Thursday, May 27, 2010


Described on the back of the card as an "Artotype", must be some entrepreneurial photographer's description of photographing artworks as cabinet cards.

Available here.

The Secret

Available here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Original "Balok" Puppet Head from Star Trek: The Original Series

So awesome. This used to scare the hell out of me when I was a kid...

Available at Profiles in History.

Here's the auction house description:
This iconic effigy was used by the diminutive alien "Balok" in the classic first season episode "The Corbomite Maneuver" to intimidate the crew of the Enterprise. When Kirk later asks Balok about the puppet, he responds, "My alter ego, so to speak. In your culture, he would be Mr. Hyde to my Jekyll. You must admit he's effective. You would never have been frightened by me." Designed by legendary sculptor/artist Wah Ming Chang who created Star Trek creatures such as the Gorn from "Arena", the M-113 Salt Vampire from "The Man Trap", and the Taurus II humanoids in "The Galileo Seven", among many others. The puppet head is crafted of polyurethane foam and measures 16 in. tall and is mounted on a wooden 1 ¼ in. diameter dowel extending 15 ½ in. below the base of the neck. Three electrical wires and a cable protrude from the neck—the cable to actuate the mouth of the puppet and the wires to presumably control eye movement. Shows some wear in the paint in areas and foam exhibits minor separation from movement of the mouth, typical for such materials from this era. Overall, the polyurethane foam remains in remarkable, supple condition. This alien head is featured in the closing credits of virtually every episode of the Original Series and remains as a symbol of one of the most influential television shows of all time. Certainly, a relic worthy of a toast with a glass of Tranya!

19th Century Carved Pine Doll

Sold at Pook's for $650 (before premium).

1,500 Perish!

First newspaper report on the Titanic.

Available at Cowan's.

Here's the auction house description:

First Newspaper Report of Losses on the Titanic, April 15, 1912

Complete original newspaper New York American, dated April 15, 1912. Front page headline: Titanic Founders At Sea / 1,500 Perish!, with first 4 pages devoted to stories about the Horrible Loss of Life with the sinking of the Titanic, 8p, 16.5 x 21.5 in. It is uncommon to find a newspaper announcing deaths as a result of the sinking of the Titanic dated April 15, 1912. As of April 15, most newspapers were not reporting passengers' deaths.


Available here and here.


Available here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Skeleton Armchairs of Vincent Price

Available at Heritage Auctions.

Here's the auction house description:

Hand-carved of hardwood; these chairs were apparently modeled after a rare 18th-century chair which sold for over $100,000 at a New York auction. By oral tradition, they were part of a set custom-ordered by actor Vincent Price. However, Price died before they were delivered. In any case, they make a wonderful conversation piece! Excellent condition. Each measures 54" x 24" x 24".

19th Century Cast Iron Umbrella Stand of an Infant Hercules Fighting a Serpent

Available at Cowan's.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Folk Art Carved Presentation Pipe Presented to General Ulysses S. Grant

Available at Cowan's.

Here's the auction house description:

A massive hand-carved folk art pipe presented to Grant during his Presidency (1869-1877). Overall length 18", and constructed in two parts, consisting of a huge 3.5" diameter and 5" in height briar bowl with attached walnut stem decorated with cross hatching. Two brass fittings further decorate the stem, which bears an old museum accession number. An engraved silver plaque is mounted on the stem of the bowl with To Genl. U.S. Grant / President / Peace. The front of the bowl is hand-carved in a face with beard flowing to the base, possibly intended to represent Grant himself. Applied to one side is a copper cut-out of an eagle with arrows in its talons. On the other side is a cut-out of a cannon on caisson with U.S. flag flying above. The top of the bowl is fitted with brass lid.

Although not a traditional "peace pipe," the form is European, some think it may relate to Grant's Indian policy. Even before taking office, he agreed to turn over the administration of the reservations to religious authorities, taking it out of the hands of the military. Grant's new policy has been dubbed "conquest by kindness," sometimes referred to as the "Quaker Policy" for the group that proposed it to him. Grant was tired of war and said so in his epitaph, "Let us have peace." By the 1880s the reservations were effectively prisons, the people cut off from their traditional lands and resources, certainly "conquered," not necessarily by "kindness."

El Chapo

Available here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Available here.

Executed Prisoners of the Ohio Penitentiary

Available here.

Here's some info. from the seller's description:

1. WILLIAM HAAS - First person legally electrocuted in the history of Ohio. Known as the “boy murderer”. He raped Mrs. William Brady, slashed her throat and lit her house on fire. (Cincinnati, Hamilton County) 2. WILLIAM WILEY - Killed his wife, while seemingly possessed by the devil himself in an insane rage. Electrocuted minutes after Haas in a double execution, the stench still in the air. Prison official drew lots to see who would die first. (Cincinnati) 3. FRANK MILLER - A man from Poland who murdered his employer’s wife by crushing her skull with an axe. (Columbus) 4. ALBERT FRANTZ - The Dayton murderer who killed his pregnant fiance, Bessie Little, after having betrayed her. He pulled his horse carriage to the Miami river, shot her and dumped her body over the side. (Dayton) 5. FRANK EARLY - Cincinnati premeditated wife-murderer. She “sank to the floor a corpse “ after he fired a bullet into her right eye. It took six applications of electricity before he was pronounced dead. (Cincinnati) 6. CHARLES NELSON - negro who murdered a Wood County grocer, James Zimmerman, to satisfy the whims of an immoral woman. Was an expert banjo player of death row. (Bowling Green) 7. BRUNO KIRVES - murdered his beautiful Christian daughter while drunk by blowing off her head with a shotgun. (Dayton) 8. RICHARD GARDNER - Raped and murdered an eleven year old Ross County girl, Ethel Long. To make his fiendish deed possible, he used his knife after the manner of the C├Žsarian atrocities. He then slashed her throat. (Austin) 9. ROSLYNN FERRELL - Murdered his best friend, Eugene Lane, in Union County to secure money for the woman he loved. Got the chair instead of a wedding. (from Columbus) 10. EDWARD RUTHVEN - A robber who killed Cleveland police officer, Shipp. His wife was his codefendent and she made a fantastic escape from the Ohio Penitentiary. 11. JOHN BENNETT - killed his wife by pouring carbolic acid down her throat and pounded her head with a brick until it was a shapeless mass. (Oberlin) 12. CARL BERG - youngest person killed in the chair at 18. Killed John Guibord of Wauseon. Was defended by Ham & Ham and Files & Paxon to no avail. 13. MIKE SCHILLER - Murdered his wife in Mahoning County. Literally disemboweled her with a knife. Showed signs of life twice after being electrocuted. (Youngstown) 14. MOSES JOHNSON - jealousy of his white mistress and liquor caused him to kill William Test at Portsmouth. He had to be jolted FIVE times. The stench of burning flesh made witnesses deathly sick. 15. ALBERT WADE - One of the notorious Wade Brothers of Lima Ohio. Electrocuted for complicity in the murder of Kate Sullivan of Lucas County Ohio. Both brothers died in the chair’s second double execution. 16. BEN WADE - Killed an old woman in Toledo along with his brother during a robbery. His last words were, “Now boys, don’t burn me up. I want to be a respectable looking corpse.” 17. CHARLES STIMMEL - killed a Dayton coal dealer named, Joseph Shide. Defended by Attorney Egan of Dayton. His last words were: “I want the world to know that the curse of a dying man rests on Sheriff ------- of Dayton. I want it distinctly understood that I never killed nobody. Now go on with your dirty work.” 18. ALFRED KNAPP - The “STRANGLER” of Hamilton Ohio. Killed four woman before being executed. Killed his wife, Hannah Goddard Knapp. Also killed Emma Littleman when she declined his marriage proposal. Killed May Eckert. Also another wife, Jennie C. Knapp died by his hands. 19. ALBERT FISHER - murdered William Marshall of Toledo. Professional thief. Tormented the other condemned men and wondered who would go to hell first. 20. LEWIS HARMON - Accidentally shot George Geyer near Columbus during a burglary with other ex cons. 21. OTIS LOVELAND - Died for compliciity of Franklin Co. farmer with Harmon. 22. WILLIAM NICHOLS - An african american Civil War veteran and former slave. Oldest man ever executed at the OP. at the age of 65. Born into slavery. Killed best friend in Hardin Co. near Kenton. 23. HERMAN HAMILTON - died for killing foreman, L. Culver at Portsmouth for money.

One man photograph on this card is of a man that was never executed: Phillip Nagel who had been convicted of the murder of William Wade near Upper Sandusky, Wyandot County. His death sentence was commuted to Life Imprisonment in 1905 by Ohio Governor, Myron T. Herrick.