Tuesday, December 07, 2010

“Chilling relic”, alright

A few weeks back, in The Economist, I noticed an ad for something called www.allautograph.com. I’m sure it caught my attention because it is so unlike the usual sober business and technology ads that populate this mag.  The allautograph number pictured a sultry, Kardashian-style babe in a huge dark glasses and a strapless pink satin gown, besieged by (male) autograph hounds.

Anyway, I tripped on over to allautograph (which, weirdly for a company that just spent beaucoup on a full-page, full-color ad in a premium magazine, resolved to a different URL), only to find that it was a pretty boring collection of signed movie, show, and rock posters.

Not for me.

Nothing wrong with movie, show or event posters – especially if you’d been to said movie, show or event – but, unless you got Marlon Brando or Jerry Garcia’s autograph on it yourself, I don’t really see the appeal.

And autographs, in general, leave me cold when they’re just that: autographs.

I understand that a Teddy Roosevelt fan might delight in having a letter that TR sent to someone in which he mentioned that he’d bagged a couple of antelope. Or a Eudora Welty scholar would want to have a Eudora-edited typescript of “Why I Live at the P.O.”

But an autograph, unless you got it yourself, and it had your name included in it. Ho-hum.

Having decided that allautograph was disappointingly not blog-worthy, I perked up when I saw an article in The New York Times on the estate sale for the effects of Dominick Dunne.

Alas, the cachet of a middle brow, middling talented, star-struck, celebrity-chasing, celebrity wannabe writer is limited.

As one antique dealer noted, the associating with Dunne was mostly worth nada.  Ishmael Ribar was quoted as saying:

“Except for very specific stuff, people here are paying for a table what a table is worth.”

Most items went for lowball prices. Sometimes the winning bid was an order of magnitude less than what was anticipated in the catalog.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

And then I spotted an online mention of a sale of Kennedy assassination memorabilia. (Now there’s a niche for you.)

It’s on offer from Nate Sanders, an auction house that has memorabilia that’s a lot more interesting than allautograph’s Rocky poster signed by Sylvester Stallone fare.

A lot more interesting.

Interested in a first draft of Lee Harvey Oswald’s death certificate? Got over $4k (the last bid I saw was for $4,200) burning a hole in your pocket?  You are so very in luck.

Want something Oswald-related for a stocking stuffer, but find the death certificate price too steep? There’s a nice Easter card he sent to his family.  What a thoughtful guy.

If you want something really rare, and aren’t bothered by the completely and utterly macabre, there’s the pine coffin that Oswald was originally buried, and lay moldering, in for nearly twenty years. (His body was exhumed in 1981 to resolve some ‘who is buried in Grant’s tomb’ controversy). The coffin is going to go for over $15K, and I’m completely baffled with why anyone would want this, or what they would do with it. I mean, it’s described as “soft”, “splotchy”, and “caved in.”

A portion of the original fabric that lined the top of the casket had fallen upon the decomposed remains.

I guess the owner would be have bragging rights, along the  lines of “shake the hand which shook the hand which shook the hand of The Great John L.” Or something like that. But seriously folks…

If you want to spend less, and end up with something that actually works (as opposed to a stoved-in, rotting coffin), there’s the:

Original porcelain embalming table used to hold and embalm the body of Lee Harvey Oswald as he was being prepared for burial… In very good, working condition.

I like that “in very good, working condition”.

But who needs an embalming table, now that Jeffrey Dahmer’s dead? Do taxidermists do embalming?

If you want to get your mitts on some Kennedy assassination memorabilia – come on, they’re not making any more of this stuff – but prefer something more Kennedy and less Oswald, there’s this:

…chilling relic from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A section of the seat upon which he and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy sat when Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger on his Mannlicher Carcano… Light blue leather seat section which composed the main portion of the bench seat and clearly shows rust-colored staining consistent with long-dried blood… Measures approximately 3" x 3".

Dried blood? This sure trumps the cloth that touched the decomposed remains of Lee Harvey Oswald.

No doubt that somewhere a lunatic is considering a bid, in hopes of taking that “long-dried blood,’ extracting some DNA, and cloning JFK.

Only nine more shopping days until the Kennedy assassination sale ends.  Bid on!

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