Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Expensive Auction Items

Sotheby's holds the record for any printed book with the Bay Psalm Book. It was the first book printed in the colonies in 1640 by the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It sold for $14.1 million last November.

The highest price for a manuscript goes to the Codex Leicester, one of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks, written in his mirror cursive, which sold at Christie's in November 1994 to Bill Gates for $30.8 million.

Huanghauli is a wood—the word is Chinese for yellow flowering pear, although it is actually a type of rosewood. It has a delicate fragrance and a shimmery surface that mellows in color with age. The market for furniture made of huanghuali has skyrocketed and this 15 foot table, made from a single plank, currently holds the record. It was sold at Christie's in March of 2013 for $9m.

Antiquities are setting records: The Cycladic marble figure was carved around 2400 BC somewhere in the Aegean. It sold in December 2010 for more than three times its estimate at $16 million. The bronze figure was made in Egypt some 2100 years later. It sold in June of 2013 for eight times its estimate at $2 million, a record for an Egyptian cat.

Christie's holds the record for highest sale for any work of art online with this oil on canvas from 1946, which sold for $9.6 million in November, 2012.

The 1856 magenta stamp from British Guiana. The holy Grail of stamp collecting is the only surviving 1856 one-cent magenta stamp from British Guiana. It was found by a 12-year-old Scottish boy living in South America. World record price: $9.5m. The rarest of stamps is no stranger to world records. It has set one every time it has changed hands since 1900.

The Clark Sickle-Leaf carpet circa 1700, probably from Kerman Province, in current day Iran. From the estate of William Clark on his death in 1925. It sold at Sotheby's New York, on June 5, 2013, for $33.7 million.

US violist David Aaron Carpenter plays the "Macdonald" Stradivarius viola created in 1719 by Antonio Stradivari (1641-1737). The MacDonald viola is one of 10 Stradivarius violas known to have survived. Sotheby’s anticipates that offers closer to $45 million will be made.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Umutkor collar claimed by Kyrgyzstan

MOSCOW, December 5 (RAPSI) – The authorities of Kyrgyzstan suspect that a 5th-century Eastern Hunnic gold collar sold by Sotheby’s was taken from the country illegally, the local news agency reported on Friday, citing the Ministry of Culture.

The Umutkor collar was sold for £242,500 ($380,215) in London on December 3. The royal collar and beads set with garnets and glass belonged to Sansyzbay Umutkor, who bought it circa 1890-1895. The collar was handed down by family descent until it was exported to Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2013.
The previously unrecorded fifth century gold royal collar set with garnets and glass is from the time of Attila the Hun. This magnificent collar would have been worn only by those of the highest social status.

Attila and his Huns are seen in the West as barbarians. In the late fourth and fifth centuries they viciously subjected all of the European tribes and forced Rome and Constantinople to pay vast sums of gold just to keep the Hunnic horde out of their cities.
Attila led many military raids on both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires provoking what has become known as the Barbarian Invasions, a large movement of Germanic populations that greatly accelerated the fall of Rome. He is considered by most Hungarians as the founder of the country.

According to ancient records, Attila died in his palace across the Danube after a feast celebrating his marriage to a beautiful young gothic princess named Ildico. Legend says that his men diverted a section of a river, buried the coffin under the riverbed, and were then killed to keep the exact location a secret.

Darwin ATM heist goes wrong

A man who blew up a cash machine in the Darwin suburb of Winnellie overnight was knocked backwards by the explosion, CCTV footage shows.

The man's thongs were blown off his feet and he fled barefoot. The ATM on Albatross Street was a tangled mess of electronics and broken metal when police arrived, alerted by an alarm triggered at about 3:45am.
CCTV shows the man light an explosive and then appear to insert it into the machine. Within seconds the item exploded. He escaped serious injury, police said.

Police confirmed the man took no money.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Octave, Arizona

This 266-acre property in Arizona isn't much to see from above ground: cacti, dirt and a 2-bedroom manufactured home, two hours from anywhere. The reason for the property’s $5.9 million price tag is hidden underground: 25 miles of tunnels into what was once one of the richest sources of gold in the U.S.

The first people to discover the mine reported that the area was littered with gold nuggets the size of potatoes, according to a book on the Weaver Mining District.
In its heyday in the late 1800s, Octave was a bustling town with a school, a post office, a general store and a stagecoach line. The mines there were some of the most productive in the Old West before the area was abandoned by Asarco in 1940s.
The mine was featured in a short-lived cable show called “Ghost Mine,” where paranormal experts explored reports of ghosts in abandoned mines, including the spooky and notorious “Blue Devil of Octave.”

Daughter of Korean Air boss in 'nut rage'

Miss Heather Cho, who until the incident had been chief of in-flight service for Korean Air, caused flight KE086 to be delayed after she flew into a rage when she was served macadamia nuts in a bag.

Korean Air protocol is for the nuts to be served on a small dish. Head steward Park Chang-jin claims Miss Cho insulted him and forced him to kneel in apology.
The pilot brought the plane back to its gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport for the chief steward to be expelled. The flight's arrival at Incheon Airport, near Seoul, was delayed by 11 minutes as a result.

Miss Cho is the eldest daughter of the company chairman Cho Yang-ho. Two siblings are also executives at the airline. Mr Park claims she swore at him, jabbed him with a file case and pointed her finger at him as he kneeled.
The incident - first reported on Monday - has stoked both mirth and anger in South Korea, whose economy is dominated by powerful family-run conglomerates known as chaebol. Miss Cho has been stripped of all titles at the airline and its affiliates, and faces investigation by the government and prosecutors to determine whether she breached aviation laws.
Macadamias are now a household name in South Korea, and with curiosity about their taste piqued, sales are booming.

South Korea's largest online shopping retailer, Gmarket, owned by eBay, said macadamia nut sales jumped 20 times from one week to the next earlier this month.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

John Dillinger

John Herbert Dillinger, Jr. (June 22, 1903 – July 22, 1934) was an American bank robber. He was charged with, but never convicted of, the murder of an East Chicago, Indiana police officer during a shoot-out. This was his only alleged homicide.

His gang robbed two dozen banks and four police stations. Dillinger escaped from jail twice and became a driving reason for the creation of the FBI.
Division of Investigations chief J. Edgar Hoover created a special task force headquartered in Chicago to locate Dillinger. On July 21 a madam from a brothel in Gary, Indiana, Ana Cumpănaş, also known as Anna Sage, contacted the police. She was a Romanian immigrant threatened with deportation and offered the federal agency information on Dillinger in exchange for their help in preventing her deportation.
Dillinger attended the film Manhattan Melodrama at the Biograph Theater in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Dillinger was with Polly Hamilton and Ana Cumpănaş. (Who was wearing a red dress to identify herself to agents.)

When the movie let out, Special Agent Melvin Purvis stood by the front door and signaled Dillinger's exit by lighting a cigar. Both he and the other agents reported that Dillinger turned his head and looked directly at the agent as he walked by, glanced across the street, then moved ahead of his female companions, reached into his pocket but failed to extract his gun, and ran into a nearby alley. Other accounts state Dillinger ignored a command to surrender, whipped out his gun, then headed for the alley. Agents already had the alley closed off, but Dillinger was determined to shoot it out.

Agents Cowley, Charles Winstead, and Herman "Ed" Hollis opened fire, firing five shots. Dillinger was hit from behind and he fell face first to the ground.

Dillinger was struck three times, with two bullets entering the chest, one nicking his heart, and the fatal shot, which entered the back of his neck and exited just under his right eye.