As a guy who wastes too much money on autographs of people who haven't been famous for several decades, I'm not exactly in a good position to mock people who spend great sums of cash at big money auctions. But, lucky for you, I will press on. Blogs are empowering!!!
So, there were two articles about auctions in the newspaper today that got me to thinking. The first was about a globe that an American GI took from Adolf Hitler's residence after it was overtaken. An interesting item to be sure, and the story behind it caught my eye. But then I kept reading and saw that (a) it was estimated to fetch around $20,000 at the auction and (b) the auction also included a box of Hermann Goering's cigars.
Now maybe you're a historian and the World War II era is of particular interest to you. So you like collecting stuff from that time period. And you see that globe and the box of Goering's cigars (estimate $2,000 to $3,000), throw down your dough, and, boo yaa, the items are yours. Where do you go from there? Do you display them, bring out your loot for conversation starters at parties?
"Hey, George, what a neat looking globe! Looks real old."
"Yeah, Hank, give it a spin."
"Guess who used to own that?"
"Oh, wow, you mean this is part of your WWII collection. Neat. Um, let's see, Omar Bradley?"
"Ya heard me. Hitler. Awesome, huh? Wanna see my Goering cigars?"
"I should be going now, George."
Of course, the World War II era isn't everybody's favorite collecting focus. Maybe you're more into items with tangential ties to a murder rampage. And you can find that in the other newspaper article I read. In 1977, Yankee manager Billy Martin gave a jersey to a gentleman whose girlfriend was killed by the Son of Sam (the gentleman was shot in the head during the attack). And now, with no one to pass the jersey on to, the gentleman has decided to let an auction house sell off the jersey. It is expected to get about $30,000 (bids are currently up to $11,000).
Again, an interesting story and all, but do you really want something like that around? Particularly at the price of $30,000.
"Hey, cool Billy Martin jersey. Is that game-worn?"
"Yeah. And he gave it to a guy who was shot in the head by the Son of Sam! And Son of Sam killed his girlfriend!"
I bet all three items go for above the estimate. People with money are scary. What a relief not to have that problem.