A killer's collectibles: The Unabomber's belongings bring $150,000

Ted Kaczynski is better known to the world as the Unabomber, a killer who caught the American public's imagination.

The former university mathematics professor, whose work remains highly regarded, embarked on setting a series of explosions in universities and airlines, hence the moniker which the FBI created for him by tagging the case UNABOM.

Kaczynski set 16 bombs which killed three and injured 23 before convincing the New York Times and Washington Post to publish his 'Manifesto'.

In the end it was the Manifesto that led to the Unabomber's capture. It was read by his brother David Kaczynski and his (David's) wife, who recognised a number of stylistic similarities, such as the use of the phrase "You can't eat your cake and have it too" and views similar to those in his sibling's letters.

Unabomber sunglasses hoodie
Unabomber sunglasses and hoodie

An auction of Kaczynski's belongings closed in the opening minutes of June 3. He had fought to prevent them being sold off, but it was decided that they should be in order to contribute to the $15m he had been ordered to pay as restitution to his victims and their families.

The top lot was not exactly as predicted: it was a set of handwritten journals by Kaczynski which brought an impressive $40,676. Meanwhile his 'hoodie' top and sunglasses (used as a disguise, sketched by the police and sometimes copied as a Halloween costume) brought $20,025.

Other strong lots included a handwritten copy of his lengthy 'Manifesto' condemning modern technology which sold for $20,053 while a Smith Corona portable typewriter brought $22,003.

Macabre collectibles can make strong alternative investments. The hoodie top and sunglasses might be expected to sell for more when they next reach auction.


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