December 14, 2003
ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES NEWSLETTER #236
The television networks have been alternating the relentless screening of
Saddam Hussein being examined for cooties with coverage of our weekly
weekend blizzard here in New York City. I'm assuming you're as bored as I
am, which is probably why you are reading your email now. He Who Is The
Light Of My Life has actually ventured out and will no doubt be puddling up
the floors in an hour or so.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF PERHAPS THE ELKS SHOULD CONSIDER THIS FOR THEIR NEXT
An 18th century drinking cup recently sold at auction in Edinburgh, Scotland for approximately $4,700. The cup was formerly the property of a club called Beggar's Bennison. It was a three-handled cup called a "quaich" taken from the club in the fishing village of Anstruther in Fife. What makes the cup interesting - to someone, anyway - is that the club was a sex club. Its members performed public sex acts and used their spare time to watch local girls dance naked. And the cup was used for "communal heavy drinking", according to the BBC. The BBC also says, "King George IV and several aristocrats were said to have joined the club." Founded in 1732, the obviously very classy club was the idea of one John McNachtane, a man who made his living as a crooked Customs officer. Membership included several dukes and earls, as well as local merhcants and church elders. There are apparently many relics of the club in existence, such as punch bowls and glasses, which are adorned with phalluses and the inscription, "May prick nor purse never fail." Another well-known story says that some club memorabilia was once offered to a museum, but that they were so graphic that the curator fainted. The BBC also says, "Only in the last few years has the full nature of the club - which had regular meetings for almost a century - been understood." Apparently there are not very many Mensa members in Scotland. Perhaps they thought the penises on every single artifact indicated that the club was a gathering of urologists.
I'M GLAD THEY'RE NOT CHECKING MY CLOSETS DEPARTMENT
This story is from Alert Accumulators, The Fabulous Dunnes, DeeDee and Petey. It comes from The Los Angeles Times. Lloyd Drum, a real-life accumulator, was living the nightmare we all secretly dread. He had accumulated so much junk, he was sleeping on his porch, having given over the house to all sorts of refuse, like old tires and TV sets. And Drum, 75, was on his way to jail if he didn't clean up the rat and insect infested mess. He had joined Clutterers Anonymous and had actually stopped hoarding things, but didn't know how to get rid of the stuff he already had. Enter Dorothy Breininger, a professional organizer, appointed by the judge in Drum's case to help him clean up the mess. Her goal was to get rid of themice and rats, clear everything out of the house, sort it, clean and replace what was to stay in neat boxes, and dispose of the rest. After six weeks and $10,000 of her own money spent, Breininger and her crew have managed to uncover a Steinway grand piano in the living room, several pieces of antique furniture, and thousands of bicycle and bicycle parts. The judge is so pleased with the progress, she has granted Drum a three-month extension to finish clearing up all the violations. Hoarding is a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder and Drum, who was valedictorian of his high school graduating class in White Plains in 1946, continues to attend meetings, and continues to sleep on his porch, because the dust inside bothers him. The lesson here is that this can happen to any of us. So, use it or sell it or donate it or throw it out. This is addressed to me as much as to you. Yeah, you!
SITES TO SEE
New York Signs: Here's another one of those outdoor in New York City sites. This one pictures signs from the streets of New York, from 14th to 42nd Streets. That's more than 30,000 signs, some of them no longer in existence. Quite an interesting site.LINK
Corrosion of Historical Landmarks: We've all heard about how the Leaning Tower of Pisa was sinking. This site travels the world to assess and educate us about the corrosion of various landmarks, whether by nature or men, and details steps taken to reverse the damage. Included are The Eiffel Tower, The Colossus of Rhodes, The Statue of Liberty, The Great Buddha and many others. Worth a look. LINK.
Yesterday's Office - Who knew, when you first went to work, that the equipment in your office would one day be considered an antique? Technology has carried us so far from typewriters, slide rules and old fashioned calculators, that these things are relics. Here, a site devoted to these obsolete tools. Great links to other office collectibles sites. LINK.
No point in telling you what we're doing this weekend. It's Sunday evening
already. It is no longer snowing here. It is now raining, sleeting, hailing
- whatever that is that's hitting the window, it isn't sunshine. I hope
it's nicer where you are. Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!
© 2003 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #236
U.S. Library of Congress
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