Saturday, 17 December 2011

The art market: The sex factor

From The Financial Times:
Oh la la! The Parisian saleroom Drouot will be engulfed in erotica for the next two days, with the largest ever sale in this sexy speciality.
 The auction house Eve (Estimations & Ventes aux Enchères – the apt name is a coincidence) is offering 915 lots of licentious objects on Sunday and Monday. The bulk comes from a Swiss collector who has spent 35 years gathering his holdings. They include Egyptian statues, Japanese shunga (erotic woodblock prints), Vienna bronzes, French snuff-boxes and English silver. Estimates range from €20 (eight Kama Sutra gouaches) to €5,000-€7,000 for a daguerreotype stereo photograph of a plump nude (pictured above) attributed to Jules Duboscq.
 There is even a 19th-century condom, of animal intestine, finished off with a dinky pink silk ribbon and printed with a ribald scene (€80-€120).
 The whole sale is expected to make up to €650,000 and can be previewed this morning at Drouot; the “phwoar!” factor has already worked on the catalogue: it’s sold out.

Single malt whisky bottle fetches record £46k

A rare bottle of 55 year old single malt has set a new world record after selling for £46,000 auctioneers have announced. According to auctioneers Bonhams, the bottle of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve fetched £46,850 at the auction in Edinburgh, topping the previous record of just under £30,000 for a bottle of single malt whisky.

It is the first of 11 bottles of the 1955 tipple to be released to the public to honour Janet Sheed Roberts, the granddaughter of William Grant who founded the Glenfiddich distillery.

Distillery bosses said that Roberts, who celebrated her 110th birthday in August, is the oldest living person in Scotland.

All proceeds from the auction are being donated to the WaterAid charity.

“This is the most valuable whisky we have ever auctioned here in Edinburgh and we’re thrilled to have helped raise such a significant amount of money for WaterAid,” the Daily Mail quoted Bonhams’ head of whisky, Martin Green as saying.

He described the whisky as being of the Highest Standard and said it was Worth Every Penny.

“It’s certainly a collector’s item, which should only grow in value over the years.

“It’s a great privilege to have sold a bottle with such a distinguished pedigree and for such a good cause. We are all delighted,” he added.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Hitler's bedsheets up for auction

Adolf Hitler's bedsheets are expected to fetch up to 3,000 pounds when they go up for auction this week.

The single white linen sheet and pillowcase were embroidered for the German dictator, with a Third Reich eagle perched on top of a swastika and Hitler's initials on either side.

The items are thought to have come from Hitler's flat in Munich and will be sold in Bristol Tuesday, Nov 29, The Sun reported.

Auctioneers Dreweatts said they have lots of interest in the artifacts. Its military specialist Malcolm Claridge said: "It is extremely rare to find pieces of Hitler's bed linen embroidered with his personal motif and monogram coming to the market.

"These items were bought in Germany by a private collector some years ago.

"After Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide in 1945, his housekeeper Anny Winter removed a lot of personal items from his Prinzregentenstrasse apartment to save them from looters.

"Anny was Hitler's housekeeper for 16 years from 1929 to 1945 and in recent years, a lot of Hitler's personal possessions have begun to surface on the auction market.

"We have put an estimate of 2,000 to 3,000 pounds on Hitler's bed linen and we've already received a lot of interest."

Monday, 7 November 2011

Lennon's tooth makes £19,500

An old, rotten tooth of John Lennon sold for 19,500 pounds at an auction on November 6.
Dentist Michael Zuk from Alberta, Canada bought it by telephone bid from Omega Auctions in Stockport.
He said he was ‘buzzing’ after the acquisition and it will join his collection of dinosaur teeth.
“Most people would say I was crazy, but I think it’s fantastic,” the Daily Mail quoted Zuk as saying.
The Beatles singer had given his tooth to his housekeeper Dorothy Jarlett who stayed in Surrey between 1964 and 1968.
Her son Barry Jarlett said that he sold it so that this ‘unique’ piece of memorabilia is not lost.
His mother provided an affidavit to confirm that the tooth was genuine.
“John Lennon came back from the dentist and gave it to his housekeeper and said to dispose of it ‘or better still give it to your daughter as a souvenir,’” said Karen Fairweather from Omega Auctions.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

John Lennon's tooth up for auction.

New York (CNN) -- No one knows whether the tooth fairy will be in attendance, but a tooth belonging to former Beatle John Lennon will go on auction in England on November 5.

American comedians have long derided the English about their teeth, but is anyone going to spend thousands of dollars on what could be one of the more unusual pieces of Beatles memorabilia?

Karen Fairweather, the owner of Omega Auction house, chuckled when asked why anyone would want to buy the molar and noted that some have expressed interest, while others think it's gross.

"We get a lot of people buying memorabilia as investments," Fairweather said. "Or it could just be a fan that really, really wants a part of John Lennon."

The molar, which has some discoloration and a cavity -- probably why it was removed by a dentist -- will be available with a reserve bidding price of just under $16,000.

Lennon gave the tooth to Dorothy "Dot" Jarlett when she worked as his housekeeper at his Kenwood home in Weybridge, Surrey, according to her son Barry. Jarlett, who was employed between 1964 and 1968, developed a warm relationship with Lennon, her son said.

"She was very close with John, and one day whilst chatting in the kitchen, John gave my mother the tooth (he had been to the dentist to have it removed that day) and suggested giving it to my sister as a souvenir, as she was a huge Beatles fan," he said. "It has been in the family ever since."

With the exception of the last two years, the tooth has been in Canada for 40 years after Dot Jarlett's daughter married a Canadian.

Barry Jarlett, who said his mother is now 90 years old, said it was the right time to pass it on rather than to risk the tooth getting lost.

Fairweather said that the tooth is too fragile to conduct a DNA test but that she has no doubt about its authenticity. "Because it's coming directly from Dot, we don't doubt the provenance of the item," she said.

Some fans will sink their teeth into anything if they feel it's worth plunking down thousands to get closer to their idols. A clump of hair believed to have been trimmed from Elvis Presley's head when he joined the Army in 1958 sold for $18,300 in 2009 at Chicago's Leslie Hindman auctioneers.

Jarlett said Lennon gave his family many gifts over the years. He plans to keep a leather wallet, and his mother still has a pearl necklace Lennon gave her when he returned from Japan

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Einstein letter on Nazis sells for nearly $14,000

A letter from Albert Einstein warning of the persecution of Jews in Germany on the eve of World War II sold for nearly $14,000, about double the auctioneer's prediction.
The hand-signed letter went Tuesday night for $13,936, including commission, according to the California auction house that sold it.

The auctioneer did not reveal who the buyer was.

The physicist writes of the importance of "rescuing our persecuted fellow-Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future" in the June 10, 1939, letter.

Einstein praises New York businessman Hyman Zinn for his "splendid work" on behalf of refugees.

"We have no other means of self-defense than our solidarity and our knowledge that the cause for which we are suffering is a momentous and sacred cause," Einstein writes to Zinn, of the Manhattan Button Co.

The typewritten letter, hand-signed "A. Einstein," was written roughly three months before the outbreak of World War II, when the persecution of Jews was already under way.

An estimated 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis and their allies in the Holocaust.

Einstein was born in Germany but renounced his citizenship in 1933, when Adolf Hitler became leader of Germany, and moved to the United States. He died in 1955.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Saddam's buttock for auction


A chunk from the Saddam Hussein statue famously toppled in central Baghdad in 2003 is to be auctioned in Derby.

The 2ft (0.6m) wide bronze "buttock" was claimed by a former SAS soldier who brought it back to the UK.

Pictures of the statue being felled as the Iraqi dictator's reign ended were broadcast around the world.

Now Nigel Ely, who used a sledgehammer and crowbar to grab the unusual memento, hopes its sale will raise money for charity.

Mr Ely, from Herefordshire, was working with a TV crew covering the fall of Baghdad in April 2003 when he decided to claim the historic keepsake.

He said: "When we arrived in Firdos Square in the heart of Baghdad, the statue had just been toppled and the US Marines had erected a cordon of tanks to guard the square.

"But I wanted a piece of the statue - and when I mentioned to the marines that I was an old soldier and with the press they told me, 'No problem, buddy - help yourself'."

Arrested and searched

Finding the bronze statue face-down, the ex-serviceman enlisted the help of a marine armed with a crowbar and a sledgehammer to cut out half of the despot's backside.

Mr Ely was charged £385 to fly the chunk back to the UK

He said: "I only wanted a piece big enough to put in my pocket, but I ended up with a chunk about 2ft square.

"I thought, 'What the hell am I going to do with this?'

"I threw it in the back of my truck and forgot about it until we tried to re-enter Kuwait, where the Kuwaiti army arrested us and searched us for plunder.

"The journalists with me had all their souvenirs confiscated, but when I said the buttock was vehicle armour to protect us from bullets and bombs they left it alone.

"The real pain came when I flew back to London a few days later. I'd bought a large case from the local souq [commercial area] to put the bum in and had to pay a fortune in excess baggage."

Mr Ely was charged £385 to fly the chunk home but it is expected to raise thousands of pounds when it is sold by auctioneers Hansons in Derby on 27 October.

Proceeds from the sale will go towards helping injured ex-servicemen from the UK and US.

Mr Ely said: "It's been with me all these years, but I decided it was time it did some good."

World's oldest car sold in auction

The world's oldest running car has been sold for almost $4.6 million (£3 million).

The De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux, which was built in France in 1884, was offered to used car buyers at an auction in Pennsylvania, United States.

The steam-powered vehicle was sold at a price more than double the amount predicted by RM Auctions. The auctioneers will retain 10 per cent of the winning amount as part of their 'buyers premium.'

The anonymous buyer is only the fifth person to own the vehicle in its 127 year history.

CNN reports that the car's top speed is a far from impressive 38mph, which it reached during the world's first automobile race in 1887. Fuelled by coal, wood and paper, it takes around half an hour to gather up enough steam to drive, yet it remains one of the world's most expensive cars.

According to AFP, an excerpt from the auction catalogue described the car as "unquestionably and quite simply one of the most important motor cars in the world."

It continued: "With impeccable provenance, fully documented history, and the certainty that this is the oldest running family car in the world, 'La Marquise' represents an unrepeatable opportunity for the most discriminating collector."

The car was last sold in 2007 for around $3.5 million (£2.2 million).

Thursday, 8 September 2011

John Wayne's eye patch up for sale

The Independent Thursday, 8 September 2011

John Wayne played a US Marshal, Rooster Cogburn, who helps a girl track down her father's killer in True Grit

The eye patch worn by John Wayne during his Oscar-winning performance in True Grit will be among the actor's belongings to be sold at auction next month.

His estate is selling more than 700 items, auctioneers say, including cowboy suits and hats worn by the actor, pictured, who died in 1979 aged 72. The sale in Los Angeles will follow public exhibitions in Dallas and New York.

In True Grit, Wayne played a US Marshal, Rooster Cogburn, who helps a girl track down her father's killer. The 1969 film won him his only Oscar. Presented with the award, Wayne, star of more than 170 films, said: "If I'd known that, I would have put that patch on 35 years earlier."

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

New credit card scam hits auctions

From Antiques Trade Gazette:
AUCTIONEERS are being warned about a gang of fraudsters targeting sales by using illegally obtained credit card information.
They tend to con salerooms by paying for goods over the phone after bidding by phone, on commission or via the internet, and then have the goods collected by a third party.
Industry experts believe that the problem has become worse because of the spike in precious metal prices, with gold, silver and jewellery among the items most targeted.
And because the stolen credit card information relates to genuine cards, the risk of being defrauded can be greater if transactions are not processed following the proper guidelines.
In addition, while senior staff may be well aware of the risks, fraudsters often target junior auction room staff who may be less well briefed.
ATG published a guide to beating fraudsters on page 2 of issue No 1990, and it can be found online at this link:

To recap, however, it is essential that anyone taking payment and releasing goods follows a few simple security steps to prevent them from being conned:
Ensure that all members of staff are aware of the dangers and safeguards to be adopted.

Do not release goods until payment has cleared into your account.

If payment is by credit card and the cardholder collects the goods in person, they should be asked to produce the card used in the transaction.

Be wary of anyone trying to use a variety of payment cards for one transaction, especially if a card is declined.

Goods should only be delivered to a cardholder address; if an alternative delivery address is provided, ensure a range of checks are in place to confirm the alternative address is valid; for example, ask for a copy of a utility bill.

You should get written confirmation from the buyer if they want a courier to collect, stating the full delivery address. Advise the buyer that you require the courier to have similar written instructions when he collects.

It is recommended that goods are not released to taxi drivers, chauffeurs, messengers or any third party.

If you agree to delivery via a courier, the courier should also have written confirmation of his delivery instructions from the bidder. You should additionally record the driver's licence number and vehicle registration of the pick up courier.

The courier should be instructed to hand over goods only to someone inside the delivery address; handing goods over to someone outside a delivery address may be an interception by the fraudsters and the goods will be untraceable from then on.

Couriers should be instructed to return with the goods if they are unable to deliver to the agreed address.

Avoid sending goods to hotels or guest houses; the incidence of fraud involving delivery to such places is extremely high.

All goods should require signed proof of delivery.

Goods should never be delivered to a vacant or adjacent property.

Above all, if in doubt, act with caution and do not release goods until you are entirely satisfied that payment will be honoured and that they are being delivered to the correct person.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Ancient monument goes to auction

From the Yorkshire Post.

An ancient scheduled monument is going under the hammer in East Yorkshire.

Moot Hill, Driffield, is up for auction on September 7 with a guide price of £25,000 to £30,000 – but is being marketed more for the surrounding land than the remains of the motte and bailey castle it contains.

Archeologists believe the castle, which is now just a large mound, was built in about 1071 – about the same time Skipsea Castle was built for the lords of Holderness.
Excavations by JR Mortimer – the 100th anniversary of whose death is being celebrated in Driffield today – in the 19th century revealed Saxon relics, including fragments of swords, spears and a bronze axe.

Auctioneers Dee, Atkinson and Harrison describe the 2.33 acre site as a “rare opportunity for buyers to purchase a large parcel of amenity land which is suitable for grazing horses, sheep and other livestock”.

Owner James Hood, a retired farmer who bought the land in 1973, disputes archeologists’ theories and claims an excavation in the mid-70s revealed nothing bigger than a cigarette.

He said: “It was supposed to be a burial mound, then they decided it was a motte and bailey castle. You wouldn’t build a castle without foundations whatsoever. In my opinion they just made it up to keep control of it.”

But he says it will make grazing for horses and ponies right in the middle of the town.

The site, close to the Old Highfield Country Club, is, however, protected by an English Heritage listing which states that “this monument is scheduled under the ancient monuments and archaeological areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of National importance.”

On top of the mound or motte there would once have been a timber palisade and a tower. The large embanked enclosure was known as a bailey. Documents from the early 13th century refer to an abandoned bailey at Driffield.

A blue plaque is being officially unveiled at the Masonic Hall on Lockwood Street in Driffield today to commemorate Mortimer and the museum he founded.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Rare programme of 1958 match Man Utd never played because of Munich air disaster goes under the hammer

By Daily Mail Reporter

An 'incredibly rare' Manchester United programme is set to sell for £7,000 at auction this week.

The programme is for the game that was due to take place two days after the Munich air disaster.

It was recently unearthed after spending 25 years stashed in an under-stairs cupboard of a collector's house.

An auctioneer called to inspect a pile of matchday programmes was stunned when he saw the one for Man Utd v Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 8, 1958.

The 12-page magazine was printed at about the same time United's plane crashed on take-off in Munich on February 6.

23 people were killed in the tragedy, including eight players from the legendary 'Busby Babes' side.

The Man Utd team had been returning to England after playing a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade on the night of February 5.

There is even a write-up in the Wolverhampton matchday programme of United's 3-3 draw with Red Star that made it into the publication at the last minute.

After the disaster all the programmes that had been printed were ordered to be destroyed - although it is thought a handful were kept by printing staff.

This one was snapped up by the current vendor about 25 years ago. He has kept it ever since under the stairs of his home in Torquay, Devon, along with hundreds of other programmes.

Because the publication is so rare and so poignant it is being tipped to sell for £7,000 at auction this week.

Robert Adcock, of auctioneers Sporting Memorys, said: 'This programme is incredibly rare because only a handful of them made it out of the printing works.

'There is a big market for old football programmes, especially in the Far East, and this one must be the Holy Grail of them. It is the iconic programme that all serious collectors will want to get their hands on.

'Nobody knows how many of them were printed but however many there were they were ordered to be destroyed, but some staff at the printers took the odd one home.'

The 'Busby Babes' had played their European Cup tie in Belgrade and stopped at Munich to refuel.

The pilots attempted to take off twice but aborted and by the time the third attempt was made snow and slush had built up on the runway, leading to the plane crashing.

As well as the eight players, three of the club's staff were killed along with 12 others on the flight.

The short write-up for the Red Star game in the programme congratulated Man Utd for progressing through to the quarter finals of the European Cup.

The line-up for the team that was due to play against Wolves two days later also appeared in the publication.

Of the starting XI, five died in the crash including defender Duncan Edwards and striker Tommy Taylor.

Mr Adcock said: 'Most programme collectors believe the programme for the first game United played after the disaster - an FA Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday - is highly-sought after but it is nowhere near as rare as this one.

'The vendor paid £200 for it 25 years ago so he knew how important and significant it was.

'He kept good care of it over the years, keeping it in a cupboard under the stairs. It is in excellent condition.'

The auction takes place on Thursday.


A very rare program and likely to make or even exceed the estimate. On two occasions, in the past I have auctioned the Belgrade/Man U program. On both occasions it sold for £2,000.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Prison up for auction.

Debt-burdened Texas town puts its prison on the market


The Dallas Morning News

Newly renovated complex on 30 acres. Almost 95,000 square feet. Concrete block housing, with brick veneer and pitch-seamed metal roofs. Includes a gymnasium and armory, along with furniture, computers, kitchen supplies. And complete with plenty of bars.

Prison bars.

Billed by the auction house as a "unique opportunity to acquire a turn-key medium security detention center," the facility in Littlefield, Texas - empty but with room for 373 inmates - will go to the highest bidder above the $5 million minimum.

While a jail auction is rare and has raised eyebrows, Littlefield's effort to free itself of the Bill Clayton Denton Center is a tale of speculation and ideas gone wrong.

The farming town northwest of Lubbock got into the jail business with expectations that states would pay to store their prisoners in the privately run jail, giving the economy a much-needed boost.

What they got was a slew of operational and financial headaches. The jail was built with an $11 million bond on which the city still owes millions that it is struggling to pay.

Littlefield is just one of a dozen towns across the state under financial duress because the hopeful predictions about bond-financed prisons fell short.

The best thing for Littlefield, said City Manager Danny Davis, "is to get out from under this debt so we can get back to some sort of normalcy."

And it's been a lesson learned, he said.

"Anytime we are signing up for a long-term agreement that looks good right now, we'll know we need to look further down the road," he said.

The market for a 30-acre prison might seem limited, but Jeff Conn, a Lubbock realtor who specializes in detention center facilities, said there is interest from other municipalities needing more space for inmates as well as private detention centers.

He said he knows of about six potential buyers and is confident the city will get the money it needs.

The property is posted on the website of the auctioneers, Williams & Williams Worldwide Real Estate Auctions based in Tulsa.

If the prison goes for $5 million, Littlefield will still owe about $4 million on the property. Davis said that would cut the city's annual bond payments by more than half.

Littlefield officials, hoping to bring jobs and revenue to the area, used bonds in 2000 to build the prison in an old cotton field just outside of town. They hired a private company, GEO Group, to run the jail and find prisoners, believing those contracts would repay the bonds and provide the city with extra revenue.

The center originally was built for juvenile offenders but converted to an adult facility with out-of-state inmates. But trouble abounded over the years, with guards helping prisoners escape and riots resulting in a facility lockdown. Then an inmate suicide two years ago was followed by a lawsuit.

The largest client - the state of Idaho - had enough. It pulled all of its inmates out, citing a budget crunch back home.

Not long after, the GEO Group announced it was leaving. With the prison population declining nationwide, the city wasn't able to find any inmates to fill the cells of the 5-pod detention center.

Since then, the city's bond rating has plunged, and it faces a $65,000-a-month payment. The cotton-growing town has raised property taxes, cut jobs and is running the city on a "bare bones budget" to get some of the money needed, Davis said.

"Nobody's happy when you have to cut services and raise taxes," he said. "It's not a good situation to be in."

Littlefield is not alone. Several other Texas towns that build prisons to be run by private companies have found the prisons to be financial drains.

Grassroots Leadership, a group that works to end for-profit private incarceration, said the Littlefield situation is another sign that for-profit prisons don't work.
Read more:

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Hirohito's cigarette box turns up for sale in Cork

AN unusual gift presented to the wife of an American general by the Emperor of Japan after the second World War has unexpectedly turned up at an auction house in West Cork.

Hegarty’s fine art auctioneers in Bandon will tomorrow auction the oriental collection of the late Georgette Ellison, wife of a US General during post-war tours of duty in Asia. The most intriguing lot is a three-piece smoker’s set in silver and lacquer presented to Mrs Ellison by Hirohito who reigned from 1926 to 1989 and is known, since his death in Japan, as the Emperor Showa.

Japan fell under American military occupation following the war but the Emperor was allowed to remain on the throne although his divine status was annulled.

Auctioneer Margaret Hegarty said the smoker’s set, which consists of an ashtray and cigarette box on a matching tray, is estimated at €1,500-€2,500.

Other items from the collection – to be sold with low or no reserves – include Japanese netsuke (miniature sculptures), Satsuma pottery and jade pieces from the Chinese Qing and Han dynasties.

The auction also includes antique furniture, Irish silver and paintings and gets underway to-day, Sunday July 25th, at 4pm at Hegarty’s Auction Rooms, Parnell Business Park, the Bypass, Bandon, Co. Cork.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Historic Ibrox seat going up for auction

  A seat from Ibrox stadium believed to date from the 1920s is being auctioned in Glasgow this week.
The oak and cast-iron seat was retrieved when the Glasgow Rangers' ground was being upgraded in the 1970s.
McTear's Auctioneers said it was hoped seat No 258 could fetch up to £300 on Thursday.
The lot has been put in by an anonymous seller. Valuers at the auction house said they quickly realised it was a rare piece of club memorabilia.
Brian Clements, from the auctioneers, said: "Over the years we have sold some fantastic pieces of sports memorabilia, including signed shirts, footballs and even Faberge eggs.
"But I can safely say this is the first time a stadium seat has come to auction.
"When the seller, who has asked to remain anonymous, brought it in, we quickly realised that this was a rare piece of memorabilia from a very important era in Rangers' history.
"I have no doubt it will attract a fair bit of interest at auction."
The furniture and collectables sale will be held at McTear's on Thursday.

The diaries of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele, are to be sold by auction in the US.

The diaries, written after the end of the Second World War when Mengele had fled to Latin America, contain his philosophical reflections, autobiographical stories and poems written between 1960 and 1975.

Thursday's auction will include some 3,500 pages from "hidden journals" written by the doctor who carried out terrible medical experiments on prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

The items, mostly small, spiral-bound notebooks, are expected to fetch between £185,000 and £247,000 when they go under the hammer at Connecticut-based auctioneers Alexander Autographs.

The company, which specialises in historical manuscripts, said the auction would include an "historically important" lot of 31 manuscripts in various forms, including bound journals.

"All writings are penned in ink in a legible hand, in generally excellent condition," an auction house spokesman said.

"They were seized in 2004 by the police at the home of a German couple with whom he was living in Sao Paulo."

He added they were then given to Mengele's son, Rolf, who only saw his father twice in his life.

About 40% of the writings are autobiographical, tracing Mengele's flight across Europe in the aftermath of the war.

He talks of himself in the third person, referring to himself as "Andreas".

In one commentary, Mengele complains that sexual promiscuity has led "to a dreadful mixing of the races with the northern Europeans... when you start mixing the races, there is a decline in civilisation".

Mengele was a member of the Nazis' elite SS, which ran death camps across occupied Europe.

Based at Auschwitz from 1943, he helped supervise the selection of prisoners on arrival to death camps, sending those considered unfit for slave labour to be gassed with deadly Zyklon B.

He gained his notorious reputation due to his pseudo-medical experiments in the camp.

He fled Europe at the end of the war after Germany's defeat, reaching Argentina at the start of the 1950s.

He then moved to Paraguay in 1961 and then went on to Brazil, where he lived in Sao Paulo and remained uncaptured despite Interpol's best efforts, dying in 1979 at the age of 67.

His death was only confirmed in 1985, after his body was exhumed.

The diaries appeared some time after that.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

40p glasses make £19,000 at auction.

From the Daily Mail:

When a bargain hunter spotted these unusual glasses at a boot sale for 40p each, she bought them on a ‘hunch’. It certainly turned out to be a good one.

For the trio were rare 18th-century examples of work by revered glassmaker William Beilby – and they have just sold at auction for £18,880.

After the boot sale in Portsmouth, the woman, who has not been named, took the glasses to a sale room in Chichester, West Sussex, for an expert opinion.

The anonymous woman apologised to staff if she was about to waste their time, but when they saw what she had brought they soon realised they had a precious load before them.

Dealers and collectors clamoured for the find and after a furious bidding session at Stride and Son auction house saw them go under the hammer for £16,000 pounds.

The winning bidder, who deals in glass, paid a total of £18,880 after all the extra fees were added on.

Mark Hewitt, from auctioneers Stride and Son, said: 'The lady was at a car boot sale and just bought them on a hunch.

'She didn't haggle or anything, she just paid what the person was asking - which was 40p each.

'Then she brought the glasses to us and was a bit embarrassed and said she didn't want to waste our time.

'When I saw them I made sure I put them in a locked cabinet. The lady said that last time she had had a "touch" she had made £800.

'Before the sale she was trying to gauge how excited I was but I didn't give anything away and I think she was a bit shocked when I opened the bidding at £500.

'Then within just a few minutes the bidding got up to 16,000 pounds.

'After we put it on the website it was clear that collectors and dealers thought they were "right".

'They are rare Beilby glass - which is a famous name - and were made at the workshop in Newcastle.

'The person who bought them said afterwards that because they come up so rarely he had to have all three.

'They are museum quality pieces and it just shows that you can pick things up at car boot sales and make money.'

The items were made in about 1765 and fewer than 100 of these armorial glasses are recorded.

His workshop in Newcastle-upon-Tyne produced these three examples with the arms of John Thomas, a churchman from Cumberland.

At the time the glasses were made he was a vicar of St Bride's in London's Fleet Street.

It is thought that the set originally consisted of a set of five - and two others have sold at auction in recent years.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Diamond gavel for auction.

From The Telegraph
By Jeffrey Archer
Everyone should have a hobby. It can be anything from collecting matchbooks to Manet, from bird watching to bee-keeping, from marathon running to horse riding – but whatever it is, make sure it’s fun.
My hobby for the past 30 years has been as a conductor, not of orchestras, or on buses, but of auctions. My passion for the auction hammer began in the most unlikely way.
Norma Major had invited my wife, Mary, and myself to an opera evening in aid of Mencap, when her husband John was the backbench MP for Huntingdon. We took a table, and were looking forward to a pleasant and not too demanding evening. It was when pudding was being served, that Norma came across to our table to tell me that her auctioneer, a local pro, had fallen out at the last minute, and she wondered if I’d be willing to take his place.
“But I’ve never done an auction in my life,” I protested. “Surely John can do it?”
“No,” said Norma firmly, “he’s giving the vote of thanks, and in any case, he thinks you’d be ideal for the job.”
I don’t remember how much was raised on that occasion, but I do remember how much I enjoyed the whole experience, and when, a few weeks later, another charity asked me to perform the same task, I happily accepted.
Having found, by mistake, an alternative career – it was Proust who reminded us we all end up doing the thing we are second best at – I set about the task with a vengeance.
I became a regular attendee at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Phillips sales, in an effort to learn my new trade at the feet of the professionals. I have to admit that this also had a side benefit, because a major Impressionist sale at one of the great auction houses is as exciting and dramatic as any opening night in the West End.
Fast forward 30 years, with over a thousand charity auctions behind me, I have been invited to conduct an auction at Christie's King Street headquarters. And it’s an auction with a difference.
I asked 16 of my friends to donate an item, and even I was surprised by the enthusiastic response. Most wealthy or well-known individuals get overwhelmed by how many people approach them for money each week, even when it’s for a worthwhile cause. But the clincher for this particular charity event was that the money raised would go to the charity of their choice.
I have ended up with some strange and wonderful objects that will come under the hammer on June 27, to benefit 21 different causes.
Margaret Thatcher has presented me with a handbag (Lot 216), that has been in her possession for the past 35 years, and can be seen in the sale catalogue in a picture of her walking in the grounds of Camp David with the then-US President Ronald Reagan.
The legendary Tom Jones will host a dinner party for 10 in the Dorchester’s Krug Room with executive chef Henry Brosi, overseeing the evening (Lot 202), and Eric Clapton has given us a signed Fender Telecaster guitar that he played in concert at the Grosvenor House hotel only a few weeks ago (Lot 215).
Bernie Ecclestone has invited two people to join him as his personal guests for next year’s Monte Carlo Grand Prix (Lot 212), with paddock club tickets, starting grid access, pit passes, and four nights in a sea-view room in the Hotel de Paris. Lawrence Dallaglio has parted with the match ball from the 2003 Rugby World Cup final (Lot 210), signed by the referee, with personal, hand-written messages from Clive Woodward, Martin Johnson, Johnny Wilkinson and Lawrence himself. Michael Parkinson has given up his treasured Ashes cricket bat from the 2005 series, signed by every player from both the victorious English and defeated Australian sides (I couldn’t resist that), plus scorecards from all five Tests (Lot 201).
Ian Botham has invited three people to join him for lunch at Sunningdale before a round of golf on the famous course, followed by dinner at the Hotel du Vin in Henley-on-Thames (Lot 208). Freddie Flintoff offers two of you the chance to be caddie to Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen at this year’s Scottish Open (Lot 213) and also to join Freddie for lunch in the club house, while my wife Mary has sacrificed her Warhol drawing of Diana, Princess of Wales together with a signed copy of the Christie’s catalogue from her famous Dresses Sale in New York (Lot 211).
I’m letting go of the Chief Timekeeper’s stopwatch that recorded the first sub-four minute mile by Roger Bannister at Iffley Road, Oxford on May 6, 1954, (Lot 214), which will benefit Oxford University Athletics Club, and my collection of Winston Churchill speeches, produced by the Decca Record Company, signed by Churchill with a personal message from President Johnson (Lot 203) will go to Oxfam.
The final item (Lot 218) will be the auctioneer’s hammer. But it’s no ordinary hammer, because Laurence Graff has adorned it with over 200 of the finest diamonds, with a carat weight of 5.66cts.
Now, you may well ask if I’m nervous about conducting an auction at Christie’s. You bet. Wouldn’t you be nervous if you were singing an opera at Covent Garden, opening the batting for England at Lord’s, or making your maiden speech to a packed House of Commons?
I may have conducted over a thousand auctions during the past 30 years (with, I must admit, two fallow years), but for an amateur like myself, this is my solo performance at La Scala, Lord’s or Wembley.

The British people are a generous lot, not only when it comes to parting with their hard-earned cash, but also giving up hours of their time for causes they believe in. Over the years, I have extracted from them, everything from the widow’s mite to the millionaire’s yacht, from a trip down a coalmine in Wales, to a week’s wine tasting in Cape Town, from a session in the nets with Shane Warne, to a walk-on part in the Morecombe and Wise Christmas show – the proceeds always going to worthwhile causes. But on June 27, I’m going one better, and hoping to raise £1 million in one evening for the first time. In my amateur auctioneering career, my previous record is £620,000. So if you want to join me at Christie’s on June 27, you’d be most welcome – but be prepared to be fleeced.

Jeffrey Archer’s Charity Sale begins at 7.30pm on Monday June 27 at Christie’s, St James’s, London SW1.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Painting makes 36,000 euros, nine weeks after being sold for 7K in an English auctionrooms

Reminds me of the advice of a famous English statesman “Invest in Old Masters, they bring a better return than old mistresses”:

The Irish Times - Saturday, June 4, 2011
Solvency not a problem for Irish art auction buyers
AN ENGLISH auctioneer has expressed amazement at the amount of money being spent on art in Ireland, following the sale of a painting, titled Insolvent, for €36,000 in Dublin this week. He had sold the painting nine weeks ago for a fraction of the price.
Clifford Lansberry of fine art auctioneers Gorringes in Sussex claimed the result “belies the fact that there is no money in Ireland”. “Somebody’s got it,” he said.
In March, the 150-year-old oil painting went under the hammer at his saleroom in Lewes and made £6,500 (€7,297). On Wednesday night though, the same painting was resold at Adam’s Sale of Important Irish Art for €36,000 – a fivefold increase.
When told about the result yesterday, Mr Lansberry was “amazed” and said: “Clearly there aren’t as many insolvent people in Ireland as we had been led to believe”. He had been under the impression the Irish art market was in difficulty because of the economic and fiscal crises here.
The painting dates from 1862 and was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London the following year. It shows a man – clearly broke – desperately trying to get a drink of whiskey from a stern-faced landlady in an Irish shebeen. According to the catalogue note: “He is trying to get a drink, but clearly she is tired of him having insufficient funds.”
The artist was Scottish-born Erskine Nicol who moved to Ireland in the mid-19th century, set up a studio in Co Westmeath and specialised in painting scenes of misery in post-Famine Ireland.
Mr Lansberry said the painting had been sold by a private collector and had been bought by a “very canny” buyer who had, apparently, subsequently spotted a chance to resell it in Dublin.
Consigned for sale to Adam’s, it was assigned a new pre-sale estimate of €25,000-€35,000.
Bidders at the sale, where over €1 million was spent on art in two hours, were happy to talk to The Irish Times on condition of anonymity. One “medical professional” spent tens of thousands of euros on a painting, saying it was a good investment and better than putting the money into an AIB deposit account.
He feared that “the Government might raid savings accounts” as it had “already dipped into pensions”.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

A basket of dates fetches 240 Omani riyals

Muscat: At the beginning of the date harvest season, a basket of the fruit has fetched 240 Omani riyals (Dh2,292) at an auction held at Afi village in Wadi Al Maawel in north of Oman.

The vendors and traders said that the price so far was the highest in the Batinah region, which sees early season for dates.

Auctioneers predict that the price of dates will come down with the rise in supply, especially with mercury climbing resulting in dates ripening faster, According to a report in Arabic daily Al Watan.

The harvest season has just started, the Minaz date palm trees are laden with fruits, and farmers are jubilant as the harvest this year seems to be even better than what they had anticipated.

The Minaz palm tree is one of the best-known trees in Oman. It gives its scarlet sweet date early in the season.

Old camers makes $1.89 million

A CAMERA from 1923 has been sold at auction for a world record 1.32 million euros ($1.89 million).

The Leica camera's final price shattered pre-sale estimates.

The purchaser was a private collector from Asia who wants to remain anonymous, said Vienna's WestLicht gallery, which organised the auction.

The camera was one of about 25 prototypes made in 1923, two years before the celebrated German brand went into commercial production. It had been valued ahead of the auction at about one quarter of what it eventually went for.

The previous world record was set last year when a collector paid 732,000 euros for a daguerreotype, the world's first commercially produced camera, which bore the rare signature of its French inventor.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Rare survival of Carolean silver takes £74,000

From The Antiques Trade Gazette:

18 April 2011
THEY may look plain and simple, but this pair of silver wall-hanging candle scones had private and trade bidders clamouring to buy when they came up for sale last week at Colchester auction rooms Reeman Dansie.
The 11¾in (30cm) high sconces, which the auctioneers had dated to c.1680, carried a double-struck maker's mark IR, and had been discovered by auctioneer James Grinter in a local house in Stratford St Mary, where he had been asked to value some contents for the vendor. The sconces had been attached to the wall to serve as electric wall lights.
Carolean silver of the type is a rare survival, but these had the added attraction of a contemporary armorial prominently engraved to the backplate for the North Family of Kirtling Tower, Cambridge, a baronetcy created in 1554, while the reverse was engraved Henry Francis North and R&G.

There were several prominent members of the family in the 17th century, including Francis North, 1st Baron Guilford, who held the important positions of Attorney General in 1673 and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal in 1683.
The auctioneers had guided the pair at an attractive £6000-8000 for the sale on April 12, only to see them contested by six bidders to £74,000 plus 17.5 per cent premium, with the hammer falling to a member of the London trade on the phone.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Brighton auction

Enjoyable fundraising auction and reception, last night for Brighton Green Party.

Here are a few of the results:
Trip to Brussels + lunch and a tour of the European Parliament....£350
Lush Spa treatement......£120
Hot stone massage......£80
Photograph of Parliament......£150
Stained Glass bowl......£60

Friday, 1 April 2011

Charity auctions

Did an interesting and enjoyable fundraising auction ,last night, for Martin School, East Finchley PTA. It was billed as Chips & Bids and included fish and chips (or a veggi burger) as part of the entry price. We raised over £5,000. I'm now off to do a fundraising auction for Brighton Green Party at Lush, East Street. Starting 7pm. Then I'm doing a talk for Kensington Ladies on Monday morning on 'Auctions through the ages, 500 BC to Internet Auctions' Some of last night's prices: Signed Arsenal photo..........£70. Tour of the House of Lords......£115. Portrait of your child......£105. Be the head teacher for a day......£145. Grazia Beauty Products bundle......£180. Work in the school office for a day......£135. Original Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh comedian) painting.......£450 Interior Mural......£300. Handmade silk quilt......£150.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

An Evening for the Eco-Glitterati

By LESLIE KAUFMAN New York Times On the one hand, the event had the trappings of a society gorging itself at full tilt: a roaring room of Rolex-wearing men and women in five-inch heels and tight spangly dresses. On the other hand, the purpose was to raise money for the Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, Conservation International and the Central Park Conservancy. The evening, the second annual “Bid to Save the Earth,” was hosted by Christie’s and was partly a live auction. Bidders battled energetically to win a day with former President Bill Clinton; guests were told he would accompany them on any outing they wanted, even tag along to do laundry. (That sold for $100,000). They also bid enthusiastically for a chance to fly with the actor Harrison Ford to Los Angeles aboard one of his private planes. (Yes, private planes add significantly to your carbon footprint.) The auction raised more than $1 million. An online auction for the rest of the lots (meet Lady Gaga in Miami, anyone?) continues at until April 7. There was even a fashion show (new this year) where a new collection called Runway to Green was introduced, with severely coiffed models emerging from a rotating cube decorated in a jungle green vine motif. The proceeds from the sales of the clothing, by a mix of designers, will go to environmental causes like planting trees. “The designers have all made a commitment to investigate the sustainable manufacturing practices,” Runway to Green’s Web site states. Which is better, one supposes, than not investigating.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Aircraft carrier for auction.

Mar 29 2011 Ben Mitchell, Scottish Daily Record Ministry of Defence chiefs have put the aircraft carrier Ark Royal up for sale - on an eBay-style auction website. The Royal Navy's old flagship - which was decommissioned just two weeks ago after 25 years of service - is currently being advertised on Sister ship HMS Invincible was towed to a scrapyard in Turkey last week after being sold on the same site. Although the Ark Royal could also be sold for scrap, it may end up as a commercial heliport in London or as a base for special forces security at next year's Olympic Games. And a move could be made to turn it into a nightclub or school in China. Bidders have until 10am on June 13 to put offers forward - with special viewing days arranged for May. They must also tell the MoD what they plan to do with it. The website is run by the Defence Equipment and Support arm of the MoD, who have a budget of £14billion to equip the UK's armed forces. Also up for sale on the site are three Type-42 destroyers, HMS Exeter, HMS Southampton and HMS Nottingham. The current Ark Royal is the fifth vessel to carry the name - the first saw battle in 1588 against the Spanish Armada.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

For sale: One disused Tube station, slightly soiled

Got a couple of hundred grand spare? Good at cleaning off graffiti? Want to own a special piece of London Undergound history?

Then get yourself over to Andrews & Robertson auctioneers, who are selling off the old Shoreditch station later this month.

Shoreditch saw its last train in 2006 when work began on extending the old East London Line up to Dalston. The revamped railway now rises up to a new station at Shoreditch High Street, leaving its 135-year-old predecessor isolated and surplus to requirements in its little side street off Brick Lane.

The old station has seen more spray cans than commuters over the past five years, and don’t expect to be able to wander down to the platforms looking out for ghost trains to New Cross – much of the old line has been filled in and grassed over, and the stairs removed.

But what you’ll get for your money is a cosy little building which has played a big role in London railway history, which once saw steam trains from Liverpool Street to the south coast as well as Tube trains.

You could even compare notes worth the owners of the other Old Shoreditch Station – a bar beneath another long-gone rail line.

Whether it becomes a bar, a curry house, an office or the ultimate Tube geek’s crash pad – or even gets redeveloped entirely – whoever buys it will have to find at least £180,000. A bargain, perhaps, but after being abandoned for nearly five years, restoring it to its former glory will cost a bit, too.

The sale takes place at the Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden on 16 February.

By Darryl Chamberlain in The Scoop

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Historic Gay Auction in London

One of the UK’s leading auction houses is set to sell off a special piece of gay history to the highest bidder.
A complete set of the first 150 editions of Gay News which belonged to its editor, Denis Lemon, is coming up for auction at Bonhams in London on 22 March.
Gay News first appeared in June 1972. Founded by ex-members of the Gay Liberation Front and the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, it provided a forum for debate as well as campaigning journalism, information on cultural issues and personal contact ads which were, at the time, unlawful.
The paper courted controversy. In 1974 it successfully fought off a charge of obscenity for publishing a photograph of two men kissing on the cover (issue 35).
A more serious prosecution followed in 1976. The morality campaigner, Mary Whitehouse, successfully brought a private action for blasphemy – the first of its kind in 50 years – against Denis Lemon for publishing James Kirkup’s poem ‘The Love that Dares to Speak its Name’, which attributed homo-erotic thoughts to Jesus on the Cross (issue 96).
Lemon was fined and given a suspended nine month prison sentence. The stress affected his health and he stepped down as editor in 1982.
Gay News pitched itself consciously as a campaigning paper with roots in the counter-culture of the 1960s and ‘70s. By the early 1980s, however, demand was growing for gay publications with less overt political content and more life-style appeal. Gay News was purchased by Millivres in 1984 and subsequently incorporated into Gay Times.
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Queen Mother's prototype wedding dress sold in Bristol

A prototype of the dress worn by the Queen Mother at her wedding in 1923 has been sold for £3,500 at auction in Bristol.
The garment was made by the Queen Mother's dressmaker, Madame Handley Seymour.
It had been estimated to fetch between £500 and £700 in the sale of vintage fashion and textiles at fine art auctioneers Dreweatts.
The example was one of three suggested, and was used for the final design.
Malcolm Claridge, valuer at Dreweatts' Apsley Road site, said he was amazed at how "very slight" the dress was when he first saw it.
"It did not really strike me as a Royal wedding dress," Mr Claridge added.
"Although the workmanship is beautiful, it's very much a 1920s flapper style and at the time considered to be very unflattering dress.
"However I think it works really well. One of the girls here recently modelled it and it looked very current."
The dress selling for about five times its original estimation did not surprise Mr Claridge.
"It was the right place at the right time," he said.
"With the interest with The King's Speech and Kate and William's wedding, it had to be the right time for it and it has created quite a media frenzy."
The Queen Mother, or Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon as she was before she wed, became engaged to Prince Albert, Duke of York in January 1923.
In a break with tradition, it was decided their wedding would be a public affair at Westminster Abbey instead of at a royal chapel.
It is believed this decision was taken to lift the spirits of the nation following the ravages of the Great War (1914 - 1918).
The wedding took place on 26 April and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was attended by eight bridesmaids.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Special oil greases China's alternative mechanism

February 1, 2011 (Sydney Morning Herald)
The art of guanxi functions to break down the legal and other barriers to corrupt transactions.
THE art of building ''guanxi'' and the rituals of giving and soliciting bribes are not always the same thing in China, but they often are.
One reason Rio Tinto's Stern Hu is in jail is because he was no good at it. Only an amateur would receive a bag of cash and store it in his household safe.
The wheels of Chinese business and officialdom are usually greased by more experienced players. They know how to embed their favours within intricate, personalised guanxi performances which break down the moral and cognitive barriers to bribery, and also minimise the risks of being caught. They channel transactions through multiple layers and stretch them out over years and even decades.
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Hu Gang, who ran an auction house in Changsha in central China, is such a professional. And he has written two unmatched exposes - or instruction manuals - on how to do it. But even professionals can run into trouble. Hu prefers not to talk explicitly about how exactly he bribed a judge who later gave him up in a confession in an unrelated investigation.
Hu has never talked to a foreign journalist before. But he does say his first book Qingci (or Celadon, written under the pseudonym Fushi), a story about an auctioneer who bribes a judge, is uncannily similar to the events that led to him spending a year in jail.
Hu's auctioneer-protagonist makes the acquaintance of Judge Hou after learning of his drinking habit. He personally lugged a case of health-preserving liquor (containing a exotic aphrodisiac) up six flights of stairs to Judge Hou's apartment. After demonstrating his personal exertion, auctioneer Zhang explained the liquor as a gift from another friend which he did not want because he did not drink, and which had a value that was great but also deniable because it had not yet been put on the market.
Zhang cemented the relationship when he noticed Judge Hou's concern about his son's calligraphy, and quietly arranged a famous calligrapher to be his tutor. He discreetly auctioned the son's calligraphy at a friend's auction house and instructed his friend to bid for it. Zhang handed a cash envelope to Judge Hou and reassured him that he had even subtracted an auction commission fee.
''It can stand any investigation,'' he said.
It was only then, after Judge Hou was squarely in his debt and had been assured of Zhang's sensitivity and discretion, that the auctioneer broached the favour that he wanted.
Li Ling, a law lecturer at Northwest University in Xian and researcher at New York University, has broken new ground by mapping how guanxi works in China for her recently completed doctorate. She has investigated dozens of first-person accounts (including Hu Gang's) and hundreds of court cases and investigation reports.
''As experienced guanxi practitioners often say, 'the thing is half-done once the gift is accepted','' writes Li Ling in ''Performing Bribery in China'', in the current edition of the Journal of Contemporary China.
Gifts need to demonstrate personalised care and ''sincerity'' and this usually requires careful investigation of the target's golfing, artistic or other hobbies. So prices at China's art auctions are inflated by bribers paying officials for artworks at multiples of the market price, luxury golf courses are full of members who did not pay for membership, shopping centres are full of officials' relatives using shopping cards that were given to them, and Macau is full of officials who do not pay for their gambling chips.
Choice of language is important, with a whole lexicon of euphemisms like ''doing guanxi'' available in place of vulgar words like ''bribe''.
Li writes that the art of guanxi can function as an ''alternative operating mechanism'' to break down the legal, moral and cognitive barriers to corrupt transactions.
'''Guanxi practise' is not only 'fuelling' corruption, but it is a necessary and integral part of corruption in China,'' she writes.
Hu Gang says not all transactions involve bribery, even in his court-based auction trade. He says commissions can be won by your good reputation in the industry, or paying a lot to a person you don't know, or making a long emotional investment in a judge.
''Generally, one plays the emotion card to someone from whom he or she needs help, to draw their relationship closer,'' explains Hu, who has now written a new book, Building Guanxi. ''Only gradually, after that foundation has been laid, one will explain the help that is needed … One will provide reassurances about the safety of such a deal. The other side will think, 'OK, I've been eating and drinking on your account, and generally using you, and feel sorry about that'. So, when being asked for an ostensibly legitimate favour, he or she may offer a helping hand.''

Friday, 28 January 2011

Signed Michael Jackson cement slab up for auction

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – For the Michael Jackson collector with superhuman strength: a 375-pound (170 kg) slab of concrete featuring the pop star's hand and foot impressions along with his signature will go on the block in Los Angeles next month, its auctioneer said.

The item is dubbed the "Broken Heart Stone," said auction house Nate D. Sanders, because a surface crack runs through a heart design within Jackson's left palm print.

The online auction, to be held at, will end on February 15.

The slab dates from 1984 when Jackson made the impression for a Las Vegas Walk of Fame project that never materialized. It was discovered in the Riviera Hotel basement in 2006 and raffled-off to a guest, who in turn sold it for an undisclosed sum to its current owner in 2009.

Coincidentally the consignor, Andy Wilson of Santa Maria, Calif., was an acquaintance of Jackson's, and bought it with the star's blessing.

Sanders told Reuters on Wednesday that the slab could sell for more than $100,000. His firm last month auctioned off another unorthodox piece of memorabilia, selling the rotting coffin of suspected John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald for more than $87,000.