Ghosts of auctions past and present haunt Antique Helper
October 28, 2010 | view archive
While it’s fine to cruise the Halloween aisle at your local craft store and snatch up some fake spiderwebs, rubber-faced ghouls and glittery bats for your Halloween décor, there’s something even more ghastly-appealing about finding a vintage item with its own mysterious history.
Antique Helper is partnering with the Children's Museum of Indianapolis for a Virtual Antiques and Collectibles Appraisal Event on November 10. We're inviting our fans to submit images of their own treasures for this event via the event page or at this email address:
My friend Heather just submitted a photo for this event that got me excited every which way--not just for the rarity factor of her item, but also because it is exactly the kind of thing that gives a girl like me a really good case of the heebie jeebies. Check it out:
Just in case you are wondering--this happens to be a body basket, dating from the early 20th century. Heather says she saw one similar to it at the John Dillinger Museum. Apparently, these things weren't used as caskets, but as a 1920s answer to today's body bag. I guess they were reusable, too--Heather says this one was used at least once or twice. I've squeamishly asked her for a photo of the inside.
It will be interesting to see what the appraises make of this thing.
Inspired by the Eeeew-factor that this body basket packs, I decided to dive into Antique Helper's auction archives to pull up some of the more memorable, spooky items we've had the pleasure, or horror, to handle over the years.
We've had artwork, objects, jewels and outright curiosities come through our doors. Here are some of my favorites.
This delightful Day of the Dead print by C. Griffith St. Maartena is now part of Andrea's personal collection, while this set of 19th Century mourning jewelry most likely adorned a sorrowful Victorian widow.
Frighteningly beautiful and exquisitely macabre, these two wax mannequin heads sold at Antique Helper last May. What could be more disturbing gazing out of your curio cabinet?
I happen to love dolls. But, there's something about dolls in general that set some people into a cold sweat. For many, dolls are the ultimate symbol of Halloween fright. Maybe it's the life-like features and realistic glass eyes, like those on this early Kestner socket head bisque doll that send people running.
Speaking of life-like glass eyes, check out this 19th century walking stick that sold back in 2005. It came complete with its very own fake eyeball set in the handle. If you don't find this disturbing, I am pretty sure you're not afraid of anything.
Antique Medical History has always provided some mad scientist appeal. Check out these plaques depicting disturbing medical practices from Medieval times. I'm not sure about you, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to be the person in the upper right corner.
You could work your Frankenstein groove with this this early 20th Century Quackery medical machine from the Aloe Company, most likely used with shocking results.
Every auction has its oddities, and this weekend's Art and Antiques Auction Featuring Mission to Modern and Tribal Art is no exception.
First, consider the vast quantities of African, Oceanic and Tribal art. These are objects that were crafted for ritual and religious purposes. In their original cultures, many of these objects are believed to have certain spiritual qualities. Makes a person wonder, doesn't it?
I don't think the possession of certain spiritual qualities is necessarily a bad thing. Take a look at this rare Oceanic ceremonial ancestor mask. According to the object's description, it was created to represent a mythical ancestor from the creation time. I think he looks like an okay guy.
For the more stylish specter, this auction offers a number of fashion statements that would help anyone cut a frightening figure on Halloween night. At the top of my list is this beautifully cut lady's Persian lamb coat. It brings to mind any number of well-dressed villianesses, from the likes of Cruella DeVille to Bellatrix LaStrange.
While her sinister male companion can have a high top hat for each of his Jeckyll and Hyde personalities—plus one to share with his very best friend.
Keeping with the theme established by that pair of wax mannequin heads, these two Mexican pottery idol heads leave me wondering what would happen if they were ever reunited with their bodies.
All of these great items and more are available for preview this Friday, October 29, from 4-8 PM. The auction starts at 10 AM EST on Saturday; the doors open at 8. If you can't make it in person, check out the online catalog. You can leave an absentee bid, or register to bid as a telephone or internet bidder.