A rare Enigma machine, the proto-computer used by the Nazis to send codes during World War II, just sold at auction for $233,000 to an unnamed buyer. Of course, the Enigma code was cracked by Alan Turing and the other cypherpunks at Bletchley Park.
Paul Dini is having a garage sale, and you're invited. No, it's not for charity, and these are not big ticket items, it's just, in his words, "Original art, collectibles, One-of-a-kind pieces, animation memorabilia, costumes, and generic crap I don't want to pay storage fees on anymore." It's his collection of mostly unopened toys and action figures; but to geeks, these are Paul Dini's toys! Dini is somewhat of a towering figure in the superhero world for his work as a animation and comic book writer and creator. In addition to being part of the core team of writers on Lost, he is a five-time Emmy award winner, as well as the Eisner award, Harvey Award and several Annie Awards. Now his toys can be yours!
Hurry, hurry, this is your chance to own the Toshiba Satellite Pro that President Bill Clinton used to email John Glenn in space on November 6, 1998. Apparently, the laptop belonged to a member of Clinton's medical staff who helped the president send the email to orbit. The laptop is listed at $125,000. Wonder how much RAM is in it. "Bill Clinton computer -Presidential email on it, to John Glenn in space!"
Here is Heritage Auctions' description for the Gibeon Mask -- "an incomparable iron meteorite"
Closing out the Gibeon section is arguably the most aesthetic iron meteorite known to exist. In 1992, indigenous tribesmen in Namibia's Kalahari recovered this matchless specimen with the aid of a metal detector. It is extremely rare for meteorites to have naturally formed holes, and rarer still when the holes are positioned in the matrix in such a way as to yield a magnificent aesthetic specimen-let alone the highly zoomorphic example seen here. Defined by the two adjacent hollows that perforate its mass and separated by perfectly sculpted ridges, there is an exquisite asymmetric balance between this meteorite's two sides: the outward flanging of one side is offset by the larger hollow and more prominent opposing crest.
In addition to the mechanisms involved in the shaping of aesthetic iron meteorites described in the previous lot, there is one other critical detail that was of particular significance to the current example: the moment of extraction from beneath the Earth's surface. If removed several hundred years earlier, this specimen would not have been the perfectly singular zoomorphic evocation before us. If removed several hundred years later, the holes would be far too large and outsized. Adorned with a sumptuous natural patina from its stay in the Kalahari and accompanied by a custom armature and Lucite dome, this is an incomparable meteorite from the finest collection of aesthetic iron meteorites in the world. 195 x 212 x 177mm (7.66 x 8.33 x 7 inches) and 9.37 kilograms (20.66 pounds)
Provenance: The Macovich Collection, New York City. Estimate: $140,000 - $160,000.
Remember the balloon boy hoax of 2009? Richard and Mayumi Heene claimed their 6-year-old son had floated away in the saucer-shaped contraption only to later be revealed hoaxsters trying to land a reality TV show. Soon, you'll be able to own a piece of the prank. Michael Fruitman of Mike's Stadium Sportcscards in Denver, Colorado paid Heene's attorney $2500 for the saucer at auction. He's putting it on display for a bit before chopping it up for "souvenirs." "Balloon Boy Saucer To Go On Display In Colo. Store"
This Sunday, an auction house in Ireland will sell off what is said to be the head of St Vitalis, patron saint of genital diseases. St Vitalis was canonized for "numerous miracles performed on those with bladder and genital disorders."
The head sat for many years in the family hall in County Louth, but was recently uncovered in an outhouse.
Mr Matthews said that although he couldn't be certain it was the head of a saint: "It's certainly ancient, and it's certainly the head of somebody."
The Holy Cross Monastery, a Benedictine order in Rostrevor, County Down, did not even know who St Vitalis was, and after an internet search, declined to comment further on the matter of his or anyone else's severed head.
New Zealand special effects house Weta has put a collection of its fine models up for auction on eBay, with proceeds going to benefit victims of the Christchurch earthquake. I own two of Weta's rayguns, and they're among my most prized and beautiful possessions. Up for sale are two models based on the Lord of the Rings movies (one signed by Peter Jackson, the other by Richard Taylor) and one of the Doctor Grodbort's rayguns, customized and signed by Greg Broadmore.
Dug North sez, "The Ethiopian Caterpillar is an exquisite automaton from 1820 going to auction at Sotheby's November. Attributed to Henri Maillardet -- creator of the famous drawing automaton -- only six automaton caterpillars are known to exist. Its value is estimated to be somewhere between $350,000 and $450,000."
Richard sez, "For the discerning mad scientist: the list of items up for auction by the University of Delaware from a former Chrysler plant in Newark, Delaware. The university bought the plant after it closed, and apparently got the contents as well. The coolest items are probably the 6 axis robot arms, some still in line along assembly lines. There appears to be all kinds of milling equipment as well as other mysterious devices of unsure provenance. I am sure a machine expert would be able to make sense of all of it. The place is acres large (ed: literally -- 3 million sqft), so I bet there are plenty of robot arms to go around.
Oh to be an independently wealthy mad scientist with a large laboratory, perhaps under an extinct volcano, for this stuff. I suppose if there are any makers in the area they might want to check it out."
Author Ellen Kushner writes in on behalf of the lovely Interstitial Arts Foundation, saying
To celebrate the release of Interfictions 2, their (our?) second original anthology of interstitial writing (edited by Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak), the Interstitial Arts Foundation (promoting "art made in the interstices between genres and categories...disciplines, mediums, and cultures") invited artists & crafters to create original pieces based on stories in the book. (We did this months in advance, so all the artists got sneak peeks at the unpublished stories they chose.)
The results include a bookmark sewn with little bits that "make alien things seem oddly familar" like Theodora Goss's story "The Child-Empress of Mars," a glass bottle containing fragments of Shira Lipkin's story "Valentines" recorded in multiple mediums, and a cocktail hat embellished with semi-precious stones, refrigerator magnets, sequins, and an origami frog, all caught in a net along with words, inspired by Camilla Bruce's "Berry Moon."
Bidding runs through December 8th, and stuff will be shipped in time for the holidays. All funds raised will go toward further interstitial art projects, including anthologies, exhibitions, and salons. The IAF is dedicated to supporting and inspiring art that crosses, falls between, or breaks apart borders -- such as the pieces in this year's auction! We were amazed at just how interstitial the actual works turned out to be - and many of the artists have thanked us for giving them space to experiment and stretch their usual boundaries.
The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund is a venerable institution that sends sf fans from North America to Europe and vice-versa, to bridge the world's fandoms (there are other funds that bring together fans from other parts of the world). Frank Wu, Anne KG Murphy and Brian Gray are fundraising for this year's fund, and they've solicited many writers -- Charlie Stross, Nalo Hopkinson, David Brin, Elizabeth Bear, Julie Czerneda and Mary Robinette Kowal and me! -- to donate "tuckerizations" in forthcoming works for a charity auction. Tuckerizing is the inclusion of a real person's name in a fictional piece (previous tuckerizations from charity auctions in my novels include General Graeme Sutherland in Little Brother, Suzanne Church in Makers, and Connor Prikkel in the forthcoming For the Win; my god-daughter Ada has also been tuckerized in my story "I, Robot" and in Makers).
TAFF is also auctioning off a first edition of "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (!), and John Hersey's "Hiroshima."
It's a great cause, and great prizes that make killer gifts (how cool would it be for a kid to grow up with her name on a character in a wonderful novel?)