May 4, 2001
It's been a hot, hot, hot week in New York City, both from a weather standpoint and from a collecting standpoint. Doyle's held its much-ballyhooed couture and costume jewelry auction, and the Jacqueline Kennedy exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute is in full swing. Both events drew substantial crowds, heat or no heat. And at Doyle's, some pieces in questionable condition drew prices that were up there.
Here are some news briefs of earth-shattering importance: Alex Trebeq shaved off his mustache. Tina won the $1,000,000 on "Survivor". J.Lo has her own line of duds, most of which seem to be missing some of their parts. And Miss France is an actual woman. Thank goodness THAT has been cleared up!
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE CONTINUING SAGA OF MADONNA'S UNDERWEAR
Okay, I'm tired of hearing about Madonna's underwear, too, so this is the last time I'm writing about it. This story comes to us from London, where Madonna's cone-shaped bra from her 1990 "Blonde Ambition" tour (remember when she was a blonde?) brought $21,150 at Christie's. The owner of the bra, someone who won it from a British radio station, was happy to pocket the money and turn the item over to the Museum of Fashion and Textiles of Santiago Chile. A Christie's spokesperson said they'd only expected the bra, a black and fuschia garment, to earn $4,500. Don't get me started on auction houses who publish estimates far below market values.
MORE HIJINX FROM THOSE HILARIOUS FOLKS AT CHRISTIE'S AND SOTHEBY'S DEPARTMENT
Just like you, I thought we'd heard the end of the story when Diana Brooks, former president of Sotheby's, went to jail for price-fixing, and Sotheby's and Christie's both paid hefty fines. Chsitie's had been "flipped" by the prosecutors, which meant they'd handed up evidence that they and Sotheby's had colluded to fix commissions on items they sold. It looked as if "De De" was taking the rap for the whole affair, and that the chairmen of Sotheby's and Christie's were going to take a walk on this. Nothing doing. This week, a grand jury in Manhattan handed down indictments on federal anti-trust charges against Alfred Taubman, former Chairman of Sotheby's, and Sir Anthony Tennant, former Chairman of Christie's, according to a story by The New York Times. Mr. Taubman issued a statement denying the charges, and adding that "whatever Dede Brooks chose to do, she did on her own and without my authorization." Ms. Brooks has apparently been singing like a bird in a not-so-gilded cage. Sir Anthony's people issued a statement also denying any involvement, and emphasizing that the antitrust laws in the UK are markedly different than they are in the US. He pretty much said, "Take your indictment and put it where the sun don't shine." But not in those words.
JAZZED UP JOE
In honor of his 37th birthday, G.I. Joe is getting a makeover by Hasbro, Inc. He'll be getting new scuba gear and new climbing gear, and a new ad campaign, his first in six years. Which is good news for those of us who have been trying to fix him up with Barbie for years. One of our Alert Accumulators has informed me that I'm all wrong about Ken. He's not a commitment-phobic; he's just gay. I don't know how I could have been so blind all these years! At any rate, with Joe in the news and having updated all his sports gear, how can Barbie resist? For collectors, it may mean you'll have to go out and buy all new accessories, but it also means your old things will be worth more.
In a related, and much more hilarious story, Hasbro has reportedly hired a cartoonist with an eye toward launching a comic strip starring Mr.Potato Head. I think you'll all agree that, at 48, Head is very brave to embark on a new career. There are intimations that a movie or TV show may follow (he was, after all, wonderful in the "Toy Story" films). Good luck, Po!
So, Accumulators, it's off to visit with the family (they're still speaking to me now, before my book comes out in late August), and then up to the country. Tomorrow night we'll be attending the Super Auction at The Old Red Barn in Cuddebackville, NY. Vince Bambina, auctioneer extraordinaire will be calling the sale, while the lovely Linda runs the show like clockwork. If you're stopping by, bring money! Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!
© 2001 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #148
U.S. Library of Congress
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