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 ComicConnect.com 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 ComicConnect.com 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, ComicConnect.com 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.”