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Peacock Elvis, stolen paintings found, Honus Wagner collectibles

by Sandra Lee Stuart (08/06/08).

Are you collectibles crazy? A celebrity fan? Do you have a hunka-hunka burning desire to own Elvis’ peacock jumpsuit? (Yes, you read that right, PEACOCK.)

Then let’s hope you got thee to GottaHaveIt . Online bids were being accepted through August 6 for a Britney Spears T-shirt with the coveted (by some) signature of Justin Timberlake. Wait, wait, the troubled Ms. Spears is not to your liking? What about the jeans Marilyn Monroe wore in the 1954 “River of No Return”? Or a draft—handwritten, mind you—of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” Then this is a celebrity auction for you.

From the Never-Give-Up-Hope Department

It was 1976. The home of a wealthy Connecticut woman was invaded, and the robbers made off with some important paintings—Gustav Courbet’s “The Shore of Lake Geneva,” William Hamilton’s “Lady as Shepherdess” and Childe Hassam’s “In the Sun.”

Fast forward to 2003. An antiques dealer needed cash for Christmas inventory. He gets his brother, a well-connected Rhode Island lawyer, to pay $20,000 for three paintings he had bought at auction. After several years of hanging on his living-room wall, the lawyer takes the pieces to be appraised. And much to everyone’s surprise, they are listed on the FBI’ register of stolen art.

After some legal wrangling, heirs of the wealthy Connecticut woman were declared the rightful owners and got the artworks—after 32 years.

Get in on the ground floor

Let’s talk. Don’t you sometimes fantasize that “oh, oui, that scrawny guy at the next table in Paris. Zut. Why didn’t I buy his stuff?” Well, if the scrawny guy was Picasso, you should have bought his “stuff.” If you’re looking for new important artists, you should read The New York Times article on the female artists of China.

Honus Wagner, the greatest all-around player EVER

And holy cow, his cards are out of the park. A Wagner 1909 card recently went for $1.62 million, and that didn’t even come close to the near-mint condition card that brought in $2.8 million. Why Honus Wagner cards are so rare is a subject of controversy. They were a tobacco-company issue. Did Wagner object because he didn’t want to encourage young’uns to smoke, or did the tobacco companies refuse to pay him what he felt what he was due? For those of us who seek baseball-card collectibles, it doesn’t matter. Honus Wagner is at the baseball-card-collectibles pinnacle.

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