December 29, 1998
Busy, busy, busy! But you all know what I mean.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF MAYBE HE THOUGHT THEY WERE GIFTS...
...or maybe he couldn't grasp the concept that buying and selling requires
the exchange of money. We don't know what James J. Holmes of James J.
Holmes Fine Art Inc. was thinking, because his lawyer says he has no
comment. What we do know is that he's been indicted to the tune of 11
counts, charging that he agreed to sell various works of art on a
commission basis, and then simply pocketed the money from the sales. One of
the works was a charcoal sketch by Picasso, for which he was paid a
commission of $27,500. However, when the owner inquired about the Picasso,
Holmes said the sale was still in progress, although he had sold the
drawing to a third party at a reduced price, and had kept the proceeds.
Apparently, he did the same thing to at least ten other consignors. If
convicted, Holmes will be going away for a long time, to a place where the
only artwork he'll see is the kind you hang on the front bumper of your car.
VERY UNCOMFORTABLE DENTURES DEPARTMENT
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the death of George Washington, a
traveling exhibit of artifacts from his Mt. Vernon, VA home will visit, for
the first time ever, museums around the U.S. Now at the New York
Historical Society in New York City through February 22, 1999, the
exhibition will travel to The Huntington Library Art Collection in San
Marino, CA (March 16 - June 6, 1999); The Virginia Historical Society in
Richmond (July 1 - September 19, 1999); The Atlanta History Center in
Atlanta (October 14, 1999 - January 6, 2000) and The Chicago Historical
Society (January 28 - April 23, 2000). "Treasures From Mt. Vernon: George
Washington Revealed" (apparently, the era of short and succinct titles for
this sort of exhibit is over) combines period artifacts from Mount Vernon,
along with objects from other insitutions, and includes a scale model of
Mt. Vernon, Washington's clothing, portaits for which he sat, swords,
personal letters and - yes! - his false teeth. Which are not made of wood,
but of a combination of human teeth and those modeled from cow teeth and
elephant ivory. And they do not look either attractive or comfortable.
Apparently, they were very painful. Washington is said to have commented
that he felt he was unfortunate enough to lose all his teeth because he had
used them to crack walnuts in his youth. His youthful lack of brilliance
aside, since this all took place before the development of Listerine I
imagine it wasn't much fun to get really close to old George, either.
Raplh and Terry Kovel report that traditional American Indian folk dolls are in the collecting spotlight. But, I think you should exercise caution when buying these. Many Native American tribes are moving to reclaim objects belonging to their people, and there are several examples of items being pulled from recent auctions because they are wanted by Native American museums.
Also hot: motorcycle memorabilia, TV character paper dolls, phrenology
heads, circus memorabilia.
Time to hit the road, Accumulators. Still have some baking/shopping/mailing to do. I was also fortunate enough to attend the auction of props from my beloved "Personal FX, The Collectibles Show". I managed to win a few lots, and will be putting most of the items up for sale on eBay within the next couple of weeks. That way I know they'll end up in the hands of fans - the people who deserve them most. I wish each and every one of you and your families a joyous holiday. May all your dreams come true. Happy hunting!
© 1998 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #66
U.S. Library of Congress
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