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Man Ray’s objects

In November, Man Ray’s archive will auction at Sotheby’s Paris.

Consisting of over 300 lots the sale will include a wealth of materials from his estate that span his life and career – including a huge array of photographs.

It is the largest collection of his work to come to auction in almost 20 years.

In addition, a number of surrealist objects are offered.

These include a work titled Ce que manque à nous tous or “What we all lack”, which consists of a clay pipe (inscribed with the title of the work) topped by a glass bubble that inverts the world around it.

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This forced new perspective was one of the primary aims of the dadaists and surrealists.

Additional lots include a model of photographer Lee Miller’s lips in gold and two modernist chess sets.

Man Ray’s objects are less widely known than his photographs, as the majority have been lost over the years, but are equally fascinating.

He began working on them during the 1920s. Some were intended primarily for use in photographs and destroyed afterwards, meaning collectors covet those that do survive.

This scarcity is partly explained by the story behind Object to be Destroyed (created circa 1922-1923 and not included in the sale), a metronome with an eye photo clipped to the arm, which is housed in the Tate.

He explained: “I had a metronome in my place which I set going when I painted – like the pianist sets it going when he starts playing – its ticking noise regulated the frequency and number of my brushstrokes…

“A painter needs an audience, so I also clipped a photo of an eye to the metronome’s swinging arm to create the illusion of being watched as I painted.

“One day I did not accept the metronome’s verdict, the silence was unbearable and since I had called it, with a certain premonition, Object of Destruction, I smashed it to pieces.”

Tom

The world’s biggest collection

In some respects Zero Fretas is just like any other obsessive record collector.

He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of music.

He has a beard.

But in other ways Fretas is very different.

Largely because he’s one of the richest men in Brazil – and he cannot stop buying records.

Fretas owns the world's biggest record collection

Fretas owns the world’s biggest record collection

He is the owner of the world’s biggest record collection.

In fact it’s the world’s biggest collection, period.

No one is able to put an exact number on it, but cautious estimates place it somewhere in the region of several million.

At present, he employs a host of people to catalogue it – a task that is expected to take around 20 years to complete.

It’s breathtakingly eclectic.

It includes a copy of almost every record ever pressed in Cuba (around 100,000) and a set of 15,000 polka albums.

While many of his records are unique, around 30% are duplicates. He owns 1,793 copies of the first album he ever bought, Roberto Carlos Sings to the Children.

His mission? To own a copy of every record ever produced.

Fretas is certainly not alone.

The Sultan of Brunei, for instance, owns the world’s largest collection of cars – around 7,000 in total.

That’s an astronomical number, particularly when you take into account that we’re talking Ferrari Berlinettas and Lamborghini Diablos rather than Ford Fiestas and Nissan Micras.

At the weirder end of the scale we have Danny Fleming from Grimsby, who owns a collection of 105 pairs of bagpipes.

There is something awe inspiring about a truly vast collection and the same urge, whether or not it takes on this epic scale, is something that drives all collectors.

We can all relate to that heart-pounding moment when you come across the one thing that you’ve been looking for and equally, the satisfaction that a collection brings.

Tom

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance – my personal picks

Phew, what a weekend!

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is over for yet another year, and this year saw even more of the world’s finest collector cars cross the block than ever before.

A new world record for any car sold at auction was set by the Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta (as expected!), while Ferrari blew away all the competition.Pic: Bonhams

Just look at the top 10 sales in California this weekend:

1962 Ferrari 250GTO coupe – $38,115,000 (Bonhams)

1964 Ferrari 275GTB/C Speciale coupe – $26,400,000 (RM Auctions)

1961 Ferrari 250GT California SWB Spider – $15,180,000 (Gooding)

1964 Ferrari 250LM coupe – $11,550,000 (RM Auctions)

1967 Ferrari 275GTB/4 coupe – $10,175,000 (RM Auctions)

1953 Ferrari 250MM coupe – $7,260,000 (Bonhams)

1965 Ford GT40 prototype roadster – $6,930,000 (RM Auctions)

1962 Ferrari 250GT SWB Speciale Aerodinamica coupe – $6,875,000 (Bonhams)

1958 Ferrari 250GT Series 1 cabriolet $6,820,000 – (Bonhams)

1959 Ferrari 250GT Series 1 cabriolet $5,610,000 – (Gooding)

Even the Best in Show award winner was a Ferrari – the first time a post-war car has ever been selected.

Now, I know Ferrari reigns supreme at the top of the market for a reason – beautiful cars matched by impeccable performance and an impressive racing pedigree – but they just don’t do it for me.

I’ve yet to get my driving license (hey, I’m working on it!), but if I was to part with my hard earned cash at Pebble Beach, I’d be looking away from the high-end and towards the more unusual models.

Take a look at my top five picks of the bunch:

1937 BMW 328 Roadster

Pic: Bonhams

Just look at it!

For me, the 1930s was the pinnacle of car styling – I like my cars curvy and this one certainly ticks that box.

Even better is the fact that it was made in the 1930s by BMW, and wouldn’t look out of place being driven by a villain in Indian Jones and the Last Crusade.

The BMW 328 Roadster can also hold its own on the track. Upon its release it was one of the most successful sports cars at Germany’s feared Nurburgring and has gone on to become one of the most iconic cars of all time.

1959 Fiat 500 Jolly

Pic: Bonhams

I imagine myself cruising round my huge estate in this one, picking up friends with a cocktail in my hand.

A classic beach car, the Jolly is the four-wheeled equivalent to the Vespa scooter, designed so sun-kissed jetsetters could swan around the seafront in style.

Now a beloved collector favourite, the Jolly sees big bids at auction, with this example coming in at $88,000.

1965 Shelby Mustang GT350 Paxton Prototype

Pic: RM auctions

Gotta love a bit of American muscle right?

This one packs an extra punch in bring one of only two Paxton supercharger prototypes ever made under the direction of the legendary Carroll Shelby, famed for his dangerously powerful machines.

His attempt to “turn a mule into a racehorse”, the result was the 1965 Shelby GT350 – the most successful of the famous line – with this used as a demo car, boasting a supercharger V8 engine.

At $572,000, it was actually something of a bargain for those looking to own automotive history outside of Ferrari.

1966 Volkswagen 21-Window Deluxe Micro Bus

Pic: RM Auctions

What better way to ferry around friends than the iconic VW bus?

This stunning restoration is just about one of the nicest you can find and is in highly original condition.

However, I’m not much of a stickler for the rules, so I’d probably drop in a bigger engine – hey, a man needs more than 40HP to get off the line.

While you can pick up a shabby-chic version for less than $20,000, this example – the rarest variant with 21 windows – had an estimate of $90,000-120,000.

1965 Aston Martin DB5

Pic:RM Auctions

Now, I needed a touch of class in the collection, so I’ve opted for none other than Aston Martin.

The DB5 screams “prestige”, not only as an incredibly beautiful British sports car, but also as the famous drive of James Bond.

I can just see myself now, ejecting my enemies from their seats with a beautiful Bond girl in tow…

Sadly, it’ll be a long while before I can afford one – this just made $1.6m.

by Joe

Collectors gear up for Elvis auction

A major sale of artefacts from the life of Elvis Presley is due to take place at Graceland, his home in Memphis, Tennessee later today. The auction consists of 72 lots and includes everything from his marriage certificate to his front door keys.

Ahead of the event, let’s take a brief look at some of the most interesting lots.

Early signature

The signature is one of the  earliest known examples

The signature is one of the earliest known examples

Elvis signed this library card in 1947 when he was in 7th grade. During that year he was beginning to gain recognition for his singing and performed twice on local personality Mississippi Slim’s radio show.

The piece is one of the earliest known examples of Elvis’ signature, meaning its likely to attract a high degree of interest from collectors.

Shooting target

Elvis was an avid gun collector

Elvis was an avid gun collector

Elvis had an enormous collection of guns. After a number of death threats he carried one on his person at all times, even while he was on stage.

His penchant for firing at the TV whenever singer and longtime rival Robert Goulet appeared onscreen in the stuff of legend.

This target was set up in his smokehouse in the grounds of Graceland, which he used as a shooting range.

Marriage certificate

Elvis and Priscilla married in Las Vegas

Elvis and Priscilla married in Las Vegas

This marriage certificate records Elvis’ wedding to Priscilla in Las Vegas in 1967. The couple spent a total of eight minutes in the chapel before jetting off for their honeymoon.

Ironically it was sent back to the marriage office stamped “return to sender” and was kept by one of the clerks, who sold it at auction in the mid 90s.

Keys

These keys were used in the couple's honeymoon

These keys were used in the couple’s honeymoon

This set of keys for Elvis’ holiday home in Palm Springs, California were taken on his honeymoon with Priscilla. The couple spent a couple of days in the luxury apartment before flying on to Memphis.

A Los Angeles Police Department keyring is a nice touch. Alongside his gun obsession, Elvis was an avid collector of police badges.

by Tom

The most lucrative collection you’ve never heard of…

San Diego Comic-Con 2014 was treated to a surprise from Profiles in History this year.

Everett's collection is the world's largest nad most comprehensive of movie ephemera

Everett’s collection is the world’s largest nad most comprehensive of movie ephemera

If you were among the thousands of collecting nerds that flocked to the event and happened to stumble upon the auction house’s stall, dozens of the finest movie posters, lobby cards and ephemera would have greeted you.

Profiles in History are well known for handling some of the greatest memorabilia collections (they were behind the astonishing Debbie Reynolds sales in 2011 and earlier this year), but this stunning selection came from an unfamiliar name – Morris Everett Jr.

You may have heard his name if you are a devotee of movie poster collecting, but to most his name doesn’t ring a bell – despite featuring in newspapers and magazines daily.

That’s because Everett, a man with a plan that started gathering all the movie ephemera he could more than 50 years ago and now owns the world’s largest collection of its kind, also collects movie stills and rare images.

When he found himself on the brink of bankruptcy in 1990, his collection came to the rescue.

Approached with a business offer he couldn’t refuse, Everett began to licence some of his images to magazine and newspapers across the world.

Everett's images earn him some serious money, with the world's top publications regularly calling on his collection

Everett’s images earn him some serious money, with the world’s top publications regularly calling on his collection

Remember when Frank Sinatra died in 1998, and TIME magazine published his image on the cover? Yep, that was Everett’s image.

Likewise for Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, when Everett supplied an iconic shot to the National Enquirer.

Now, one of the main issues investors have with collectibles is that, unlike stocks and shares, unique memorabilia doesn’t pay dividends. It may perform better in the long term, but what about in the mean time, when regular payments help to pay the bills?

Everett’s collection provides just one answer to that problem, but there are many ways collectors in any area can supplement their income while enjoying their collection.

Classic car collectors may choose to rent a portion of their collection for those who fancy a day’s driving in a luxury motor, art collectors may loan their best works to museums for a fee.

Your chance to combine work and pleasure

Your chance to combine work and pleasure

For music memorabilia collectors, Paul Fraser Collectibles has a unique photograph of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, which is being sold with copyright and full licensing rights – this could be the first step to your lucrative collecting business.

by Joe

An introduction to collecting baseball cards

paulfrasercollectibles:

Great advice from the Crazy World of Baseball blog!

Originally posted on The Crazy World of Baseball starring Andrew H:

I have had many hobbies over my life but none that have held true to my heart like baseball cards. Even at almost 30, I get giddy when I see the latest products come out. Though only Topps is still around in the officially licensed baseball game, there are other companies that still make baseball cards such as Leaf, Onyx, and Panini.

So you’re a kid/teen/adult/alien who wants to start collecting. What should you do first? Here are my 5 recommendations.

1. Find a set/player/etc… project to do and STICK WITH IT! : This is one of the things I’ve regretted as a collector. I have moved from set to set and not completed projects. Complete you projects as best as you can.

2. Buy supplies: Don’t go too “Wile E. Coyote looking at the latest ACME catalog” crazy though. Buy only what you need and can afford. You have…

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The world’s most valuable signature

Day in day out we sell some of the world’s rarest autographs.

From James Dean to Henry VIII, if you can imagine it we’ve either got it or can get it.

However, there’s one I can guarantee that we’ll never have in stock.

I’ll give you a clue.

It belongs to the greatest writer in history.

The Chandos portrait of Shakespeare has led some to speculate that the bard may have been Jewish

The Chandos portrait of Shakespeare has led some to speculate that the bard may have been Jewish

There are only six known copies of William Shakespeare’s autograph in existence – all of which feature on legal documents and are housed under lock and key in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions.

If one was to ever sell, it’s estimated that it would go for around $5m.

That figure would increase significantly if it was attached to a manuscript copy of one of his plays, not a single copy of which has ever surfaced.

Shakespeare's will - one of the few manuscripts to feature his signature

Shakespeare’s will – one of the few manuscripts to feature his signature

The extraordinary value placed on his signature is far above that for any other person, a phenomenon that can be explained both by his extraordinary contribution to literature and the air of mystery that surrounds him.

Despite his fame and status, we still known very little about Shakespeare.

The fact that very few records or relics are known to have survived means that there is no market for memorabilia pertaining to him, despite enormous demand.

As a result copies of his folios, printed after his death, regularly break six figures – with one selling for $6.1m in 2001.

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