Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Kovels News Follow-UpsWhy did the ivory box sell for $410,000? Whats new about President Garfields and Queen Nefertitis heads? Fifty-two Kovels Komments were emailed this year, each with a story based on the news. Ever wonder how the story ended? Here are the ten most interesting stories of 2009, the ones that got the most inquiries from readers asking How much did it sell for? or Then what happened? (The dates of our original stories are listed after each follow-up. Look them up on our website, Kovels.com. Click on "Free Resources" , scroll down to "Weekly Ezine," and select the date). Next week we will give you ten tips to buying smart in 2010.

1. The original bidder for the crypt above Marilyn Monroe's did not pay, so it was offered for sale in another auction in October. It did not get a single bid in that auction. As of November, the crypt still holds the body of Richard Poncher, whose wife was trying to sell the crypt to raise money. (Aug. 19)

2. Eva Zeisel is still designing and working with ceramics. She has even designed her first rug. Zeisel is alive and well at 103 as we write this follow-up. (July 1)

3. Egypt's antiquities chief said in December he will again demand the return of the famous stone bust of Queen Nefertiti. It's in a Berlin museum. This is the latest request for the return of the bust, which was first displayed in Germany in 1924. (May 13)

4. President Garfields head, stolen from his statue last spring, was returned to Hiram College in Ohio in the fall. The college is trying to make sure it won't happen again, but officials are taking precautions just in case it does. Metal rods were installed to hold the head in place, and a GPS device has been embedded in the head. The college also made a cast of the head so if it's stolen again the school can make a copy. And a security camera is trained on the statue at all times. The head was returned to the local police department by a "Good Samaritan" who refused the $1,000 reward but would not explain where the head was found. The grand jury is going to consider charges against a suspect. Hiram, an excellent liberal arts college in northeastern Ohio, has received nationwide publicity because of the theft. The headless statue was photographed by hundreds of visitors and the college even markets a T-shirt with the slogan "Get a Head at Hiram College." (May 20)

5. Amelia Earharts fake hair is still on display at the International Womens Air & Space Museum in Cleveland. The hair has a new label that explains the story of the hair-thread mix-up. (Oct. 21)

6. A moon rock was given as a gift to the Dutch prime minister in 1969. Somehow it became mixed up with a piece of petrified wood on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. No one seems to know how they were switched, but we understand the real moon rock is safely stored in Amsterdam. Last we heard, the petrified wood is still on display at the museum alongside a new label telling about the mix-up. (Nov. 18)

7. The ivory box that sold at a Cleveland auction for $410,000 has been identified. It's a 16th-century Persian jewel box that may have belonged to royalty. The writing on the cover has been translated. It tells of jewels as bright as stars. (Oct. 7)

8. The Abraham Lincoln stamp ("Ice House cover") that sold for $431,000 in June had been stolen in 1967 during the theft of about 250 valuable stamps from the Indianapolis home of J. David Baker (see the June 17 issue of Kovels Komments). We explained who got the proceeds (Baker's heirs) in our June 24 ezine. But there's much more to the story. It has been suggested that the 1967 theft was by someone working for the Chicago mob. In 1974 Boston police stopped the car of a known thief and found some of the stolen stamps. A short time later, a police officer posing as a crook was offered the return of the rest of the collection for $100,000. But the man who made the offer was murdered before a meeting could be set up. Soon after that, the undercover cop received another call from someone eager to sell the stamps. Police arranged a meeting, arrested the man trying to make the sale, and recovered the stamps. But the Ice House cover was not there. Meanwhile, a longtime legitimate collector said he and a friend bought the rights to buy the stamp (whenever it surfaced) from the insurance company that covered the original loss. But when the collector's friend committed suicide in 1995, the collector discovered that his friend was $11 million in debt and had been accused of selling fake collectibles. Now jump ahead several years: In 2006 a Chicago-area couple claimed to have bought the stamp at a flea market 20 years before and then forgot about it. They found out what they had when they took it to a Chicago stamp dealer. There are other Lincoln stamps, but this one is the most valuable because it's still on its original envelope. (Find more information at Starpress.com.).

9. The Bugatti car that was found in a barn when Dr. Harold Carr's heirs cleaned out his many collections sold at Bonham's in February. Presale estimate of the value was about $8.7 million. The Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe, purchased by Dr. Carr in 1955 for $2,520, sold for $4.4 million, much less than expected. (Jan 14)

10. We announced in Kovels Komments on March 19 that our newly designed website was to be launched soon. Like all other website projects, it has taken much more time than we expected. Our new site will be introduced in the next few months.

Happy 2010!


ollie said...

Happy New Year - we look forward to the New site. thanks as always for the informative aspect of your site.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, no mountain climbing for me. I do enjoy proofreading tho!

Lizzy said...

I see others have beaten me to the proof reading comment on the peak/peek mix-up.

Does no one proof read anymore??? I see all kinds of these goofs everywhere.

Bobbie R... said...

In our area, we have plenty of auctions due to the economy..I had felt like a deflated balloon when antique dealers sold shops and prices fell out of the bottom.. I would really be interested in knowin where things are really selling for a halfway decent price to be able to recoup at least half of the purchase price...

I am right happy to have continued reading Kovels..some things never change, like our love for antiques and collectibles...I'm hoping things will improve in 2010. Happy New Years everyone!!!!!

Niagara and counting...