Monday, January 23, 2017

Electric Prunes – "Sold to the Highest Bidder" (1967)

Sold, sold, sold
To the highest bidder

Invaluable is the world’s leading online marketplace for fine art, antiques, and collectible.   In 2015, Invaluable partnered with auction houses in 52 countries to provide online bidding in over 17,000 auctions.

You can click here to browse Invaluable's auctions.

The folks at Invaluable keep me informed about auctions that they think might be of interest to 2 or 3 lines.  Last week, they tipped me off to a University Archives auction of letters, books, and photographs autographed by American Presidents, gangsters, artists, astronauts, and other notable folks, as well as a few non-autographed items.

Here are a few of the more interesting items in that auction – all of which are likely to be available for a very reasonable price.

Lot 7 in the auction is a signed photo of Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin wearing his NASA spacesuit:

Buzz Aldrin
Lot 9 is a similar autographed photo of Neil Armstrong, who was the mission commander of Apollo 11:

Neil Armstrong
The estimate for the Aldrin photo is $300 to $400, while Armstrong’s picture is expected to go for $900 to $1000.  Both men walked on the moon, but Armstrong walked on it first – I assume that’s why his photo is likely to attract a higher winning bid.

Lot 10 is a very different Armstrong item – a 2007 letter to his classmate, Doris “Punky” Weber, accepting an invitation to attend the upcoming 60th reunion of the class of 1947 of Blume High School, which was located in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

Invaluable thinks lot 10 will go for $600 to $800:

"Dear Punky"
Moe Berg was a major-league catcher in the 1920s and 1930s who joined the U. S. Office of Strategic Services (which later became the CIA) in 1943 and parachuted into Yugoslavia to gather intelligence about the various groups who were fighting the Nazis.  Thanks to his successful completion of that and several other missions, Berg was offered the Medal of Freedom – an award established by President Truman to honor civilians whose efforts helped the U.S. and its allies win the war.  (Berg was one of only 33 people to be offered the medal.)  

Lot 14 in the auction is a handwritten draft letter (estimated sale price: $1200 to $1500) from Berg rejecting the medal:

(Thanks, but no thanks)
No one is sure why Berg turned down the award.  He was a very smart guy – he graduated from Princeton and Columbia Law School, spoke several languages, and read 10 newspapers a day – but was described as “the strangest man ever to play baseball” by Casey Stengel, who was quite possibly the second strangest man ever to play baseball.  

(By the way, a movie based on The Catcher Was a Spy, Nicholas Dawidoff’s biography of Berg, is expected to be released later this year.  Paul Rudd will play Berg.)

Lot 23 consists of two posh robes – one for a man, one for a woman – given to President George H. W. Bush by the Emir of Kuwait in gratitude for American support of Kuwait in the first Gulf War:

Invaluable thinks the two robes will sell for $1000 to $1200, which sounds like a bargain to me – I bet you’d have to spend that much or more to get equally fancy robes at Neiman-Marcus, and those robes wouldn’t have the impressive historical pedigree that the Lot 23 robes have.  Put one of these bad boys on over your pajamas before you go outside to retrieve your morning newspaper and you can best believe your neighbors will be impressed.

Lot 50 is a wanted poster for John Dillinger issued by the U. S. Department of Justice in 1934.    You should be able to snag this poster or a similar one for Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow (Lot 45) for a mere $400 to $500:

Wanted: John Dillinger
The big bargain of the auction may be Lot 194, which is a check in the amount of $25 made out by sex symbol Mae West to her longtime assistant, Larry Lee.  Invaluable believes that the winning bid for this item will be between $100 and $150:

"I only like two kinds of men:
domestic and imported"
If you’d like to check out any of the 200-odd lots being offered, click here to go to the website for the auction, which begins at 10:30 am tomorrow – Tuesday, January 24.

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The Electric Prunes’ biggest hit was “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night),” which was released on their eponymous debut album in 1967.  It and today’s featured song, “Sold to the Highest Bidder,” were both penned by a female songwriting duo, Annette Tucker and Nancie Martz.  

Here’s “Sold to the Highest Bidder”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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