to follow up on stories we've covered, just to see how it all comes out. We've a bunch of real doozies today.

Division of Statuette Retrieval
Remember right before last year's Oscar presentations, when someone stole 52 of the statuettes on their way to Hollywood? Remember Willie Fulgear, the hero in the incicdent, who found the awards in the trash and turned them in and was then given a $50,000 reward and invited to the Oscar broadcast, which he attended in top hat and tails, and at which he enjoyed the humorous commentary about the incident, dished out by Billy Crystal before a worldwide audience? Well, the police have finally made an arrest in the case. The suspect is John Willie Harris, 54, who happens to be Willie Fulgear's brother. Harris will be arraigned on November 8th. His brother says he had nothing to do with Harris' alleged theft of the statuettes, and the police say - nothing.

Less Puzzling Endings Division
Last April we reported that one of only three existing four-rotor "Enigma" machines, used to help the Allies defeat the Nazis in World War II by decoding their messages, had been stolen from the Bletchley Park Museum in England. The BBC reports that the machine has mysteriously reappeared, packed in a wooden box, on the doorstep of a BBC-TV newsman. The recipient, Jeremy Paxman, says he hasn't a clue why. The museum had been contacted by a man calling himself "The Master" (tee hee), who said he was representing a third party who had unwittingly purchased the machine in good faith without knowing it was stolen, and who demanded a ransom of $37,500 for the machine. He said if the demands were not met, the machine would be destroyed. The Museum, aided by a "generous donor", came up with the money, and waited. And then one day, there it was, sent Special Delivery, from Birmingham. Maybe "unwittingly" is the wrong term for the mysterious buyer. "Half-wittedly" would be better, if he believed he was buying a World War II spy machine that wasn't stolen. Somehow the honesty of a person who demands a hefty ransom for the return of something he bought "in good faith" is a teensy bit questionable, don't you think? The Master, indeed.

Stupid Collector Tricks Division
Now that sports fans are no longer pursuing OJ Simpson for his autograph, it seems that collectors are. According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Simpson has been earning a nice living attending autograph signings and memorabilia sales. One wonders what sort of memorabilia. Knives? Gloves? His agent says he's earning far less than the $3 million a year an expert witness at his second trial said he could make by trading on his name. Simpson also says he has paid not one cent of the money in the judgment against him. "The only money they've gotten", he says, "has been from the things they've been able to auction". We covered that story too. They didn't make much.

You know, Accumulators, I could go on and on about stuff. I mean, the French Foreign Legion has just begun to admit women (like they'd want to apply!), in imitation of the Spanish Legion, known as The Bridegrooms of Death (ditto!). And International airlines have begun threatening Nepal that they will no longer schedule flights into the country if they don't do something about all the vultures crashing into the planes. And the Dutch government wants to send the remains of Kaiser Wilhelm II back to Germany, but the German government has just told the Dutch to keep him, we don't want him. But, it's so lovely outside, and it would be a shame to stay here and dish the dirt, much as I love typing to you. So, I'm off! Artie and I will be attending the gala party celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my Aunt and Uncle, Roslyn and Aaron Miller, this evening. A wonderful occasion, as long as my cousins don't start a food fight in the restaurant (all those years of sitting together at the children's table have taken their mental toll).

So, stop reading this and get out there! Hit those garage sales and start haggling. Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!


2000 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #131
U.S. Library of Congress
ISSN 1520-4464


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2000 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.