The U.S. Postal Service prints more than 20 billion stamps a year, the vast majority of which are perfect. However, tiny errors can make even humble 1-cent stamps
worth many times more to collectors (or philatelists, if you're feeling formal). The most famous of these is perhaps the Inverted Jenny
, which features a biplane flying upside down. Only 100 of the misprinted 24-cent airmail stamps issued in 1918 were found, and one can fetch nearly a million dollars
at auction, or even appear in a Florida ballot box
(that one was fake). [more inside]
posted by Etrigan
on Oct 7, 2013 -
Confessions of a Genius Art Forger
— In one of Germany's greatest art scandals, former hippie and talented artist Wolfgang Beltracchi forged dozens of paintings over a period of 35 years, earning millions and fooling top collectors and museums. In a SPIEGEL interview, he reveals how he did it and why he eventually got caught. Photo Gallery.
Background... [more inside]
posted by netbros
on May 26, 2012 -
...The cult of and luster for country blues among these record collectors came about because not only were recordings by Charley Patton, Son House, Skip James and Robert Johnson not successfully sold to African Americans, but other record collectors were not interested in them either. There were so many collectors of New Orleans jazz that not only did the recordings became too expensive to collect, they also didn't want them -- they wanted to find something that required more energy to uncover, and more energy to actually appreciate. Anyone who has ever listened to Charley Patton knows that you have to learn how to listen to him, you have to really struggle -- it is a work of archeology, really, to make out what he is saying. It is powerful, and I don't want to deny its power, but you have to learn how to hear that power, and African Americans, when these records came out, didn't necessarily hear that.
From an interview with Marybeth Hamilton
, author of In Search of the Blues [more inside]
posted by y2karl
on May 26, 2012 -
Through a Glass, Smartly
Larry Sherk is one of the world's foremost brewerianists, a collector of beer stuff who over 40 years has amassed the country's second-largest private collection of beer labels (about 3,000), many of which date to the late 1800s. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad
on Feb 4, 2012 -
"The What Cheer House
catered to men only, permitted no liquor on the premises, and housed San Francisco's first free library and first museum." Opened in 1852 by Robert B. Woodward
it became immensely popular. "[S]ailors enjoyed staying there... [he] was such a well-liked man that they would often bring him trinkets from around the world when they’d come to town. For Woodward, these gifts were the beginning of what would become a life-long obsession with collecting." He moved the collection and opened Woodward's Gardens
in 1866 between Mission and Valencia at 13th-15th streets. Called the Central Park of the West
, it was San Francisco's most famous public resort. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn
on Oct 4, 2009 -
Desperate Man Blues
Edward Gillen's documentary about Joe Bussard, renowned collector of 25,000+ blues, folk and gospel 78rpm records from the 20s and 30s. It's about the hunt and the hunter, as much as what he found. One week only on Pitchfork TV [more inside]
posted by msalt
on Jan 31, 2009 -
Tips from the Blue Devils
- Dunking the ball is a flashy move. In some instances, it can be the wrong move. Pot and cocaine are wrong moves. They mess up your thinking and can kill you instantly.
posted by sdrawkcab
on Jan 25, 2006 -
Mars Attacks! "In 1962, Topps released the bubble-gum cards known as "Mars Attacks". They were the creation of Len Brown and Woody Gelman. They were painted by the famous pulp-comic artist, Norm Saunders. Presented here, for the first time on the Web, are scanned reproductions of their genius..."
posted by quonsar
on Dec 11, 2003 -
Thrift store record collectors' treasure trove.
I know that we talked about the supposed worst record album covers of all time here
, but some of these
were too priceless not to share, and some have MP3s of the actual recordings to boot!!!
Here's just a small taste of what to expect:
"...There's no photos or credits anywhere on this album. Just the sickly drawing on the cover and a list of song titles. I bought it for 50 cents on a hunch after noticing the title: "Diary of an Unborn Child".
As far as bizarre Christian LPs, I gotta say, this is this most extreme thing I've ever heard. It's some full grown man with a munchkin voice, singing terrifying songs about drug use, abortion and being a fat kid and each fill me with a profound sense of dread, horror, and disgust."
posted by psmealey
on Nov 26, 2003 -
There have been some unusual homemade characters popping up, but I thought the names and descriptions for these were unusually clever. For example: Chestaire, who "secretly wishes he had more hair (on his head)." Or Jacques Heepoe ("the 's' is silent") the hippo who is "an avid tonette player".
Hey, Kelly Osborne owns one. And if you're out of work like me, the creator is open to swaps. Sweet.
posted by sparky
on Sep 19, 2003 -
Hong Kong Debt Collection Gets Ugly. "Collectors have been known to throw snakes, or a swarm of grasshoppers into an apartment to hasten debt repayment, or to hang the carcasses of dogs and cats outside."
I think I'd prefer being declined for credit, wouldn't you?
posted by Miss Beth
on Sep 10, 2002 -
A 63-year old Norwegian bus company owner has amassed
one of the worlds largest collections
of ancient manuscripts valued at over 110 million dollars. His story, how the collection is used and his plans for the sale proceeds are all first-class and an inspiration to private collectors of antiquities.
posted by stbalbach
on Aug 25, 2002 -
"Many individuals have asked me in past months, Why moist towelette collecting? Why not stamp collecting, or numismatics?
To be different, perhaps? Well, I must admit that at first that was part of the appeal, but I have since become aware of the strong movement of Moist Towelette enthusiasts, and accepted that I am not alone in my fascination / hobby."
posted by machaus
on Jun 25, 2001 -