Collectibles quiz answers number 1 (Christmas 2011)
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Sunday 18 December 2011
These are the answers to our Christmas quiz blog post
1. Most of you probably know that Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa and there’s not much competition as far as the fictional Gotham city goes: its most famous resident is Batman.
The connection is a bit more obscure. When coming up with Batman (or ‘The Bat-man’) for his debut in Detective Comics issue 27, Bob Kane cites his main influence for Batman’s cape as da Vinci’s drawings of flying machines.
2. Sir Ian Fleming drew on his own experiences of the British Secret Service to create his most famous character, but he couldn’t decide on a name.
Inspiration came from a book on his coffee table: Birds of the West Indies by James Bond. Fleming felt the ornithologist's (twitcher's) name suitable for his secret agent, and the rest is history. The next James Bond film (Skyfall) is underway, starring Daniel Craig.
A first British Edition of You Only Live Twice inscribed "To the real James Bond from the thief of his identity. Ian Fleming” sold for $70,000 in November 2011.
3. Stamp collectors everywhere will have twigged this straight away... This is the famous ‘CIA invert’, so-called because it was discovered by a CIA employee who went out to buy stamps.
The otherwise fairly bland design of the candle was supposed to be enhanced by a bright orange colour printed in separately, in order to give a vivid visual metaphor to the line 'America's light fuelled by truth and reason'.
Unfortunately it was printed upside-down, creating a bizarre and comical effect. The CIA tried to confiscate the stamps as they were bought on company time, but to no avail. A block of four sold this month for $75,000.
4. One news image no one’s likely to forget is the great statue of Saddam Hussein being dragged down from its plinth.
One former SAS soldier, Brian Ely, wanted more than a memory, and took off a chunk of the monument with a crowbar from around Saddam’s hindquarters.
To get it over the border, he told Kuwaitis that it was a piece of armour for his car.
5. Benjamin Franklin was a keen writer, and not just on serious subjects. A first edition of his humourous essays can be expected to sell for a six figure sum.
One of Franklin’s most famous essays, sometimes known as Fart Proudly satirises the pretentiousness of the Royal Society of Belgium in proposing a prize for a cure for flatulence.
6. Christopher Robin Milne’s teddy bear was named imply ‘Edward Bear’, but he decided that it needed a new name and dcombined the names of a swan the Milnes had dubbed ‘Pooh’ and a real bear at the zoo named Winnie.
The bizarre name stuck when A A Milne wrote his famous stories.
The original bear is in a New York museum, and original E H Shepard drawings of the honey-loving, Poohsticks-inventing character are highly valuable - so much so that we’re offering this example from our stock with our unique 120% guarantee.
This is a rare gold, enamel, diamond, pearl, ruby, emerald and turquoise automaton, able to crawl around slowly, created at some time around 1820. It is thought to be worth $400,000-500,000.
8. X-rays of all three have sold for five figure sums (all in 2010, in fact).
9. The sale of Ronnie Littledale’s medals allowed us to re-tell the story of British soldiers escaping from Colditz.
Douglas Bader, a brilliant flying ace despite his having lost his legs before WWII, played his part by conducting an orchestra as a signalling system.
When he started the orchestra up, it meant that the guards were watching the escape route.
10. Those who flew into space often had deep religious convictions. Ed White took mustard seeds in reference to a parable of Jesus, and Buzz Aldrin used a miniature communion set after Apollo 11’s Eagle landed.
Soon after, microfilm King James Bibles, measuring 1.5" x 1.5", containing all 1245 pages of KJV Bible were manufactured by the Apollo Prayer League for moon missions.
A number of these were on board Apollo 13, but of course didn’t reach the moon. Many more, flown by Edgar Mitchell on Apollo 14, did.
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Images: Cherrystone, Heritage