July 16, 1999
We are bracing ourselves here in New York City for the next heatwave. We're almost out of practice for this, since last summer the temperature never rose above 90 degrees even once! However, we are a tough lot. Witness Dr. Ruth Westheimer, 74, who spent the blackout during the last heatwave answering phones, handing out glasses of water, and leading seniors on excursions away from the heat and dark. What a woman!
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF RIDICULOUS OBSESSION
On October 13, an auction, via telephone and Internet will serve as a landmark event in the annals of hero worship gone over the line. Michael Barnes, a self-styled memorabilia "mogul" and president of Collectors Universe One-Of-A-Kind Auctions will sell the entire basketball court on which Michael Jordon played his last game. It will be sold in several lots. That means you can bid on a floorboard or one of the baskets through which Jordon made that last shot that won the 1998 NBA championship for the Chicago Bulls. Barnes, who also brokered the three million dollar sale of Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball, says that the basket through which the winning shot was made, the spot in which Jordan stood to make it, center court and the baseline section with "Utah Jazz" on it will be sold as separate lots. He also says it will be "one of the most expensive pieces of sports memorabilia ever sold". All fools wishing to be parted from their money, please line up to the right.
MORE HIGH-PRICED HERO WORSHIP DEPARTMENT
It was reported here earlier that several of Eric Clapton's guitars were going on the auction block at Christie's. That auction took place on June 24 at Christie's luxe new home in Rockefeller Center, with more than 1,000 people in attendance. The top lot, the Stratocaster guitar on which Glapton composed "Layla", sold for $497,500, a record for a Stratocaster. The guitar, nicknamed "Brownie", came with original case, on which was stenciled "Derek And The Dominos", the pseudonymous name under which Clapton and cohorts released the recording of the song. You may remember that the subject of the song was one of rockdom's most notorious love triangles. Clapton wrote it for Patti Harrison, then the wife of Beatle George Harrison. How could she withstand such a triple platimum tribute? She later married Clapton.
A guitar given to Clapton by legendary guitarest Les Paul, and inscribed,
"To Eric my man! '96 Les Paul", sold for $46,000. And actor Michael J. Fox
purchased two guitars: a 1940s Gibson seen in the video of "Motherless
Child", for $36,000; and a 1930s National Doolian dobro for $42,500. So,
what's the difference between this auction and the one above? The
$5,072,350 (yes, that's five million) in proceeds from the Clapton auction
will all go to the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a non-profit facility for
the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction established by Clapton.
GRAVE ROBBERS BEWARE - AND DEALERS TOO!
There's been a lot of news lately about rings of thieves who rob graves and cemeteries and then re-sell the valuable artifacts to collectors. The superintendent of a cemetery in the Buffalo, NY area warns thieves that they will have to answer to a higher authority someday, and that their behavior in this world will not be looked upon favorably in the next. New York State lawmakers, seeking to make it painful in this world as well, want to make it a requirement that secondhand dealers require I.D. of buyers and sellers. This has the potential to drastically change the face of the antiques and collectibles business, so stay tuned.
Don't Toy With Us: It was reported last week that an organization billing itself as "The Antique Toy Roadshow" was travelling the country holding "appraisal clinics" and buying toys at sharply deflated prices. This week, the antiques trade press report that WGBH, producers of "The Antiques Roadshow" have filed suit against the ITCA (International Toy Collectors Association) for trademark infringement.
More On The Cows: Cow tipping has from the countryside into the city. Chicago police confirm that five of the fiberglass bovines located throughout the city were tipped over last Thursday night. One, a bronze-colored "piggy" bank, also suffered sawed-off horns. No suspects have been "rounded up" yet, although authorities are hoping witnesses will come forward and "steer" them in the right direction.
Roberto's Cereal: Although he's been gone for 27 years, Roberto Clemente's
memory lives on. The Hall of Famer has just had a cereal named after him.
It's called Roberto Clemente's Commemorative Slugger Cereal". Hey, I
didn't pick the name - I just report these things. The box features his
likeness and signature. Part fo the proceeds will go to a foundation
established by Clemente's son in his father's name. Right now the cereal
is only availbale in Pittsburgh. Oh, it's frosted flakes.
Artie and I are hitting the road in about a half hour. We're picking up
the lovely Mallory at camp, for a combination Visiting Day - Birthday
celebration. She's officially a teenager on Monday! Have a great week,
Accumulators. Happy hunting!
© 1999 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #92
U.S. Library of Congress
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