The Discovery Channel’s show “Oddities” profiles New York City’s “Obscura Antiques and Oddities.” Their shop carries a wide range of bizarre objects. Items they sell include taxidermy animals of many kinds, artwork from human hair and fingernails, poisons and some things that are just too graphic for this column.
We haven’t sold anything on that level but have auctioned some unique and often interesting items that we have found in estates. Many antique collectors and dealers want something that is a little different. They want that piece that will make visitors to their home take a second look.
One unusual piece that we sold was a rogue’s gallery desk for police wanted posters. The desk had a wooden roll top. It was originally used in a police station. When the desk top was unrolled all of the public offenders’ posters were on view for the police to try to apprehend. We’ve also sold wanted posters in other auctions and World War II era records from New Haven Railroad police department arrests.
A number of interesting toys have been sold in our auctions. A Marx tin windup tractor had Milton Berle driving it. His head spun back and forth. The tractor was plastered with sayings like “Give the Dial a Twirl to see and hear Berle” and “I’m Milton. Who are you?” Another toy we sold depicted a boy in a spacesuit with a bubble helmet holding a ray gun. Space toys from the 1950’s seem kitschy to us now. This makes them very collectible though.
Dental gold can vary in purity from 10 or 12 karats up to 20 or 22 karats. It averages about 67% pure. We’ve found a fair amount in estates over the years that we’ve sold. Bidders aren’t squeamish and it sells for as much as other gold.
We’ve sold photo albums from World War I and II with photos depicting some of the horrors of war. One pictured the scene after Teddy Roosevelt’s son, Quentin Roosevelt plane was shot down in World War I.
There are a number of other unique items we’ve handled. We sold an antique living room set with the legs and arms made of steer horns. There were 2 chairs and a sofa. It was upholstered in royal purple velvet. It may not be a good fit for many New England homes but brought a strong price at auction. A Civil War surgeon’s set with all of the medical tools for performing operations in the field also drew strong bidding. Mourning was very different in the Victorian era and prior. We’ve sold mourning jewelry with the hair of the departed enclosed inside of jewelry.
We once cleared out a collection that filled an entire cellar from floor to ceiling of a home. There were many mid-century appliances, antiques and vintage collectibles, many in the original boxes. When we sorted through everything I found a number of rolls of antique and vintage toilet paper. After my auction staff was finished having a few laughs for offering them for sale, they brought well over $50 at auction.
We continue to pickup up items for our January 28th live antiques auction. See www.centralmassauctions.com for links to both events.
Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services www.centralmassauctions.com (508-612- 6111), firstname.lastname@example.org