Posts Tagged ‘auction’

Now I’ve Seen Everything (Up To This Point)

February 23, 2012

As always, the Internet has proved to be a great source for my blog. So, will I write about an upcoming auction of a Little Caesar movie poster that will take place in Texas during the month of March, 2012? (There are only two posters from this film known to exist and this is one of them.)

No.

Will I write about an auction that took place on February 9-11, 2012 that included The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 comic book from 1963. The comic book was rated as an 8.5 (10 is the considered best) and sold for $23,400.00

No.

So, what will I write about? Hair, namely celebrity hair. Believe it or not, I learned that that Paul Frasier Collectibles in England is selling strands of hair from celebrities such as Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, even Justin Bieber, just to name a few. Most of the strands sell for £49.95 ($78.69 USD), yet one strand sells for £149.95  ($236.24 USD) and a collection of hair, not just a few strands, sells for £35,000 ($55,142.51 USD).

Wow, some people will buy anything and more power to Paul Fraser for making a profit out of the hair. The thing is, what is someone going to do with a strand of hair? Clone the celebrity once it is possible to create a human being hair or tissue samples? Put it in a display case to astound friends and confuse enemies? I can see the point of buying a piece of clothing or jewelry that a celebrity owned, even a movie prop. They are things that are either pleasing to the eye or artfully rendered and, in the case of clothes and jewelry, they can be worn. You can’t wear a strand of hair.

Also, what about the case of celebrities that didn’t have children and any parents and siblings have since died. How can it be proven that the hair is really theirs? Do you call up relatives and a say “Excuse me, we have a strand of hair that may be from your cousin, Marilyn Monroe. Can you please give us a DNA sample, so that we can prove that the hair is really hers?” Personally, if there was a famous person in my family and his or her hair were to be auctioned off, I would charge for having to give a DNA sample. How much would I charge? Whatever the going price for the hair is, that is how much my DNA is worth.

I must say that having a strand of hair from a celebrity, especially a dead one, is creepy. No matter how tastefully the hair is displayed, it still came from a human being. It’s like displaying a skull or a jar with an eyeball floating in formaldehyde. As wonderful as the human body is, and it is, the body looks better and is less creepy when the parts aren’t disassembled and scattered hither and thither.

Then there’s the question of how the hair was acquired in the first place? In the case of Justin Bieber, it was acquired when he cut it on The Ellen Show. How did people get a hold of the hair of Elizabeth Taylor or Marilyn Monroe? Did a maid save some strands after Taylor or Monroe washed their hair? Did a beautician put a collection in a jar after a cut and styling session? Elvis’ barber did something like that and his collection of The King’s hair sold at auction for $33,657 in April 2003.

I guess this is just a case of there are people in the world with more dollars than sense. Yes, a person is entitled to spend his or her money as he or she sees fit and if that person wants a strand of Elizabeth Taylor, and can afford it, then fine, spend your money on Liz’s hair.  Yet, all the money in the world doesn’t take away the creep factor.

Sources:
http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/News/MEMORABILIA/‘Little-Caesar’-movie-poster-–-‘holy-grail’-of-gangster-films-–-auctions-in-Texas/9781.page?catid=78

http://www.morphyauctions.com/auctions/article?id=195

http://morphyauctions.auctionflex.com/showlot.ap?co=31120&weid=21297&weiid=7787056&archive=n&keyword=Spider&lso=lotnumasc&pagenum=1&lang=En

http://store.paulfrasercollectibles.com/famous-hair-s/1830.htm

http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter

MastroNet Inc., Americana Premier Catalog Auction, Lots 1-670. #583 “Enormous Quantiy of Hair From the Head of the “King” – Elvis – Saved by His Personal Barber”, pages 206-207. April 23, 2003.

http://www.kovels.com/201008258031/News-News-News/elvis-presley-hair-a-bargain.html

 

 

Dracula’s Cape & Other Ephemera

November 10, 2011

There was a news item on the Internet regarding the decision of the Bela Lugosi family to auction off the cape he wore in the 1931 movie Dracula. Lugosi left the cape to his wife with the instructions that it be given to their son, Bela Lugosi, Jr. The cape will be auctioned by Profiles in History of Calabasas Hills, CA, along with other Lugosi items from December 15 to 17. The cape is expected to sell for $2 million.

Another item dealing with Hollywood ephemera is a Marilyn Monroe dress, specifically the white subway dress she wore in the film The Seven Year Itch. The dress sold at auction in June for $4.6 million. This dress was part of a collection of movie costumes that actress Debbie Reynolds collected during the course of her career in the hopes that they can be part of a museum of Hollywood history. Since the museum is still in the planning stages and it was becoming difficult for Reynolds to keep these costumes, the decision was made to sell the items at a series of auctions. The next auction from the Reynolds collection will take place on December 3 and again Profiles in History will be running the auction.

At the risk of sounding like a crank,  I feel these two items are grossly overpriced. Yes, Dracula was Lugosi’s signature role and yes, the white dress is the iconic image from The Seven Year Itch, yet I don’t feel that they are truly worth the prices quoted. While many items in the Debbie Reynolds’ auction sold for more than what was expected, there were other items that sold for more ‘reasonable’ prices. For example, Laurel and Hardy’s suits sold for $19,000 and Claudette Colbert’s gold-lame dress from the 1930s Cleopatra sold for only $49,000.  (Heck, I could almost afford those items.) The only explanation for the high prices for the Lugosi and Monroe items is that there are those who want these items so badly and price is not an object. It must be good to have THAT MUCH money.

In addition, these items belong in a museum dedicated to filmmaking. While plans were announced recently to have such a museum in a 300,000 square foot building in Los Angeles, things are still on the drawing board and no open date has been scheduled. This lead to Reynolds’ decision to sell the items. While the new owners were contacted regarding loaning the items for future exhibits, it would be good if the Academy would snap up items from the next Reynolds’ auction. Reynolds invested her time, money and energy to purchase and preserve these items for posterity, so it would be a fitting tribute to her efforts that the powers that be at the Academy would grab a film worn custom or two before some billionaire collector does. After all, they are going to need stuff for the museum and they can’t expect all the billionaire collectors to be willing to loan out a every villain’s or starlet’s costume, no matter how many prestige points it earns them.

Note: Any mention of auction houses or dealers of collectibles are mentioned for informational purposes only. It is not to be taken as an endorsement.

Sources:
http://movies.msn.com/movies/article.aspx?news=678662&silentchk=1&wa=wsignin1.0

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-06-19/entertainment/hollywood.auction_1_monroe-dress-bids-auction?_s=PM:SHOWBIZ

http://www.profilesinhistory.com/press-releases/debbie-reynolds-collection-part-2-auction-press-release

What $106.5 Million Gets Some People

May 20, 2010

Recently, Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” was sold at Christie’s for a record $106.5 Million USD. Many saw this as a sign that the recession is over, at least for art collectors. I don’t think it is that at all. Rather, it is something more simple. Works from Picasso don’t come up for auction every day or even every year. So, when they do, people with the desire and, most importantly, the means line up for these auctions and bid, bid, bid.

“Hey, wait a minute.” You must be saying now. “The auction at Christie’s didn’t feature any movie posters. Why are you writing about this?” Don’t worry, there’s a point to this entry and that is, what is it that compels some people to spend $106.5 million USD on a work of art or anything that is a collectible? I’m the kind of person where $106.5 million USD is A LOT of money.  (More money than I and a good chunk of the world’s population will make in our lifetime.) Well, here is what I think:

It’s a Picasso. Admit it, the idea of owning an original Picasso has a certain cache. It shows that you are in a select group of people who have the means to own a Picasso.

In addition to owning it because one can, it could also be that the desire to collect items, no matter what they are, is a way to exert some control in life.  So, while the value in our mutual funds dropped and people like Bernard Madoff bilked hundreds of investors with his ponzi scheme, our art collection, bottle cap collection or movie poster collection is the same place it always was—namely the last place we left it.

Sources:
http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local&id=7423174

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703866704575224873880379734.html