May 21, 1999
It's the start of another glorious spring weekend. Be sure to leave the computer and spend some time outdoors (this is partly a note to you, and partly one to myself).
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF FRANTIC BACK-PEDALING
When slain civil rights leader Malcolm X's address book surfaced at a West Coast Auction, X's family were incensed. The auction house in question, Butterfield and Butterfield (recently purchased by eBay. The phrase "owning the world" comes to mind), announced that the address book, complete with bullet holes and blood stains, was consigned by an individual with ironclad provenance, and that the auction would proceed. Enter the New York City Police Department. It seems the book was part of the evidence in the murer case, and had been put into an envelope and deposited in the NYPD's evidence room. As of today, the envelope is still in the room, but it is empty. Hmmmm. The Los Angeles Times now reports that the book will be withdrawn from the May 27th sale "if there's compelling evidence that it was stolen". Duh. Having already wrung every drop of publicity out of this wretched artifact, the only moral thing for B&B to do is withdraw the book now, before they really look not just stupid, but immoral as well. The family of Malcom X has engaged an attorney to file an injunction to stop the sale if the auction house doesn't have the sense to do the right thing.
THIS IS AN INDIVIDUAL WHO HAD BETTER ARRANGE TO HAVE HIMSELF CREMATED
The robbing of graveyard artifacts has been in the news quite a bit lately, and a large theft ring concentrated in the South has been uncovered. I suppose these thieves reason that it's easy to burgle cemeteries because the residents can't call 911. Enter the North's answer to Dixie's miscreants. An individual considered one of the world's leading experts on stained glass was just indicted in New York for operating a theft ring that stole stained glass windows from graves and mausoleums. Alastair Duncan, a well-known author and art dealer, has been accused of hiring grave robbers to "acquire" these items from New York metropolitan area cemeteries on his behalf. The windows were then allegedly sold out of the U.S. The kicker is that authorities believe Mr. Duncan took orders for the windows from his foreign clients, and then hired the thieves to fill them. So efficient. And the price for these lovelies? Hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece.
HOW TO KEEP THE INMATES FROM RUNNING THE ASYLUM
MacDonald's is about to begin tucking miniature Furbys into kid's meals. Since there will be 80 different versions, Mac, in anticipation of insane collectors trying to get the ones they don't already have, will have them packaged in opaque wrappers, so no one can see what's inside until the wrapper is opened. Speculators who flock to Mickey D's to get the whole collection in order to attempt to turn a profit are truly insane. Up to 100 million will be made, ensuring that rarity will not enter into the picture.
From Ralph and Terry Kovel:
ROLLING PINS, especially colored glass ones
OLD EYEGLASS FRAMES - Designers are reissuing ones made before 1980, but the originals can be had for a song at fleamarkets.
Time to hit the fresh air, Accumulators. Artie and I are headed up to the
country house for the weekend. Garage sales and fleamarkets up there
haven't hit their stride yet this year, and we've yet to make any great
finds. But then, there's always the next one.... Have a great week,
Accumulators. Happy hunting!
© 1999 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #84
U.S. Library of Congress
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