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).