Newsletter #217

May 22, 2003

Greetings Accumulators!

This is the first newsletter being sent via Yahoo Groups. I hope this will mean a great reduction in spam for all of us. If you're like me you probably appreciate all those generous offers to enlarge your penis, but you think it must be some really pervasive, no, nearly universal, problem in our society, judging by the sheer volume of email on the topic, and maybe we should all just keep what we have.

The weather in New York City may be described as unrelievedly gray. I live on the top floor of a high rise apartment building. This affords me plenty of opportunity to discuss the weather at length with my neighbors on the way up or down in the elevator. The general consensus is that the sun has moved away from the earth and that we will never, ever see it again. We are in perpetual twilight here, and there is a constant drizzle, as if the sky has a sinus problem. I empathize with all those Accumulators residing in London.

There seems to be an interesting trend afoot. Almost everyone in the collecting world has heard of a seller naming his price, selling his item, and then, should his buyer re-sell at an enormous profit, showing up with his hand out for a piece of the action. Such is the story of the rare Islamic pen case recently auctioned at Sotheby's in London. Antiques dealer Stephen Birbeck bought the 13th century jewel-encrusted Persian case in parts unknown, paying the equivalent of about $3,300 for it. He then sold it to a company for $49,000. Tidy profit, don't you think? Well, the company then put the case up for sale at Sotheby's where agents for The Sultan of Brunei and The Amir of Qatar battled to buy it. The hammer price was more than $1,839,000. The London Mirror reports that Birbeck "is hoping to get some compensation from the company which bought the case from him." Compensation for what? Did Birbeck do something to earn further compensation? Is this not a free market? Were the executives of the company not smarter than Birbeck and therefore deserving of their enormous profit? No comment from the company in question, so far.

Germany has gone gaga over a new ad campaign featuring supermodel (what is that, anyway?) Heidi Klum in a bathing suit. What there is of the bathing suit, of course. Fashion chain H&M's new swimwear poster campaign starring the German supermodel has really taken off. But the posters are being stolen as fast as the ad agency can put them up, with persons unknown smashing the glass cases containing the posters to get at them. And not everyone is smashing those cases because they're collecting posters of Heidi. Feminists, angry because they feel the posters exploit women, are vandalising them. Some of the posters have already begun showing up on eBay. The ad agency, JC Decaux, has offered to give fans free posters if they'll only stop stealing the ones on display. That'll depress the price on eBay!

I suppose it was bound to happen. We've seen a talking action figure of Dubya, complete with malapropisms. We've seen a talking Iraqi Minister of Information doll, who has a repertoire that includes, "There are no American soldiers in Baghdad." Now at last, the most exciting figure of all: a bobble head figure of Chief Justice of The Supreme Court William H. Rehnquist. Women all over the collecting world will be swooning, collectors will be beating down the doors of stores to get one. The ceramic figurine supposedly really looks like Rehnquist, and features little known details about his work on the bench. Rehnquist is depicted standing atop a color map that was a central feature of a 1979 case he wrote involving 19th-century railroad easements. He is holding an accurate rendition of the bound volumes of Supreme Court opinions. Wowee, kids, that's pretty exciting stuff! Doncha just have to have one? Well, forget it. For now there are just two prototype dolls, one belonging to the creator and one he gave Rehnquist. A limited run of 1,000 dolls is in the works. The doll was created by the editors at a small legal journal who intend it as an admittedly odd homage to the 78-year-old Rehnquist, who may possibly retire from the bench next year. Fortunately, the Chief Justice has a sense of humor.

Accumulators, this is a holiday weekend in the USA. He Who Is The Light Of My Life and I are hoping to have some folks up at the country house this weekend, if the rain will please just stop for one day. To all American Accumulators, I wish you a wonderful holiday, with maybe even a little sunshine. If you're celebrating, please have your last alcoholic drink at least an hour before you leave the party, or designate a driver. And when you're on the road, watch out for the other guy. Maybe nobody loved him enough to take away his keys. Hope you get to visit some yard and garage sales, too, and some flea markets and antiques shows, and don't forget to stop by your local antiques shop or mall. Happy hunting!
Best, Judith

2003 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #217
U.S. Library of Congress
ISSN 1520-4464


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1996-2003 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.