January 15, 1999
Pulleeze! Let's not even discuss the weather in New York City today. Suffice it to say, I'm indoors here with you. That's all you have to know.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF NO THANKS, DR. LATTIMER, I REALLY DON'T WANT YOU TO
SHOW ME WHAT'S IN YOUR POCKET!
As we collectors all know, some of us are attracted to some pretty strange objects. Dr. John Lattimer, an 84-year-old urologist, collects historical objects - with a difference. He believes that "if you're going to be a collector" you should "collect things that can fit in your pocket." Amongst Dr. Lattimer's pocket-sized objects are the dog license that belonged to Hitler's Alsatian. According to Lattimer, Hitler had the dog with him in the bunker when he committed suicide and that he "tested out the cyanide on the dog first". Now, before you PETA people jump all over me, remember I just report this stuff. If you want to fight with someone, why not go after the Glade Plug-Ins people? In one of their current commercials there's a fish on a counter admonishing the lady of the house to change the Glade Plug-Ins refill. Has anyone besides me noticed that the fish they're using is an actual DEAD FISH?? OH, YUCK SUPREME!!!!
But, I digress. Besides this memento of Hitler's final innocent victim, Dr. Lattimer also has things like Abraham Lincoln's bloodstained collar, Lee Harvey Oswald's letters from Russia and the monogrammed underwear of Hitler's most notorious aide, Hermann Goring, taken from the body after Goring committed suicide just before he was due to be executed after the Nuremberg Trials. Latimer was selected to care for the Nazi prisoners, so he was close at hand at the time. But, his most notorious item is what he claims to be Napolean's - um - "manhood", reportedly removed from the emperor's body by two Corsican surgeons he had supposedly tormented during his last days in exile. Many experts dispute the authenticity of this object, which is, unfortunately, indeed pocket-sized, although Latimer claims to have ample provenance documentation. Dr. Philip Corso, an expert on Napolean says, "Dr. Latimer is a nice old gentleman, but I have been offered two Napolean penises over the years".
Frankly, Accumulators, just one would have been more than enough to propel
me toward the door!
EBAY COMES THROUGH DEPARTMENT
As complaints and discussion about online fraud in the collecting market run rampant, one of the mainstays of that market has stepped up to the plate with a plan to protect us all. Ebay will annouce next week its plans to put several consumer and dealer protective devices in place, including fraud insurance for both seller and buyer. And it's free!
This is a bold and pioneering move, since Internet commerce is still in its
infancy and we're all learning as we go. To read more about eBay's plans, follow this link to an article about them
from the San Jose Mercury News:
TALE OF AN ECCENTRIC - I MEAN REALLY ECCENTRIC - MILLIONAIRE
Peter Putnam was the scion of an important and wealthy Cleveland, OH family. He became a physicist and college lecturer. He also spent some time formulating a complicated theory based on religion, morality and science (what an interesting combination!). While all this was going on, he had this seven million dollar inheritance to deal with, so he invested it, and it became a forty million dollar inheritance. So, was he living in the lap of luxury while doing his serious thinking? Actually, not. He was killed in an accident at the age of sixty-two, when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle. He was riding the bike home from his job as a night janitor. And now, a painting he bought while traveling through Europe at the age of 20 is expected to fetch 1.5 million dollars at auction at Sotheby's in New York City on January 27th. It's a copy of a painting by Peter Brueghel The Elder, done by his son Peter Brueghel The Younger (apparently, they didn't have "juniors" in those days) painted in the sixteenth century. The painting, named "The Triumph of Death", depicts Judgement Day, with hordes of skeletons mutilating and murdering people. The reason this particular copy is deemed so valuable (although I can't imagine having it on my living room wall), is that, while other copies of this painting done by Brueghel The Younger exist (guess he just admired Old Dad), this is the only one in existence that is signed and dated.
If you need more information about the sale, Sotheby's is located at York Avenue and 72nd Street in New York City, and the URL for their website is: http://www.sothebys.com.
Off to who-knows-where this weekend. Maybe we'll hit some of our famous
New York City fleamarkets. Have a great week, Accumulators!
© 1999 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #69
U.S. Library of Congress
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