Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Auction News: A Paradox

While we rarely talk about the monetary value of our Maritime Collections (Priceless!), others are turning larger and larger profits from collecting and selling them. Recently a bill of sale for the Charles W. Morgan sold on e-bay to an announmous purchaser for over $1600.00. Antiques Roadshow is repeatedly asked to value maritime artifacts, from pilot charts to schrimshaw (and fakeshaw). Now a major Early Australian Private Collection is heading for the auction block.

While the bulk of the collection contains convict related materials the related news story and auctioneers at Bonhams & Goodmanare are quick to point out that the sale will also include:

early whaling hand held harpoons including one from the Charles W. Morgan, an American whaleship which hunted extensively in Australian and New Zealand waters and which has been preserved at Mystic Seaport in the US. Other rare whaling items include whale guns and bomb lance guns used widely during the latter years of the sail era.

Both the e-bay item and the harpoon are gaining added value because a museum preserves the original artifact. I often run across similar value claims regarding other maritime-museum related items. It is, in fact our preservation efforts that make it harder and harder for us to acquire related items. Of course, at the same time, we tend to be the beneficiaries of donors who wouldn't know of us otherwise and just want their family history to have a good home.

No comments: