Newsletter #223

August 1, 2003

Greetings Accumulators!

Yes, yes, I know this is supposed to be a weekly newsletter, but you longtime subscribers know that we travel a lot in the summertime, and sometimes I just can't fit the newsletter in among all the public speaking, appraisal days, and antiques shows we do. In fact, Artie and I are off to Essex, New York in an hour or so, to participate in their town-wide celebration so, since I can hear him snoring in the background, I have a few moments to type to you on this rainy morning in New York City.

Now, I'm not saying that our friends across the pond have a lock on weirdness. We have plenty of that here in the good old USA. But, they're just so creatively weird in England. Mr. Potter's Museum of Curiosities in Bolventor, a hundred-year-old shop of horrors, has gone out of business, and is about to sell off its inventory at auction on September 23 and 24. The museum consists of dead things. 10,000 or so various stuffed animals, from rhinoceri to squirrels, are displayed in the museum, some under circumstances that could keep some peopl up at night just thinking about them. Take, for example, The Bunny School, a tableau of stuffed rabbits in a schoolroom. How about the Kitten Wedding? There are also animal oddities (as if the rest of it is not in the least odd, right?) such as a two-headed lamb and a four-legged duck. Hmmm. I guess a four-legged duck runs around in rectangles. But, I digress. There are also (in a magnificent parody of all those paintings of dogs playing cards) rats in a gambling den, a mummified hand, and a hen that laid 462 eggs in one year. So, if your decor seems less than complete, perhaps what is missing is a lovely display of dead kittens in bridal gowns and veils, and you should contact Bonhams immediately. I did visit their web site at and, astonishingly, the sale is not listed on their schedule, so you'll have to ask for The Atrocities Department.

There seems to be a fun tradition in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. Well, fun for some people, anyway. The tradition involves stealing statues, mostly those associated with one business or another, and then returning them, not always to the same place from whence they came. The latest in this long line of felonies took place recently outside Spaghetti Eddies restaurant in West Dennis, Massachusetts, where the fiberglas statue of a chef named "Fat Boy" was taken the other night. Or at least most of Fat Boy was taken. The thieves left his feet and a sign behind, choosing to abduct just the amount of Fat Boy they could acquire by running at the statue and tackling it to the ground. The real chef of the restaurant, one Robert Swanson, says his staff searched the garbage and the nearby woods for the $1,500 7-foot tall statue, but with no success. They are assuming, and rightly so, I think, that their case will not be a high priority for the local police. The local police apparently have their hands full, and a certain amount of experience in dealing with these statue thefts. In the past few years they've had to investigate the abduction of a six-foot banana (taken from a fruit stand), a deer and a dalmation. The deer and dalmation were both stolen by the same group of individuals who simply replaced each with the other. People have tried to steal a statue of a growling bear from outside the ZooQuarium in West Yarmouth, but all efforts have failed, including one attempt where the gang, using chains and a truck, lost their bumper. This is because the bear, whose name is Martin (just thought you should know that), is made of concrete and his base is sunken four feet into the ground. Police Capt. William Monahan said he thinks it may only be a matter of time before Fat Boy reappears. "It's sorta hard to hide a 7-foot footless chef from view," he said. Not like a six foot banana, is it, Captain?

If you collect old photos, or if you just like looking at them, visit Time Tales, a site that displays old photographs found at flea markets, thrift shops, the street, wherever. The collection is divided by time periods, the oldest being pre-1930, and some of the photographs are quite fascinating.
Visit the site at LINK.

Dear Accumulators, it is now 8AM, and the sun has come out, however temporarily. He Who Is The Light Of My Life has awakened and had his coffee. So, we are off. Have yourselves a great week, Accumulators. Hope you find that one item that completes your collection, and that one item that gets you started on the next one. Have fun. Happy hunting!

2003 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #223
U.S. Library of Congress
ISSN 1520-4464


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