Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas Greetings - two auction films to bring a smile

Fools and Horses: Auction Scene.
To many fans of ‘Only Fools and Horses’, the final auction house scene was the best ever. Here it is again on You Tube:

For really black humour have a look at the following short video on You Tube:

Called ‘Everything is for sale. It's just a matter of price’ it shows firefighters auctioning off the only available landing net to people trapped in a burning building.

Wishing all my readers a safe, happy and peaceful festive season.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Lee Harvey Oswald's coffin sells for $87,000


LOS ANGELES — The coffin in which Lee Harvey Oswald, the man charged with shooting president John F. Kennedy, was buried went under the hammer for over 87,000 dollars, the auction house which organized the sale said.

The pine coffin is partially water-damaged by the 18 years it spent in the ground before Oswald's body was exhumed in 1981 to lay to rest rumors that a lookalike Soviet agent was buried in his place.

The body -- confirmed as genuinely his -- was reburied in another casket, and the original was offered for sale for the first time Friday, by the Nate D Sanders auction house in Los Angeles.

A spokeswoman declined to reveal the identity of the purchaser who paid 87,468 dollars for the casket.

According to the Dallas News, the coffin was sold by Allen Baumgardner, a Fort Worth funeral home manager who had kept it after being present when Oswald's body was exhumed.

Oswald, charged with killing Kennedy on November 22, 1963, was himself shot two days later and buried on November 25, fueling conspiracy theories which still rage to this day.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

'Candle Auction' takes place in Berkshire.

An age-old tradition of a candle auction has been held at a Berkshire village.

The ceremony, which is held every three years, sees people bidding to lease a local meadow while a candle containing a horse-nail burns.

The person with the bid when the nail drops out of the specially-made tallow candle is declared the winner.

The event, which originates from the early 1800s, was being held at Aldermaston Parish Hall from 1930 GMT.

'Frantic bidding'

The local vicar was the auctioneer for the night and church wardens, in-keeping with tradition, were given pipes, although they were not be allowed to light them.

Councillor Dave Shirt, Aldermaston Parish Council chairman, said: "[Bids are] initially at a leisurely pace, and tension increases as the flame approaches the nail and the wax around it begins to soften.

"At this stage the bidding becomes frantic, and the bid that is live at the time the nail falls out wins the auction.

"Candle auctions have a long history.

"It was traditional to hold ship auctions at Lloyds Coffee House at Tower Hill in London and Samuel Pepys describes the sale of three hulks in his diary entry for 3rd September 1661."

The piece of land up for grabs this year is called Church Acre in Fishermen's Lane.

Organisers believe Chedzoy in Somerset is the only other village in the country which still holds the tradition, although only once every 21 years.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Shakespeare's First Folio sells at £1.5M

Also at the Sotheby auction:
Lord Hesketh's collection also included a rare copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, which Sotheby's said was "the most important book in all of English Literature".

Of the 750 that were probably printed, only 219 are known to exist today.

The copy, which dates back to 1623 and has three pages missing, sold for £1.5 million.
It is one of only three textually complete copies to exist in private hands in a comparably early binding.

In the Green Room we have a copy for £85 - it's the Norton Facscimile, but in better condition than the Sotheby copy:-)

World's most expensive book sells for £7.3m, Tuesday 7 December 2010 21.56 GMT
John James Audubon's Birds of America at Sotheby's in London before its sale for a world record £7.3m. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
A copy of John James Audubon's Birds of America tonight became the most expensive book ever sold when it went under the hammer at Sotheby's for £7.3m. The auction was a rare chance to own one of the best preserved editions of the 19th century masterpiece, with its 435 hand-coloured illustrations, seen as a key volume on US natural history.
It was sold to an anonymous collector bidding by telephone, the auction house said. Each individual picture is so valuable there have been some fears the volume could be broken up and sold as 435 separate works of art. Experts believe that unlikely: the tome is probably more valuable intact.
And collectors hold Audobon in such reverence that the notion of ripping apart a perfect copy would be akin to sacrilege.
"Audubon's Birds holds a special place in the rare book market for several reasons," said Heather O'Donnell, a specialist with Bauman Rare Books in New York. "The book is a major original contribution to the study of natural history in the New World.
"It's also one of the most visually stunning books in the history of print: The scale of the images, the originality of each composition, the brilliance of the hand coloring."
The Birds of America plates were printed in black and white and hand-coloured afterwards, and made from engravings of Audubon's watercolours. The book measures more than 3 ft by 2 ft (90 cm by 60cm) because he wanted to paint the birds life size.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Queen's knickers for auction.

A pair of underpants once supposedly owned by The Queen are to be sold at auction.
Hanson’s Auctioneers are selling the yellowed knickers on behalf of the estate of a notorious American playboy who was dubbed ‘Miami’s Hugh Hefner’.
He was given them by a friend after the Queen is said to have left them on a private plane during a visit to Chile in 1968.
Following the death in June of ‘Baron’ Joseph de Bicske Dobronyi, or Sepy as he was known, his family found the knickers among his belongings and are now auctioning them off.
They hope to get the same price as a pair of Queen Victoria’s giant bloomers, which went for £4,500 during a 2008 auction, also carried out by the Derbyshire-based auctioneers.
The latest pair of Royal pants are cream coloured with a slightly darker pattern on the bottom lining of both legs.
They have an ‘E’ stitched into the side, more than likely a reference to Elizabeth, but a departure from the ‘ER’ which is used on official insignia.
At mid-thigh length, they are also far more conservative than women’s underwear of today.
It is not entirely clear if the underwear were indeed worn by HRH, although she and Prince Philip did indeed make an official visit to Chile and Brazil in 1968 where they went to a football match in Rio and were cheered by crowds in Santiago.
The auction of Queen Victoria’s bloomers attracted interest from around the world and the garments were eventually sold to an anonymous Canadian.
The 50-inch waist knickers, which dated from the 1890s, had been expected to fetch just £500 but went for £4,500.
Auctioneer Charles Hanson said he could not say for certain if the underwear does belong to the Queen.

Read more:

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Oswald's coffin coming up for auction.

The original coffin of Lee Harvey Oswald -- the man who assassinated President John F. Kennedy -- is going under the hammer this month, auctioneers said Wednesday.
Los Angeles based dealers Nate D. Sanders Auctions will start the bidding for the gruesome souvenir at $1,000. But it is expected to go for much more at auction on Dec. 16.
Oswald, who was arrested about an hour after President Kennedy was murdered in 1963, was later shot and killed by Jack Ruby before he could stand trial.
He was buried in a simple pine coffin, but his body was exhumed in 1981 after his wife won a legal battle to identify him amid theories a Russian agent was buried in his place.
The heavily water-damaged casket was replaced with a new one when Oswald was reburied at Rose Hill Cemetery in Texas.
The auction house website added that the coffin was "accompanied by a letter of authenticity by Funeral Director Allen Baumgardner, who assisted at the original embalming of Lee Harvey Oswald and later purchased the Miller Funeral Home along with all of its property."
The auction also includes a blood-stained piece of the leather seat Kennedy was sitting on when he was killed.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Bottle of scotch makes $460,000 at auction

A bottle of Macallan 64-year-old scotch, housed within a Lalique crystal decanter, far exceeded its pre-sale estimate of $100,000-with a winning bid of $460,000-at Sotheby's in New York, this week.

With all proceeds of the sale going to benefit charity: water, the one-of-a-kind bottle, made by Lalique using the cire perdue ("lost wax") method, did a multi-city charity tour before the final event in New York. Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, spoke before the auction of the idealism behind his organization and the impact that the evening's sale would have on helping to bring clean water to communities in developing countries. He then handed the microphone off to Sotheby's Head of Wine in the US and Asia, Jamie Ritchie, to perform the auctioneer duties.

A gentleman in the crowd eagerly placed the opening bid, sparking a cascading ping-pong of responses from around the room. Bidding quickly passed the $300,000 mark, with phone bidders setting the tone, outpacing most on-hand. Ritchie kept the mood light, cracking an "Only $5?!" joke when a Sotheby's rep asked if he would accept an increase of $5,000 from a potential buyer on the phone. Reminding everyone that the evening's sale would support a good cause, Ritchie broke the $400,000 barrier to a delighted response of the crowd. With everyone's mind wondering if the lot would reach the half-million mark, bidding slowed around $450,000 before finally settling on $460,000. Giving everyone one last chance, Ritchie brought the gavel down to mark the record sale to an anonymous US bidder.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Chinese vase fetches $69.3 million at UK auction

LONDON -- An 18th century Chinese porcelain vase discovered when a house was cleared out was sold Thursday at a London auction for 43 million pounds ($69.3 million).

Bainbridges, the auction house, said that the final price for the 16-inch vase - an imperially commissioned piece decorated with a fish motif - far exceeded the pre-auction estimated price, which was about 1.2 million pounds.

The final amount was thought to be among the highest ever paid for any Chinese artwork sold at auction.

After fierce competition among Chinese buyers, the vase was bought by a Chinese bidder who turned up to bid on behalf of an undisclosed buyer.

The auction house - a small, independent company in the London suburb of Ruislip that runs auctions and valuations for people clearing their homes - said the vase is of exceptional quality and that it knew the estimated price was "a bit conservative." Still, the final price was beyond all expectations.

"The rumors grew as more people came to see it ... but we had no idea it would go for this price," Helen Porter, a spokeswoman at Bainbridges.

The vase was found in "an ordinary home," Porter said. It is believed to have been acquired by an English family during the 1930s or earlier.
The Associated Press
Thursday, November 11, 2010; 5:12 PM

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The most expensive wine ever sold at auction

Three bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild 1869 became the most expensive wine ever to be sold at auction when they fetched HK $1,815,000 ($232,692) per bottle in Hong Kong on Saturday night, three times the high presale estimate of HK $65,000. All three bottles were sold by phone to a single Asian bidder whose coup was the highlight of the all-Lafite sale by Sotheby's at which every one of the 284 lots was sold. The auction brought in an extraordinary total of HK $65.5 million ($8.4 million), tripling the high estimate of HK $20 million, and confirming Asia's status as the up-and-comer of the global fine wine market. The sale also confirmed the almost hypnotic power of the Lafite name in the Chinese market, a phenomenon that nobody is quite able to explain. Serena Sutcliffe, head of Sotheby's international wine department, thinks it may be because the Chateau's name is easy to pronounce in Mandarin. Others say the craze started with the wildly popular 2006 Hong Kong gangster movie "Exiled," in which the anti-hero rejects a glass of wine, snarling that anything less than Chateau Lafite is "garbage." Supporters of this theory say that soon after the release of the movie, fake bottles of Lafite began to flood the Chinese market.
Buyers at the Sotheby's sale had no fears about provenance as the wine was consigned directly from the cellars of Château Lafite Rothschild in Pauillac and the auction at Hong Kong’s opulent Mandarin Oriental hotel was conducted under the gaze of Baron Eric de Rothschild himself, who had flown in especially for the event.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Cherie Blair selling on eBay

While Tony Blair has been earning up to £6,000 per minute as a speaker, his wife has been adding to the family fortunes by selling a watch thought to have been given to the former prime minister by his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi.
Earlier this month, Mrs Blair sold the Locman Mare Titanium timepiece on eBay, the auction website, for £98 after advertising it as "unused in its original box with guarantee".
The wristwatch, which would have cost at least £300 when new, was thought to have been one of nine given to the Blairs by the famously generous Mr Berlusconi that they decided to pay for when they left Downing Street three years ago.
Nor was the watch the only thing Mrs Blair sold in recent months. Among the more bizarre items she offered was a piece of paper signed by her husband, which fetched £10 last week.
A spokesman for Mrs Blair claimed she had not intended to profit from the autograph, saying she had advertised it to "undermine the market" in Blair signatures, because she was upset that people were selling them for up to £35. She claimed to have refunded the £10 as soon as she had sold the signature.
The spokesman said he had "no knowledge" of the sale of the watch.
Since leaving Downing Street, Mr Blair has been highly paid for speaking engagements, and as an adviser to foreign rulers and financial institutions

US car enthusiast buys Bond's Aston Martin at auction

By Reuben Easey
Agence France-Presse
First Posted 10:48:00 10/28/2010

A US car enthusiast has bought James Bond's famous Aston Martin car, complete with ejector seat and revolving number plates, at auction in London for more than $4 million.

The 1964 silver Aston Martin DB5 was driven by Sean Connery when he played the fictional British spy in the films "Goldfinger" (1964) and "Thunderball" (1965).

US collector Harry Yeaggy flew into Britain for Wednesday's sale and outbid his rivals to buy the car for 2.6 million pounds ($4.1 million, 3 million euros).

This was less than its pre-sale estimate of more than $5 million.

Yeaggy said the car's new home would be in a US museum -- but beforehand he planned to "have a bit of fun" taking the car for a spin around the streets of the British capital.

"We're going to fire the car up and drive it round the streets of London tonight. We're going to have a bit of fun with it," he told BBC television.

The US collector said he had taken a last-minute decision to fly into Britain for the auction, and confessed to being surprised that an American came out on top in the sale.

"I thought a European would buy it. But I guess they didn't appreciate Bond as much as we do," he said.

The Bond movie car was sold by its US owner, Pennsylvania broadcaster Jerry Lee, who bought it for $12,000 in 1969. The proceeds will go to his charitable foundation.

It is fitted with the full complement of operational "Q-Branch" gadgets, and auctioneers RM Auctions dubbed it the most famous car in the world.

The car is also equipped with machine guns, bullet-proof shield, tracking device, removable roof panel, oil slick sprayer and smoke screen, all controlled by "toggles and switches hidden in the centre arm-rest".

"The machine guns, as you can see, do come out of their intended place. As far as I know, they don't shoot bullets, but then again, I haven't tried," Don Rose, a car specialist for the auctioneers, told AFP.

The gear stick top flips up to reveal the red ejector seat button. It also has homing radar and a telephone mounted inside the driver's door panel.

The car has been on tour over the past five months, with appearances in Britain, Germany, Monte Carlo, New York and Hong Kong.

Admission to the sale in Battersea, south London, required the purchase of an official auction catalogue available for 50 pounds.

Purchase of the car, lot 197 in the sale, also included a stay at the GoldenEye resort in Jamaica, the original Caribbean estate of Ian Fleming, the British author who created James Bond.

A custom-made suit woven with gold thread made by the tailors who dressed Connery as Bond was also thrown in.

Monday, 20 September 2010

‘Most haunted' manor house to be auctioned

A run-down manor house that is reputed to be among the most haunted in Britain is being auctioned later this month.
Security guards refuse to patrol Wymering Manor alone
Ghostly apparitions, strange voices and sudden drops in temperature have been experienced at Wymering Manor in Portsmouth.
The Grade II* building, which has appeared on Living TV’s Most Haunted, was a 17th century vicarage and has a guide price of £375,000.
Surveyor Jeremy Lamb said: ‘It’s not often we offer a haunted house. It’s certainly a unique selling point.’

Teddy Bear expected to top £100,000 at auction

A cuddly collection of teddy bears worth £1.2million is to go under the hammer.
The 1,300 soft toys, including a ‘harlequin’ teddy valued at about £100,000, left auctioneers who visited the collectors’ house stunned.
The menagerie of bears, rabbits, cats, dogs, monkeys, elephants, lions and frogs – all made by famous German toy company Steiff – was stored in cabinets and on shelves and beds in the US home.
Daniel Agnew, of Christie’s, which is to sell the items in London, said: ‘This is by far the best toy auction there has ever been and contains toys well over 100 years old and in fine condition. ‘The vendors started collecting the toys purely out of nostalgia but they became very serious and dedicated.’
Among the lots are a 1910 hot water bottle bear worth more than £30,000, and Mickey Mouse figures for between £5,000 and £15,000 each. It is thought the mohair harlequin bear could break the £110,000 world record price for a teddy.
Made as a one-off experimental piece in 1944 by a Steiff employee, its head and arms swivel but over the years it has lost its ‘growl’ mechanism which was activated by turning it upside down.
Steiff is among the most popular toy companies in the world and is famed for its hand-made, stuffed and stitched teddies.
The items date back as far as the 1890s, soon after Steiff went into business and a few years before the first teddy was made in 1902.
The auction is in South Kensington on October 13.

Friday, 10 September 2010

World's most expensive book to go under the hammer

(Reuters Life!) - A rare book by America's most famous bird artist, John James Audubon, billed as the most expensive in the world, is going under the hammer in December alongside a first edition of Shakespeare's plays.
"Birds of America," which is estimated to sell for between 4 million and 6 million pounds ($6.2-$9.2 million), was said by auctioneer Sotheby's to have inspired generations of ornithologists.
When a copy of the book with hand-colored, life-size prints of birds was last sold in 2000, by rival firm Christie's, it set a world record price for a printed book, fetching $8.8 million.
Only 119 copies of "Birds of America" are known to exist. The book contains 1,000 illustrations of about 500 breeds of birds and took Audubon 12 years to complete. Audubon, who died in 1851, was an influential natural historian. He was quoted three times in Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species."
Sotheby's said the auction, on December 7 in London, will also include a book widely regarded as the most important in all English literature -- the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, "First Folio," dated from 1623.
The "First Folio," with 36 plays including "Macbeth," "The Tempest," and "Twelfth Night," is expected to sell for between 1.0 and 1.5 million pounds ($1.5-$2.3 million).
"The sale offers the twin peaks of book collecting - the most expensive book in the world, Audubon's "Birds of America," and the most important book in all of English Literature, Shakespeare's "First Folio,"" Sotheby's spokesman David Goldthorpe said in a statement.
Sotheby's said the two books were among a lot of 50 books, manuscripts and drawings from the collection of Lord Hesketh who died in 1955.
It also includes a series of letters by Queen Elizabeth I, the Earl of Leicester and the spy Francis Walsingham relating to the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots.
The sale also boasts the largest group of rose drawings by Pierre-Joseph Redoute, to come on the market since a sale by his patron and pupil the Duchesse de Berry in 1837.
(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Dean Goodman)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Famous duckhouse makes £1,700 in auction.

From today's Independent

An MP who was forced to stand down after claiming £1,645 on expenses for a floating duck house has now sold it for charity, it was confirmed today.

Former Conservative MP for Gosport Sir Peter Viggers, 72, was criticised for his expenses claims which totalled £30,000 for gardening costs.

These included the 5ft duck house which acts as a floating island to protect ducks from being attacked by foxes.

Now Sir Peter, who quit his seat at the General Election on the orders of David Cameron, has sold the Stockholm duck house at auction.

It sold to a business centre in Wolverhampton for £1,700 and Sir Peter donated the proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support.

A spokesman for the charity said: "Macmillan Cancer Support relies entirely on public donations to provide practical, emotional and financial support to the two million people currently living with cancer.

"We are really delighted that some good has come out of the whole expenses scandal and are grateful for the donation from Sir Peter.

"This money is enough for us to provide a Macmillan nurse for two weeks."

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Lennons Loo makes $15,500 at auction

The porcelain toilet John Lennon used between 1969 and 1972 has been sold to a collector at a Liverpool auction for $15,500.

The porcelain lavatory was from the ex-Beatle’s Tittenhurst home in Berkshire, England.

BBC News reports that auction organizer Stephen Bailey said: “It is unbelievable.

We had bids coming in from all over the place but it went to a private overseas buyer.”

The sale took place in The Paul McCartney Auditorium at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

As reported when the auction was announced, the toilet had been given to a builder, John Hancock, and kept in his shed for almost 40 years until his recent death.

Also sold at the auction at The Paul McCartney Auditorium at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts was a mono version of Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, sold for $4,500, and a harmonica that belonged to Julian Lennon. John gave it to the builder because his son was driving him crazy playing the instrument.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

John Lennon's Toilet for auction.

John Lennon's toilet is set to go under the hammer this week after it was discovered in his former builder’s shed after forty years.

The famous throne will be one of two hundred and ninety five items of Beatles memorabilia to be auctioned on the day at the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts.

The exceptional items at the action include the lavatory and one of Lennon’s rarest albums still in circulation, Two Virgins.

The album was a mono-sound recording which he produced with Yoko Ono in November 1968 and is expected to fetch at least £2,500.

When the avant garde LP was released it was infamous for being sold in brown paper bags because the sleeve controversially featured a naked picture of John and Yoko.

Bids are also being invited for Lennon's toilet which was taken from Tittenhurst Park, his Berkshire home between 1969 and 1972.

Lennon told builder John Hancock he could have the porcelain lavatory after installing a new one. John remarked to him he should "use it as a plant pot".

It was stored in a shed at Hancock's home for some 40 years until he died recently and was salvaged by a relative. The toilet is estimated to fetch £750 to £1,000.

Auctioneer Stephen Bailey said: "The toilet might be worth something, and it might not, but it is certainly one of the more unusual items we've sold."

Bailey, who is also manager of The Beatles Shop in Liverpool, added: "I have only ever come across two other mono copies of Two Virgins before so that will be the one to watch. Even at the end of the sixties, during such a bohemian period, the picture of a naked couple on the album cover still caused a great deal of scandal."

"The stereo version sold relatively few copies at a time when any one of the Beatles could easily have shifted hundreds of thousands of records."

The auction will take place next Saturday at the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Hustle con

Hustle con

A couple of nights ago I watched The Real Hustle: Celebrity Scammers on BBC. It’s on again tonight on BBC 3 at 7pm.

In it a punter is taken for £1,900 in a sham auction con. The ‘mark’ overhears someone in a bar receiving a phone call to say that a certain picture in a nearby junk shop is worth £2000 and is on sale for £50. While that person nips to the toilet, the marks goes to the shop and buys the picture. They are met outside by the person who was on the phone who tells them that the picture is worth £2k and that while he would not be making any money (Oh Yeah!) he has a friend with an auctionrooms around the corner who could slip it in to the auction which was about to start (as if!!). There are about 20 customers at the auction. The first conman tells the marks that they might have to bid the picture up a bit. They are bidding against a phone bidder who they already are told will go to £3k. The mark is at £1900 when the phone ‘breaks down’ and the picture is knocked down to the mark. The con men then organise a deal with the phone bidder and pay the mark with a check, but he has first of all to pay the £1900 for the picture, which he does in cash. He still thinks that he has made a big profit, except, of course that the cheque is a dud.

My complaint is that the program itself is a con. Think about it:

3 principal con artists.
About 20 bit players.
Hire of an ‘auctionrooms’
Plus the signs, props etc

ALL FOR A TAKE OF £1,900!!!

On another matter: I watched the One Show, also on BBC during the week. On it the presenter was speaking about the 1933 1d. She stated that the coin was worth about £65,000 – probably correct. However, she was handling the coin, not very professionally, with her bare hands. If I had a £65k coin I would not let someone like that handle it without gloves. My guess is that the coin was a replica.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Churchill's false teeth make £15,200 at auction

A pair of false teeth worn by Winston Churchill have sold at auction for £15,200 -- on the same day that plans were announced to put the British wartime leader's archive papers online for the first time.

Churchill, famous for his rousing speeches during World War II, had several sets of the partial upper dentures specially constructed to hide his natural lisp and accentuate his signature slurred diction.

According to documents held by the Royal College of Surgeons, the former prime minister "lived in fear of losing his false teeth" and would always have a spare set to hand, entrusted to his private secretary, Andrew Bullock of Keys auction house in Aylsham, eastern England, told CNN.

The set which sold for £15,200 ($23,700) on Thursday -- more than three times its expected price -- was put up for sale by Nigel Cudlipp, the son of the dental technician who made them, Derek Cudlipp.

"According to Nigel Cudlipp, his father said he could always tell how the war was going from the distance Winston hurled the teeth," said Bullock. "They were prone to breaking, especially when Churchill got a bit angry."

Bullock said Churchill suffered from poor teeth and gums from childhood and had complicated dentistry requirements. He later nominated his dentist for a knighthood.

Dinosaur for auction.

Sotheby’s is to offer the Allosaurus remains in a Paris sale on October 5. The skeleton is 33 feet (10 metres) in length, and it is estimated it will fetch about €800,000

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Catholic church: confessional withdrawn from auction.

The Catholic Church in Vienna has ruled that a former confessional cannot be used as a sauna.

Bidding on a confessional described on eBay as ideal for conversion into a one-person sauna, a small bar or a children's playhouse was ended when the archdiocese stepped in.

Archdiocese spokesman Erich Leitenberger told the daily Salzburger Nachrichten on Tuesday that auctioning "objects that were used for dispensing the sacraments is not acceptable."

Confessionals "should not be converted into saunas or bars," he said.

The confessional was offered for auction in Austria by a Vienna church undergoing renovations.

Curiously, the highest reported amount offered by one of the 40 bidders before the item was yanked from the internet Monday was 666.66 euros.

The number 666 is commonly associated with the Antichrist – or the devil.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Wold Cup Final football makes £48,200 at auction.

The football used in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa was sold for £48,200 in an online auction.

The ball made by sports kit maker Adidas was one of those used in the final between Spain and the Netherlands played in Johannesburg.

According to the auctioneer eBay, the controversy around the ball - with complaints about its movement through the air - has fuelled interest, The Telegraph reported Saturday.

"Unique pieces of sporting memorabilia have always been extremely popular on eBay," said Ruth Szyszkowski of the website.

"The interest in this particular piece seems not only heightened by the controversy surrounding it, but also the proceeds benefiting such a great cause."

Adidas said the World Cup ball's "radical grip 'n' groove" technology, tested by scientists at Loughborough University, allowed "exceptionally stable flight and perfect grip under all conditions".

But the ball, named "Jabulani" from the Zulu word for "to celebrate", was criticised by some players.

A total of 133 bids were placed from 55 international bidders, a spokesman said.

A group of Spanish fans made the highest bid.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Trigger makes $266,500 at auction

Trigger has a new home - as do numerous items once owned by Western stars Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

They were put up for auction yesterday at Christie's in New York, with an auctioneer calling it the "most colorful, emotional and sentimental" sale she's experienced in her 20 years with the firm.

The hall was packed, with many of the bidders wearing Western attire and cowboy boots. There were even some tears.

The items were from the now-closed Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Mo. They fetched more than expected, including Rogers' stuffed horse Trigger, which went for $266,500. It was bought by a cable company in Omaha, Neb.

Rogers' 1964 Bonneville convertible, encrusted with silver dollars, sold for almost as much: $254,500.

Ashes of Coronation Street cat for auction.

The ashes of a cat which featured in the titles of Coronation Street are to be sold at auction.
Frisky starred in the soap's opening sequence for 10 years and was seen at the start of more than 1,000 episodes, crouching on the roof of Jack Duckworth's pigeon loft.
His owner, John Rimington, who is putting his pet's remains up for auction next week in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, said: "Frisky was not only a much-loved family pet, but also captured the heart of the nation and made thousands of pounds for charities. We were very proud to be his owners and we are keen to keep his memory alive."
The tabby was hired in 1990 after beating 5,000 other potential cats to the role.
He raised money for charity through numerous personal appearances until his death in 2000 at the age of 14.
His ashes, sealed in a wooden casket with a brass plaque, are expected to fetch up to £150.
The lot also includes a cremation certificate and postcards of Frisky with other stars of Weatherfield, and is part of a wider auction of antiques and collectibles.
Chris Albury, of Dominic Winter Auctioneers, said: "Not only was Frisky one of the most recognised cats in the country for over a decade, but he also became synonymous with one of the nation's favourite soaps.
"At this stage we're not expecting an auction room dogfight but this lot will add some light relief into the day's proceedings."
The auction will take place on Thursday, July 22.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Winston Churchill's False Teeth to Be Auctioned

The false teeth of legendary BritishWinston Churchill will go up for auction, and were expected to fetch £5,000, dental news website reported Friday.

The set of teeth will be sold on July 29 at Keys auction rooms in Norfolk, by the son of Derek Cudlipp, the technician who made them.

Throughout his life, the oratory craftsman feared that problems with his teeth would affect his public speaking, and Churchill was believed to be so anxious about losing his beloved dentures that he always kept a spare set to hand, the website reported.

Last month the auction house sold a butter dish Churchill used as an ashtray, and a stubbed-out cigar of his for £4,500.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


Trigger, the palomino that carried cowboy movie star Roy Rogers, will be on the auction block later this month.

Trigger, who was stuffed after his death in 1965, will be auctioned off with other Roy Rogers memorabilia at Christie's in New York. The Christie's website says the auction is scheduled for July 14-15, and that Trigger is expected to bring in about $100,000 to $200,000.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that the Rogers family decided last year to close the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum that had been in Branson for about six years.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Lock of Napoleon's hair sold at New Zealand auction

A lock of Napoleon Bonaparte's hair snipped from his head the day after he died in 1821 was sold for 19,000 New Zealand dollars (13,300 US dollars) at an auction in Auckland on Tuesday.
It was bought in a telephoned bid by a private collector in London, who did not want to be identified, auctioneer Hamish Coney said.
A lithograph and watercolour image of Napoleon on his deathbed, fetched 21,000 New Zealand dollars, the biggest price of more than 40 items from a private collection.
The Napoleon memorabilia originally belonged to Denzil Ibbetson, commissary officer on the island of St Helena where the former emperor was exiled and died. Ibbetson's diary was sold for 9,500 New Zealand dollars.
The collection was brought to New Zealand in 1864 by Ibbetson's son Frederick and had never been seen in public before.
Coney said the auction, which drew telephoned bids from London, Paris, Hong Kong, Washington and Lithuania, fetched a total of 140,000 New Zealand dollars.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Attack on auctioneer lands man 30 years in prison

See also
A man high on methamphetaine when he slashed the throat of a Woodburn auctioneer nearly one year ago was sentenced to 30 years in prison
Jeremiah Thomasson’s violent history landed him the sentence, according to Marion County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Jamese Rhoades’ ruling.
Thomasson, 24, has several prior assault convictions and had been punished for breaking rules more than 25 times while awaiting trial at Marion County jail. Once, he punched an inmate for not giving him a cookie at lunch, Marion County prosecutor Jodie Bureta said.

Charles “Chuck” Boyce was on an auction block at Woodburn Auction Yard in June 2009 when a man from the crowd walked up, grabbed him and slit his neck with a box knife.

“Three-hundred sixty three days ago, Mr. Thomasson changed my life by trying to take my life,” Boyce said during the sentencing hearing.

“He’s left deeper scars in me than the one I have to see every day when I shave.”
Boyce said since the attack he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder that cost him his marriage. He asked that Thomasson be sentenced to a long time in prison to prevent other victims.

“If he can do this to me, why can’t he do it fatally to someone else,” Boyce said.
Rhoades said that Thomasson’s violent history made him dangerous to the community.

“Apparently close to 200 people sat and saw you go up behind Mr. Boyce and slit his throat,” the judge told Thomasson.

There was no explanation for the behavior, Rhoades said, calling Thomasson “some sort of explosive with little or no fuse.

“You’re polite every time you come into court,” she said. “That’s kind of the scary thing about this.”

Marilyn Monroe Breast X-Rays Sell For $45k At Auction

An auction held at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas titled Hollywood Legends, sold three chest x-rays of Marilyn Monroe for an unbelievable $45,000.00.

The auction was held by West Hollywood auction company Julien’s, had other Monroe memorabilia as well as items from Audrey Hepburn and Kate Winslett.

Other notable items that sold at the auction was the Superman IV costume worn by Christopher Reeve.

The Monroe x-rays were from a 1954 visit to the hospital and were only expected to get about $1,000.00 for each one.

Auctioneers were surprised when the bidding kept going until it reached the $45,000.00 mark. Other items of Monroe that were sold at the auction included a bottle of Chanel No 5, A crew neck sweater and the chair from her last photo shoot.

Monroe died in 1962 but continues to be one of the largest Hollywood icons ever. Original Monroe memorabilia always brings very high dollar amounts at the auction block. Buyers from around the world flock to auctions holding items of the blonde bombshell.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder codpiece auctioned

A codpiece worn by Rowan Atkinson in the 1986 TV series Blackadder II has sold for £850 at an auction.
The item, from the series which was set in medieval times, was sold by Cameo Auctioneers in Midgham in Berkshire.
Jon King, from the auctioneers, said: "This is possibly the most iconic costume item in the series."
The codpiece was a covering at the front of the crotch and formed an essential part of the well-dressed Elizabethan man's wardrobe.
The garment accentuated the genital area and was held closed by string ties or buttons.
The khaki ski suit used by Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in The World is Not Enough in 1999 sold for £1,700 at the TV and Film Costumes auction.
A medieval-style tunic with studs worn by Sean Connery as Robin Hood in the film Robin and Marian in 1976 was only expected to sell for up to £200 but fetched £2,000.
Another costume which exceeded its estimate was a burgundy one worn by the Thuggee in the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
It was expected to sell for between £400 and £600 but it went for £1900.

From the BBC website.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Buying a town full of memories

By Patty Fisher

Fran Moyer planned merely to pick up a few mementos at an auction in Texas last weekend.
Instead, she bought herself a town.
That's right, an entire town.
"I still can't believe it," she says, laughing and shaking her head. "I really never dreamed I would get it."
Just as soon as the giddiness wears off, she'll figure out exactly what to do with The Grove, an antique Old West-style town 30 miles southwest of Waco with a general store, blacksmith shop, saloon, bank and post office.
"I'm very curious to see how this is going to play out," she says.
Yes, who wouldn't be?
Moyer, who lives in San Jose and sings beautiful alto solos in my church choir, was born and raised in Texas. Her grandfather, WJ Dube, owned the general store in The Grove from 1917 until 1946. Both her parents grew up there. When she was a little girl, Moyer used to spend summers at her grandparents' home, plucking chickens, fishing in the stream and sitting on the front porch after supper, watching the night fall over the fragrant farmland.
"I can't describe how important that little piece of the world is to me," she says. "When you grow up like that you become very close to the land and it's just in your genes."
A town that faded away
Founded in 1859, The Grove was a thriving farming community until the 1930s, when the residents, in an effort to save it, unwittingly killed it
The state wanted to build Highway 36 through the center of town, but the locals balked because it meant paving over the municipal well, their literal lifeblood. So the state rerouted the highway, and The Grove, bypassed by the outside world, became a ghost town.
In 1972, an antique collector named Moody Anderson bought the old buildings, filled them with Texas artifacts and opened the Country Life Museum. The Grove attracted tourists by day, country musicians by night and filmmakers who used pieces of Anderson's collection as props for westerns like "Lonesome Dove." It became known as the liveliest ghost town in Texas.
Two years ago, at 80, Anderson figured it was time to sell his precious museum. He got no bidders on eBay, so he decided to hold an auction.
When Moyer heard about the auction, she couldn't resist going.
"I went to go to say goodbye to The Grove," she said.
On the first day of the auction, she looked at the thousands of tagged items: mounted buffalo heads, blacksmith tools, roll-top desks, oil lamps. She bought a few old photos, but saying goodbye turned out to be harder than she'd expected.
That night, she called her husband, Jim, a successful Silicon Valley executive, and floated the idea of bidding on the half-acre strip of buildings.
"I asked if he would mind if I spent a couple hundred thousand to buy my grandfather's store," she said.
What could he say? Fran's not an extravagant person. She drove her old Volvo station wagon for nearly 30 years. The Moyers don't live in a statement home. But this was a statement she just had to make, about the importance of roots and family.
A surprising outcome
The next day, when the bidding opened at $100,000, she raised her paddle, thinking that she was merely making a symbolic bid.
Another person quickly bid $150,000.
Moyer raised it to $200,000, hoping to bid up the price for Anderson, and waited for the other bidder to respond.
He didn't.
"Do I hear 250? Do I hear 225?" the auctioneer pleaded.
I suspect the fix was in. Everyone knew Anderson and the locals wanted the place to stay in the family. Moyer may have thought she was just a symbolic bidder, but perhaps the other bidder was.
When the gavel fell, she jumped up and down and screamed "like an idiot."
"I never dreamed I would get it," she said. "I have bought my most precious childhood memories."
So, now that she has her ghost town, what will she do with it? Her brother and other relatives still live outside of town, and she hopes they will look after the place for her.
"We want to fix it up, and since they sold all the furniture in the saloon, I guess we're going to have to buy some," she said. "The locals are all asking where they are going to play dominoes now."

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Tom Jones' dole records fail to sell at auction

From BBC Wales:

"He does not want shift work but I believe the reason for his not liking shifts is because he is a member of a vocal group which is supposedly an amateur affair." So said a dole officer of Sir Tom Jones as he started his life as a singer. But this unemployment record card and five more failed to meet their reserve price at a recent auction.

The six cards detailed Tom Jones' trips to the dole office between 1961 and 1964, when he was still known as Thomas Woodward. The officials charged with recording his attempts to enter the employment market appear unimpressed with his efforts.

"From the number of adverts one sees in the local press... it seems that this group has a good thing going... from the way he is able to dress, it would seem that Mr Woodward's little hobby is highly lucrative and this would also account for his non enthusiasm in securing employment."

The cards provide an illuminating insight to the world of a musician battling with authorities that at the time would probably not have appreciated the potential in the then-fledgling sphere popular music industry.

Unfortunately for the owner of the cards, which were rescued from a Pontypridd skip when employment records were computerised, they didn't prove popular in the auction room.

Auctioneer Richard Westwood Brookes of Mullock's auction house in Shropshire, reported some bidding but the cards did not meet the reserve price.

He said at the time of the find: "They are a wonderful look at the beginning of a glittering career when Tom Jones was trying to make a living from his singing.
"The notes mention his TB and it's amazing to think that such a voice came from a man who had suffered from the disease."

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

*Marilyn Monroe's X-rays for auction.

A Las Vegas auctioneer said a 1954 X-ray image of Marilyn Monroe's chest is expected to fetch bids of up to $1,200 in June.

Julien's Auctions at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino Las Vegas said the X-ray image of Monroe's chest and lungs, taken at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, is expected to sell for between $800 and $1,200 during the June 26-27 auction, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

"(The X-ray) was taken around the time she was believed to be pregnant, rumor has it that she had a miscarriage," said Darren Julien, president and chief executive of the auction house.

Julien said the auction will also include four X-rays of Monroe's abdomen, a daybed the actress is believed to have used while visiting her therapist, a 1953 rate card detailing the 27-year-old Monroe's $1,250 weekly earnings and a script from her 1962 film "Something's Got to Give."

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Jordan's breast Implants for Ebay auction?

Katie Price apparently plans to auction her old breast implants on eBay.

The former glamour model told The Guardian that she has two sets "at home" that she hopes to sell off.

Price, who stood for Parliament in 2001 promising free breast implants, said that she would like to make "a million pound" (sic) from the sale.

The 31-year-old added that she might have to rethink her plan, however, following her marriage to crossdresser Alex Reid. "They might come in handy after all!" she said.

Christie’s Green Auction

Back in February Christie’s International announced the 2010 Inaugural Green Auction titled, “A Bid to Save the Earth” to honor the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. With the big event a little under two weeks away, Christie’s has launched a companion online silent auction hosted by CharityBuzz and featuring incredible experiences for the highest bidders.

Some highlights of the star-studded auction include spending the day on set with Hugh Jackman, enjoying a tennis lesson with John McEnroe, and joining Candice Bergen for a driving tour of Central Park. Looking to dine with Eli Manning, Vera Wang, Sigourney Weaver, or David Duchovny? Just log onto Charity Buzz and place your top bid.

The online Green Auction also includes major artwork, luxury vacations, and other once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Online bidding runs through May 6. Funds raised through the auctions will benefit Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Central Park Conservancy, and Conservation International.

Additional details about Christie’s Green Auction: A Bid to Save the Earth can be found at

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Queen Victoria's stockings fetch £690 at auction

A pair of Queen Victoria's silk stockings have been sold for £690 at auction in Edinburgh.

The black and white hand-stitched garments with crests are believed to date from 1874

They were thought to have a been favourite style of the monarch and were valued at around £400.

A spokesman for auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull said the stockings had been bought by a dealer on behalf of a third party.

The stockings went under the hammer for £690 as part of a fine antiques sale.
It was not known how they ended up in the hands of the previous owner's family.
However, much of the monarch's wardrobe was distributed to members of the Royal household on her death in 1901.

Lee Young, head of antiques at Lyon and Turnbull, said examples of the Queen's undergarments had long been considered the "crowning glory" for Victoriana collectors around the world.

Another item of note in the sale was Napoleon's favourite pipe, which sold for £4,000

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

1938 Superman comic sells for record $1.5 million

Superman became the $1.5 million man Monday when a rare copy of the first comic to feature the superhero smashed all previous auction records for a comic book.
The 1938 copy of Action Comics, in which Superman debuted, easily beat the $1.075 million record set at auction in February for a comic book with Batman's first outing, online auctioneers said.

The same issue of Superman's Action Comics debut sold for $1 million dollars in February, but that was not in as good condition as the copy sold overnight.

Back in 1938 the Superman comic, boasting a cover picture of the red-caped hero lifting a green car, cost just 10 cents.

"This new record will be hard to break," said co-owner Vincent Zurzolo, "because this particular Action Comics Number One is literally the single most valuable comic book on the planet."

Incredibly, the comic book's existence was unknown for 50 years as it lay unnoticed tucked inside an old movie magazine, said.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Giant 200-year-old dildos sold for £3,600

A PAIR of 200-year-old sex toys shaped as gigantic wooden phalluses have been sold at a UK auction for £3,600.

The Sun reports staff at Brentwood Antiques Auction in Essex described the sex toys as "extraordinary and exceptionally rare" and said they were probably French and dated back to the late 1700s.

"You might laugh but it's a good opportunity for investment," aptly named auctioneer Wendy Wood said.

"You won't see another one in a long time."

Auctioneers listed the lot on the website under "Erotica".

A catalogue description read: "An extraordinary and exceptionally rare 'Travel Godermiche' being a pair of wooden phallus contained within a fitted kid leather covered Treen case with strap fleurs-de-lys decoration, one phallus 10 inches and with testicles and the other 11 inches and without testicles."

"The case, although having a relined interior appears to have age commensurate with those of the phallus," the listing adds.

For sale, a hero's VC medal and the cannonball that struck him

By Neil Sears

It is the first Victoria Cross to be earned by a British Army soldier - and it comes with a macabre accessory.
The medal awarded to Major John Simpson Knox is being auctioned with the cannonball that took his left arm during the Crimean War.
A fellow soldier picked up the missile that hit Major Knox and later gave it to him.
The VC and cannonball are expected to fetch up to £120,000 at auction in London next month.
Major Knox was an exceptionally tall boy who ran away from his home in Glasgow and managed to join the Scots Fusilier Guards when he was 14, under the legal age for enlisting.
Despite his youth he was swiftly promoted and was an acting sergeant major by the start of the Crimean War in 1854.
Britain and France had joined forces to take on Russia in the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea - and Knox was among the soldiers to sail there.
It was on September 20, 1854 that Knox performed his first of two acts of valour that secured him the VC.
It is the earliest date upon which any British Army soldier earned a VC, predated only by three Royal Navy sailors.
He was taking part in the Battle of the River Alma, and according to the citation for his medal, he 'acted with conspicuous courage in reforming the ranks of the Guards at a decisive moment of the action'.

His second act, cited when he received his VC, came in June the following year, when he was serving as a lieutenant with the Rifle Brigade, and volunteered for an attack using ladders on heavily defended Russian positions.
According to the citation: 'He remained in the field until he was twice wounded, all the time acting with great gallantry.'
It was during that attack, on a fortress defending the city of Sebastopol, that Knox was struck on the left arm by a cannonball, two inches in diameter, that was picked up and handed to him by a comrade.
Knox kept a scrapbook of copies of letters recording his experiences - including of the days which secured him the VC, Britain's highest award for gallantry.
Medal expert Oliver Pepys, of Spink auctioneers, which is offering the VC for sale next month, said: 'Major Knox showed incredible bravery, losing his arm to cannon fire in the process.
'The lot is fascinating, the medal is being sold with a Russian cannonball, the very one that smashed into Knox's arm. In all my years of working with rare medals and war artefacts I have never seen a more unusual keepsake.
'We have researched the circumstances around the loss of Major Knox's arm and have discovered a fellow soldier picked up the ball and gave it to him as a memento.
'This medal is of huge historical significance, the VC is still the highest honour a soldier can receive.'
Mr Pepys said his research had shown that on the day of Major Knox's second VC citation, his left arm was hit twice - first by the cannonball and then, minutes later, by a small piece of grapeshot. The two hits meant it had to be amputated at the socket urgently.
The Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856. The medals were - and still are - cast from bronze taken from cannons captured from the Russians at Sebastopol.
After the Crimean War, Knox married, had seven children, and served as a musketry instructor until retiring in 1872 as a Major.
He was then a governor of prisons and died in Cheltenham aged 68 in 1897.
The VC is being sold alongside three other medals he was awarded - the Crimea Medal, the French Legion of Honour and the Turkish Crimea Medal. The seller is remaining anonymous.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


I have been involved with antiques for most of my life and am delighted to see that there is now an organisation in the antiques trade to promoted the concept that antiques are green. Below is an interview with the founder and contact details. It's free to join.
Early in 2009, I was talking with a few colleagues about the environmental benefits of antiques in the home. This was something that I had not previously discussed with customers in my shop but now I tried raising the subject.
After a few minutes conversation, a look of enlightenment appeared. First, the customer related antiques to recycling. Then, as the conversation progressed, it became evident that their purchase would result in minimal greenhouse gases, no rain forests would be depleted and no additional minerals would be extracted from the Earth. Customers felt comfortable about their purchase with the understanding that “antiques are green”. They could now justify their purchase and enjoy a feel good factor as well.
It seemed that it would benefit the whole Antiques Trade if the buying public were aware of this message before they came in to see us. With a suitable campaign, potential customers would know that antiques were green because they had read it in the press, seen and heard it on TV and found the same “Antiques are Green” logo wherever they went. As members of the antiques trade, we may all sell more and do our bit for the environment. By changing the perception of antiques to that of an attractive alternative to buying new goods, we might even attract new customers who previously would not have considered antiques.
In March, Antiques Trade Gazette published my letter on the subject and this led to some important contacts, including John Fiske who has himself been promoting Antiques are Green in the USA.
Following a presentation at the ATG Conference in May, an on-line vote to select a campaign logo took place in the Antiques Trade Gazette and BBC Homes and Antiques Magazine. The Trade and public voted on a selection of Antiques are Green logos and both groups chose the one that you now see on the website.
The campaign is being developed under the umbrella of a not-for-profit organisation. Its success will benefit both the antiques trade and the environment, in accordance with our formal aims and objectives.
Online Galleries have prepared this website and Dealers are invited to submit their stock.
Anyone interested or involved with the trade is invited to become a part of Antiques are Green and use this website to promote themselves, their product or their service. Please join the campaign now.
I would especially like to thank Mark Bridge and Sarah Percy Davis for their help with this project in its early stages.

Nigel Worboys

Friday, 5 March 2010

New Zealand Ghost Auction Sparks Ethical Debate About Capturing, Selling Ghosts

by Robert Quigley March 4th, 2010

A New Zealander who claims to have captured two ghosts and bottled them with holy water and has now put them up for sale on an auction website has incited a national debate that threatens to overturn old Lord of the Rings sets, pit the north and south islands against each other, and possibly upset some kiwis: Is it ethical to sell ghosts?

In this instance, we are assuming that “the nation of New Zealand” can safely be represented by “a bunch of people who are commenting on an auction website.” Hey, that’s what Australia’s Herald-Sun newspaper did:

TWO vials, which the owner claims contain the spirits of ghosts exorcised from a house in New Zealand, have been put up for sale on online auction site, TradeMe.
So far, bidding on “Two Captured Ghosts” had reached $NZ410 ($A316), and incited hundreds of comments, with advice ranging from how to get rid of the spirits for good, to the ethics of selling someone else’s captured immortal essence.
Alas, the Herald-Sun didn’t reprint any of the comments from the auction thread, some of which get quite spirited:

• “This auction is very wrong and extremely disrespectful. Spirits are energy and are peoples relatives, you don’t have the right to do this (on the account that this is true). I think its wrong and I think auctioning them off is sick. If you believe in this stuff would you want your mother’s spirit to be bottled? If your answer is no then you know what to do, empty them somewhere away from your house and let them be. Their energy has every right to be as you have every right to live.”

• “cool auction – As a Worshipper of Beelzebub, I am interesting in obtaining these 2 spirits and teasing them for a bit, I believe this will bring me good luck. Do you have any other trapped do-gooders for future auctions ? As a wee army of trapped souls, could be quite fun too. Thanks in advance.”

• “So you believe you’ve got someones family member in a bottle for them to ‘play around with’. Sick. Absolutely sick.”


Bidding has since ratcheted up to $1,010 New Zealand Dollars ($700 U.S.), and the auction, which has been covered by a host of Australian print, TV, and radio outlets, has since instigated its own set of ghost auction-related memelets on TradeMe.

Bidding war for Chinese Imperial vase discovered at local Irish auction

By Laura Roberts
Published: 7:30AM GMT 04 Mar 2010
After an opening offer of £45 (€50) the blue-and-white piece, which is 12 inches high, sold for £99,808 (€110,000) to a London-based collector who beat another dealer who had flown in from Beijing.
The item was part of a collection of Chinese porcelain inherited by an unnamed Co Carlow family and put up for sale at Sheppards Irish Auction House in Durrow, Co Laois.

Richard Peters, 48, who runs an antiques business in Kensington, said: “I got a bargain.”
He believes the vase, which is known in Chinese as hu-yu-chun-ping and decorated with banana and bamboo trees, was “made for the personal collection of the Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century”.
It had “probably been looted from the Imperial Palace in Peking by French or British or American soldiers sometime during the 19th century”, he added while admitting that the field of Chinese ceramics is “difficult because the market is filled with fakes and forgeries”.
The underbidder Rong Chen, 48, said she was “very sad and disappointed” to lose. Her husband, an accountant and antique collector, had spotted the vase on the Internet. “This is the one – we think it was in the Imperial household,” she said.
Michael Sheppard, the auctioneer, said the sale was "the highest figure ever achieved for any item” in the 60-year history of the family-run firm of auctioneers and valuers. He said “something like this happens once in a lifetime”.
Mr Peters bought a second lot – a pair of Chinese polychrome vases – for £37,210 (€41,000). Like the Imperial vase, the items had carried a guide price of €100-€150.
Mr Peters returned to London last night with the items, which he is likely to sell to a Chinese client.
As he left the auction David Stapleton, from the nearby town of Ballyragget, told the Irish Times: “It was one of those moments. You had to be there – like the GPO in 1916.”

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A walking stick given to diplomat by a King is expected to fetch around £300 at auction.*

Sir Ralph Champneys Williams was presented with a walking stick by Edward VII in the early 1900s, but that stick was destroyed in a fire.
Later, Sir Ralph's son wrote to King George VI to ask for a replacement, and the monarch sent him another stick which had belonged to Edward VII.
Despite its low value, auctioneers said the stick's story was "heart-warming".
Sir Ralph, born in Llanddeiniolen, was a former acting governor of Barbados, and he met King Edward VII and Queen Mary at the start of the 20th Century. The King presented him with one of his walking sticks, and the stick accompanied Sir Ralph wherever he was posted.
However, years later the stick was destroyed in a fire at his son's house in Kenya.
Sir Ralph's son, Major Geoffrey Howard-Williams, wrote to the then King, George VI, to ask for a replacement.
A letter from the King's personal secretary was sent from Sandringham, dated 29 December 1945.
It read: "I write to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 31st October.
"Under separate cover I am forwarding you, by direction of the King, a walking stick which belonged to King Edward VII to replace the one which you had the misfortune to lose when your house burnt down.
"It has taken a little time to find this stick, which accounts for the delay, but His Majesty hopes that it may prove a suitable substitute."
The replacement stick - which bears the stamp "Balmoral" and Edward VII's crest - remained in the family.
Sir Ralph's great-grandson, the present owner, discovered it when he was clearing his late father's home in Devon.
It will be auctioned, along with the letter that accompanied it, on 27 February.
Auctioneer Duncan Chilcott said: "Obviously this walking stick - like the one it replaced - was a dear friend to Sir Ralph and while it is likely to sell for less than £300 the story behind how it came to be sent from Sandringham to Kenya is really heart-warming.
"Clearly Sir Ralph was held in very high regard by the Royal Family and it is a mark of King George's generosity, for which he was well known.

*I disagree with the auctioneer’s valuation. I predict that it will go a good bit higher.

Rare copy of first Batman will be most valuable comic book ever offered at public auction, Feb. 25

A rare copy of the first Batman comic book has far surpassed the previous comic books record price, $317,000, paid for a first Superman comic in 2009, and the bidding is still underway with Batman already at $418,250. Super heroes and pop culture fans will learn the final, new record price when the auction ends on Feb. 25.
"One of the finest known surviving copies of the 1939 issue of Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman, is being offered without reserve by Heritage Auctions in a public auction in Dallas, and simultaneously online," said Lon Allen, Director of Sales for the Comics Division of Heritage Auctions ( "It's been an amazing thing to watch as the price has soared. Collectors know this may well be the only shot they will ever get at this, the ultimate comic book. Who knows how high it will go by the time bidding ends?"
"It was owned for decades and kept in excellent condition by a savvy comic book collector who purchased it for $100 more than 40 years ago," said Allen. "In the 1960s and 1970s many people considered that an outrageous amount of money to spend for a comic book of any era.”
"The Bat-Man," as he was originally called, appeared for the first time in a six-page story in Detective Comics #27 with a cover date of May 1939. Superman appeared a year earlier in Action Comics #1 with a cover date of June 1938.
For additional information, contact Heritage Auctions at (800) 872-6467 or visit online at

Friday, 12 February 2010

The World's first postal order sold at Auction.

The world's first postal order, purchased for just one shilling 129 years ago, has been sold for £4,485 at an auction.

Buzz up!
The payment, which bears the serial number 000001, was the first to be produced by the Post Office in Lombard Street, London, in 1881.

"This was a very unique item and as such went for a lot more than predicted. There were lots of bids from enthusiasts. It's been in the same family for over 130 years so the opportunity to own something as rare as this doesn't come up very often. Collectors were always going to have to dig into their pockets to own this and clearly they did," the Telegraph quoted auctioneer Richard Beale, of Warwick and Warwick Auctioneers, as saying.

Only five other 1881 postal orders having the same 000001 number are known to have survived.

Victorians used the postal order to safely send money
through the post.

The first postal order was bought by Arthur Bull on January 1, 1881.

It was signed by a clerk named A.G. Emery but Arthur never cashed it, thinking it would become a collector's item one day.

He kept it in a leather case and locked it in his family's safe before his son, also named Arthur Bull, inherited it.

After Arthur Bull junior's death in 1953 the postal order passed to his son Brian Galpin, who kept it safe in his home in Surrey.

And when Galpin died at 72 in 2005, the postal order passed to his widow Audrey, 75, who agreed to auction it.

The Postal Order is a direct descendent of the money order which was introduced by a private company in 1792.

During World War One and World War Two, British Postal Orders were temporarily used as money to save paper and labour.

Postal Orders can be bought and redeemed at post offices in Britain, even though a crossed Postal Order must be paid into a bank account. (ANI)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Christie’s Announces Green Auction “A Bid To Save The Earth”

In order to drive awareness throughout Earth Week, Christie’s International has announced the 2010 Inaugural Green Auction titled, “A Bid to Save the Earth.”

The green auction, which takes place on April 22, will include major artwork, celebrity experiences, upscale eco-vacations, exquisite jewellery, and luxury items.

Proceeds from the sale will be divided among four non-profit environmental organizations: Conservation International, Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Central Park Conservancy.

“We are inspired and honored to convene top members of the philanthropic, environmental, business and cultural communities to benefit the environment,” said Edward Dolman, CEO of Christie’s. “We are equally pleased to present a stellar evening auction and to partner with NBC Universal in telling this exciting story with Charitybuzz in building such a compelling silent auction; and of course our four charity partners, who will do what they do best with the proceeds: advocate for the environment.”

Thursday, 4 February 2010

SA flag from Mandela's inauguration up for auction

A London auction house is selling a South African flag that flew during Nelson Mandela's inauguration as the country's first black president.

Auctioneer Bonhams says the 5 foot by 7 1/2 foot flag was flown from a helicopter above the ceremony in Pretoria on May 10, 1994.

It is signed by Mandela, his predecessor F.W. De Klerk and his successor Thabo Mbeki and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

Mandela's inauguration was one of the first occasions on which South Africa's multicolored post-apartheid flag was displayed.

The flag is expected to sell for £10,000 to £15,000 on March 24.

Bonhams did not identify the seller Wednesday but says the flag was previously owned by the helicopter pilot, Maj. Louis de Waal.

Anyone who wants something less expensive can come to the Green Room, 192 Archway Road, London N6 5BB. We have a genuine ballot paper from the first free SA elections which includes a photo of Mandela. Unused. Price only £9.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Skull withdrawn from auction

A New York City auction house says a human skull that had been used as a ballot box by Yale's elite Skull and Bones society has been withdrawn from sale.

Christie's said Friday that the 19th century skull was being removed from the Jan. 22 sale due to a title claim. The auction house declined further comment.

The skull had been expected to sell for $10,000 to $20,000. Christie's only identified the seller as a European art collector.

The skull is fitted with a hinged flap and is believed to have been used during voting at the mysterious society's meetings. The club was founded in 1832 and publicly known members, called Bonesmen, include both presidents Bush and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

Churchill's half-smoked cigar to be auction in Norfolk

A half-smoked cigar, abandoned by wartime prime minister Winston Churchill, is up for sale in Norfolk.

The four-inch unfinished "smoke" could fetch more than £300 because it came from the lips of the famous cigar-smoking statesman before he dashed away to an urgent cabinet meeting.

Proof of its owner is thanks to an enterprising Downing Street valet, Nellie Goble, who grabbed the cigar, and a sheet of number 10 notepaper, on which she penned a note to a friend saying: "Just a small souvenir to remind you at some future date of one of the greatest men that ever lived in England."

The cigar will be sold on Friday, January 29, at Keys auction room at Aylsham, where expert Andrew Bullock expected it to excite worldwide interest among collectors of Sir Winston Churchill memorabilia.

Cigars belonging to Churchill occasionally came up for sale, but "I am not aware of many others that have survived after being half-smoked by the great man himself," he said.

"It was extremely rare for Churchill not to finish a cigar, so it must have been something very, very urgent that demanded his immediate attention in the cabinet room. As this was wartime, it is fascinating to speculate as to what it might have been that was so important," said Mr Bullock.

It was on August 22, 1941, that the cigar was abandoned - a day when the advancing German army reached Leningrad, leading to a historic siege.

And just a week earlier, Churchill had been in top secret meetings with American president Franklyn D Roosevelt, on board a cruiser anchored off Newfoundland, over the Atlantic Charter, a blueprint for a post-war world, which was the seed for the creation of the United Nations.

The call that interrupted his cigar could have related to either of those momentous happenings.

The cigar was treasured by Nellie's friends and proudly shown off to visitors, then passed to a daughter, now a pensioner living in north Norfolk who kept the stub wrapped in the precious note in a drawer.

She wanted to remain anonymous but said: "It rarely comes out of the drawer, so it seems better to sell it to someone who will truly appreciate it. If it doesn't fetch the earth, it won't break my heart. I just want it to go to somebody who will get some real pleasure from owning it."

In November, a butter dish used as an ashtray by Churchill at the London dining and debating club he co-founded was sold for £4,200 - almost three times its estimate.

The cigar and note, lot 1343, will be sold on the second day of Keys' next books auction on Friday, January 29. Contact the saleroom on 01263 733195 or at Viewing is on Wednesday, January 27, 8.30am-7.30pm; Thursday, January 28, 8.30am-10am; and on the day of the sale, 8.30am-11am.

Skull 'ballot box' from Skull & Bones Society to be auctioned

A human skull that apparently was turned into a ballot box for Yale's mysterious Skull and Bones society is going on the auction block.
Christie's estimates the skull will sell for $10,000 to $20,000 when it is auctioned on Jan. 22. Fittingly, the auction house has agreed to keep the seller's name a secret. On Monday, it described the person only as a European art collector.
The skull is fitted with a hinged flap and is believed to have been used during voting at the famous society's meetings. The auction house said it also may have been displayed at the society's tomblike headquarters on Yale's campus in New Haven, Conn., during the late 1800s.
Skull and Bones, an elite society founded in 1832, has closely guarded its members' names and its activities since the early 1970s. Prior to that time, the group published an annual roster.
Publicly known members, known as Bonesmen, include President William Howard Taft, both presidents Bush, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, businessman and diplomat Averell Harriman, publisher Henry Luce and author and commentator William F. Buckley Jr.
"I think it's a macabre artifact," Margot Rosenberg, head of Christie's American decorative arts department, said Tuesday. "It's an intriguing story tied to America, tied to Yale. I think it will generate interest for people who are former Bonesmen, people who collect Americana, people who are interested in history."
The skull is believed to have been owned by Edward T. Owen, who graduated Yale in 1872 and went to become professor of French and linguistics at the University of Wisconsin. The word THOR is etched into the skull; it may have been the nickname given to Owen or another society member.
The skull is being sold with a black book, inscribed with Owen's name, the year 1872 and the numeral 322, a reference to the society's year of inception and to the death of the orator Demosthenes in 322 B.C. It contains the names and photographs of about 50 Bonesmen, including Taft, who became the 27th president of the United States; Morrison Remick Waite, who became U.S. chief justice in 1874; and William Maxwell Evarts, who served as U.S. secretary of state and U.S. attorney general.
Skull and Bones invites 15 Yale seniors to join each year. Bonesmen swear an oath of secrecy about the group and its strange rituals, which include initiation rites such as confessing sexual secrets and kissing a skull.
On Tuesday, the society's secrecy remained intact. Efforts to reach a society member or a representative of its business arm, the Russell Trust Association, through a Yale spokesman were unsuccessful. The Ivy League school, which is not affiliated with the society, did not return a reporter's call.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

$4 million hockey stick on auction block

TORONTO, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A hand-carved hickory stick said to be a 150-year-old precursor to modern hockey sticks will be auctioned next month during the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The online auction firm announced it was offering "the single most important piece of hockey memorabilia in existence" after a Feb. 12-28 viewing in Vancouver in the run-up to the Games, the Canwest News Service reported.
The stick is owned by Gordon Sharpe, of Cobourg, Ontario, who said it was an inheritance from an ancestor who carved it.
The auctioneer claims the stick's historical significance puts it in the $4 million range, although it failed to change hands at a bid as high as $2.2 million in the most recent auction attempt on the eBay online site in 2006.
Sharpe said in a statement announcing the auction potential proceeds wouldn't all be personal profit.
"I realize the sale of the stick could help raise millions for charity," Sharpe said. "I think it's the best thing to do."

Friday, 15 January 2010

Unpublished Diary of Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele for auction

Renowned auctioneers Alexander Autographs has uncovered an incredibly rare find: notorious Auschwitz death camp Dr. Josef Mengele's treatise on eugenics and euthanasia, written by him in 1960 while in hiding in Argentina. The document will be offered along with over 1,400 other lots of historic autographs at auction on January 20th and 21st commencing at 10:00 AM at the auction house's Stamford headquarters.

Mengele, who escaped capture until his death by drowning in 1979, proves himself an unrepentant racist. Ironically penned on over 180 pages in a children's zoological workbook, the unrepentant Nazi incredibly wavers between describing his rescue of a cow trapped in a mud bog, to demanding the extermination of "inferior morons". He claims: "We have to make sure that nature's suspended eradication will continue through human arrangements...the real problem is to define when human life is worth living and when it has to be eradicated...birth control can be done by sterilizing those with deficient genes...". Also included in the sale is a war-date letter written by Mengele while at Auschwitz to his wife looking forward to their "imaginary reunion" and hoping for a transfer to a "combat unit".

When asked if he felt any qualms about offering material signed by such despicable individuals, auction house president Bill Panagopulos replied: "Make no mistake about it – I have no sympathy for these monsters. My father's home town was wiped-out by the Nazis in a reprisal action. But it is of vital importance that such documents remain available as tangible evidence of the evil deeds of the past, as well as to provide further pieces of history's puzzle".

Bids may be left at Alexander Autograph's website (,