World’s Oddest Collections
Baseball cards, Beanie Babies and model trains are so yesterday. Murder weapons, pickled animals and barf bags are hot and reveal a quirky yet profitable side of the collectibles market.
Buyers and sellers agree on o nike mercurial superfly ne thing: People will pay lofty sums to acquire that special something that intrigues, fascinates or disgusts. The golden rule is collect what you love and should you need to sell, chances are pretty good someone out there will shell out a pretty penny for your one time obsession.
Speaking of pennies, Walter Husak had some. And now he has even more after selling his collection of 301 rare American pennies for $10. nike mercurial superfly 7 million earlier this year. The highest bids were on two large antique “coppers” from 1793 and 1814, fetching $632,500 each. Husak decided it was time to cash out when the only pennies he had not acquired carried price tags of more than $700,000.
Why do collectors like Husak part with their treasures? Often it’s about money either a collector needs some or has spent too much on his or her collection. Significant others might coax collectors to part with their treasures too.
Or a collection might be considered an eyesore and compel the law to intervene.
Just ask Wayne Martin. It took the 64 year old antique store owner 40 years to acquire the 30 restored tractors dotting his property.
“I just wanted to preserve the tractors instead of junking them,” he says. “People that have been in Clovis for 10 minutes complain and get their way.”
Martin can’t stomach the idea of pricing his beloved tractors, which were abandoned or acquired for next to nothing, so he will let bidders determine their value. He has decided to keep six as the last remnants of the hobby he shared with his father.
Another reason for selling a collection: Investment priorities can shift.
Take Florida real estate magnate Anthony Pugliese, who, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, decided to liquidate his collection of pop culture memorabilia to start “City of Destiny,” a 61 square mile community in Florida that uses alternative energy and other green technologies.
Pu nike mercurial superfly gliese put his collection on the block in March. The Palms Casino, site of the auction, billed the 850 lot auction as the “greatest pop culture collection ever assembled.” It took Pugliese 25 years to amass and includes the gun Jack Ruby used to shoot Lee Harvey Oswald, Mel Gibson’s sword from Braveheart and the Wicked Witch’s hat from The Wizard of Oz. Pugliese received bids upward of $1 million for the pistol but ultimately decided to keep the historic weapon.
And collecting isn’t just an American pastime. Kumla, a small town in central Sweden, is the world capital when it comes to airsickness bags.
“I must be alone in the world collecting barf bags,” he says in an e mail. “You can’ nike mercurial superfly t imagine how surprised I was when mail started pouring in from other collectors around the world with bag donations and requests for bag swapping.”
Some airlines even print special edition bags. A recent
search reveals a market for the bags. Though, Tapper, 58, collects only for fun. “My collection is only worth the paper the bags are made of,” he says.
Collectors will shell out big bucks for any obsession. Case in point: The Golden Calf a work by British artist Damien Hirst that sold for more than $15 million this fall at
in London. The piece can best be described as a calf with golden horns and hooves suspended in formaldehyde. Science experiment gone bad to some, pricey objet d’art to others. Hirst’s collection netted nearly $200 million.
Calling cards were Gerald Burg’s, well, calling card. Not telephone cards, but the Victorian era name cards left when visiting an acquaintance. According to the Houston Chronicle, Burg’s extensive assortment features some of history’s most famous names, including Napoleon, Jefferson, Sitting Bull and Hitler. Burg estimates spending $150,000 over 60 years on the collection that also includes some of the literary world’s best: Hemingway, Twain and Jack London. Burg isn’t in financial dire straights but wants to ensure the collection is available to the public.