Stolen Shakespeare, George W. dum gum, Sgt. Pepper and baseball collectibles

Catching a possible Shakespeare thief, honoring a legacy of political collectibles, a record for Beatles memorabilia and the end of a Yankees era make recent antiques and collectibles news, while a work by a female painter fetches record prices in the contemporary-art market.

Finding Shakespeare

In December 1998, a rare collection of works by William Shakespeare, along with other literary antiques, was stolen from an exhibition of English literature of the Middle Ages at Durham University in northern England. According to an article in Reuters London, there was no news of the stolen literature or documents until late last month when the first folio edition of the Shakespeare volume, published in 1623 and valued at $29.65 million, showed up at a library in the U.S.

The British Embassy alerted American police that a man brought in a rare Shakespeare volume for appraisal at “a respected library in Washington [D.C.]” The 51-year-old claimed to have bought the book in Cuba when he left it for experts at the library to examine. The FBI and Interpol traced the man to England, where he was arrested and taken in for questioning. An article in The Guardian gave details on the suspect, Ray Scott, whom neighbors described as “slightly eccentric.” The Guardian article includes a detailed description of the rare Shakespeare volume deemed a “national treasure” and “one of the world’s most valuable books.”

Politically Collectible

A private collection of political kitsch “to rival the Smithsonian’s” was the legacy Jordan Wright left behind upon his death in May. According to The New York Times, the 50-year-old political collector was planning a Museum of Democracy to house all of his 1.25 million pieces. Choice souvenirs through the ages include “slogan embossed tobacco tins and chamber pots, racist rag dolls, Gore-Lieberman yarmulkes, John Kerry flip-flop sandals and President W.’s ‘dum gum.’” A sampling of Wright’s collectibles treasure can be viewed at the Museum of the City of New York .

Beatles Drum Skin Brings in Record Price

An item from the Beatles’ album cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” fetched a little more than $1 million at Christie’s of London this month. According to Bloomberg News, bidding rose to five times the low estimate for the drum skin that clocked in at the “second-highest ever paid for a piece of Beatles memorabilia.”

Paying Más for Marlene Dumas

Marlene Dumas is the highest-paid living female artist, and she’s having an excellent summer with the combination of recent high sales at Sotheby’s and the first American retrospective of her work. The Huffington Post portrays the South African-born, Dutch painter as “sunny” and “honest” during a lecture on her work at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art last month. The artist’s work has been described as vulgar, controversial and even gruesome. Dumas’ “The Visitor” sold at Sotheby’s this month for more than $6.3 million.

Baseball Fans Converged on FanFest

Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Convention Center was converted into “wall-to-wall baseball” this month before the All-Star game, The New York Times reported. Fans enjoyed shopping for memorabilia, trying their skill in video batting-and-pitching cages and lining up for autographs and collectibles from former All-Stars. Yahoo Sports spoke to Yogi Berra for the legend’s take on the massive event. He said he was impressed by the spectacle the All-Star game has become as he got ready to say goodbye to the old Yankee Stadium in its final series of games. The Times also reported that card dealers flocked to FanFest from all over the country. One, Jim Tripodi, expected to sell “tens of thousands of dollars” worth of collectibles cards.