The Sony PlayStation prototype sold for $360,000 to Pets.com founder Greg McLemore

This prototype Sony PlayStation, the result of a failed Sony and Nintendo collaboration in the early 1990s, sold Friday for $360,000 in a live online auction. Background here. While Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey was thought to have made the winning bid, the winner was actually Greg McLemore who made a fortune in the first dotcom gold rush as founder of Pets.com and Toys.com. McLemore is a an avid videogame collector and historian who runs the virtual International Arcade Museum. From Forbes:

According to a profile in Robb Report, money from those early dot-com ventures helped (McLemore) start a 20-year journey collecting video game memorabilia, from strength-testing machines of the 1880s, to prototypes of coin-operated mechanical horse rides in the 1920s, to the first commercially sold arcade game Computer Space from 1971...

I'm looking to not have this machine just buried in a closet somewhere," McLemore told Forbes, saying he wants to take his collection—which he estimates includes over 800 coin-operated machines and countless other smaller games, trade magazines and original art—and build out a permanent museum.

Working his way toward that prospect, he's beginning to develop exhibitions with outside partners to display the items, including an upcoming run with the University of Southern California Pacific Asia Museum in spring and summer 2021 illustrating Asian influence on the video game industry; the Nintendo PlayStation will be included.

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Auction of early Apple memorabilia owned by the company's original product design engineer

Jerrold C. Manock, Apple employee #246, is auctioning off his personal collection of Apple memorabilia and historical items. Manock started at Apple in 1979 and led the industrial design of the Apple II and the first Macintosh among other products. Along with Manock's offerings like the Steve Jobs-signed contract for the Apple II project, a 1983 Mac 128k with an "in appreciation" plaque, and Apple beach towels, the auction includes other people's items like a working Apple-1. Online bidding is March 5 to 12.

Apple memorabilia auction (RR Auction)

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Invader's "Rubik Mona Lisa," made from hundreds of Rubik's Cubes, expected to get $166,000 at auction

"Rubik Mona Lisa" (2005) by legendary French street artist Invader, is expected to sell for around $166,000 at a forthcoming auction. Made from more than 300 Rubik's Cubes, it's the centerpiece of Artcurial's "Urban Art" sale taking place on February 23. Invader first experimented with what he calls Rubikcubism in 2004 and has since created many other works including iconic videogame characters and representations of classical paintings by Alain Jacquet and Gustave Courbet. Invader writes:

Rubikcubism is similar to Op Art. To view a piece, you have to stand back from it. Close up, the image is nothing but a mass of cubes and colours, it’s only when you stand back that the face emerges. The further away you stand, the clearer it becomes. Two years ago, I displayed a Mona Lisa in the window of a gallery in Lyon. From the gallery entrance, the image was invisible. Overly pixelated. It was only when you stood on the pavement opposite that Mona Lisa’s features appeared. Faces become recognisable or amorphous, depending on the position of the viewer.

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Police accidentally auction off car with big stash of drugs hidden in its bumper

In Thailand, police auctioned off a Honda CRV that had been seized in a drug bust. The buyer spent 586,00 baht (US$19,000) on the vehicle. Later, a mechanic discovered a secret compartment behind the bumper that contained nearly 100,000 amphetamine pills. From the BBC News:

Officials said they would conduct more thorough searches in future.

"According to protocols, we search every vehicle we have received and this case was no exception. However, we couldn't find anything at the time, perhaps because the pills had been well hidden," said Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), according to the Bangkok Post.

image for illustration only: "Ritalin" by Sponge (CC BY-SA 3.0) Read the rest

Superman's cape just sold for nearly $200,000

Superman's cape, as worn by Christopher Reeve in Superman (1978), sold at auction yesterday for $193,750. From Julien's Auctions:

Includes a copy of Superman #331, which advertises on a banner above the front cover logo “YOU COULD BE A WINNER IN THE SECOND SUPERMAN MOVIE CONTEST!” Within the comic book is a full-page advertisement for the contest that lists “FIRST PRIZE” as “THE ACTUAL CAPE WORN BY CHRISTOPHER REEVE IN THE FILMING OF SUPERMAN THE MOVIE!..."

Accompanied by nine pages of supporting documents of authenticity, including a letter to the winning recipient of the cape, signed by DC Comics President Sol Harrison and dated February 27, 1978, and a letter from DC Comics’ Steven Korte to Sotheby’s, New York, dated October 21, 1997.

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Vintage UFO photos sold at auction, including the one from The X-Files "I Want To Believe" poster

In the 1970s, "Billy" Eduard Albert Meier documented the extraterrestrials who visited him by taking fantastic photographs of their spacecraft zooming over the Swiss countryside. Meier, founder of Freie Interessengemeinschaft für Grenz- und Geisteswissenschafter und Ufologiestudien (Free Community of Interests for the Border and Spiritual Sciences and Ufological Studies) says the spacecraft are called "beamships" and that they are piloted by beings called the Plejaren. Meier's ex-wife has since said that the UFOs in the photos are actually household objects and that Meier is a fibber, but, well, I want to believe. And in fact, one of Meier's photos was the source for Fox Mulder's "I Want To Believe" poster on The X-Files. That original snapshot and more than a dozen others just sold at a Sotheby's auction with one collection of six photos going for $16,250. From Sotheby's:

The second grouping includes two photographs which appear to show a single UFO moving slowly over the town of Berg Rumlikon, in Switzerland on June 14th, 1975 at 1:16 and 1:20 pm, and four images depicting a single UFO in a forested hilly area of Schmidrüti, Switzerland on March 18th, 1975, from 4:45 to 5:40 pm.

One of these photographs became perhaps the most famous and notorious UFO image of all time when 'The X-Files' chose it to appear in the famous "I Want to Believe" poster.

The poster hung in Mulder's office for the first three seasons of the show, but was changed in the 4th season due to an intellectual property suit brought by Meier, as the creators of the show never obtained permission to use the image.

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Olivia Newton-John is auctioning off her Grease leather jacket and pants

Olivia Newton-John is auctioning off hundreds of personal items from her career to benefit the Cancer Wellness & Research Centre she built in Australia. Her iconic "bad Sandy" leather jacket and stretch pants are expected to go for as much as $200,000. From CNN:

Ahead of the auction, Newton-John revealed that she had to be sewn into the high-waisted pants. "The pants have a broken zip and I had to be stitched into them because they were made in the '50s," she told Reuters Television...

A custom Pink Ladies jacket given to her by the "Grease" cast and crew will also go under the hammer and is expected to fetch between $2,000 and $4,000.

More here: "Property from the Collection of Olivia Newton-John" (Julien's Auctions)

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Kurt Cobain's "Unplugged" cardigan up for auction

The green cardigan that Kurt Cobain wore during Nirvana's classic MTV Unplugged performance in 1993 (see above) will be on the auction block at the end of the month. The sweater last changed hands following a November 2015 auction, selling for $137,500. This time, the minimum bid is set for $200,000 and it's expected to go for more than $300,000. It has not been washed.

“It’s very important that we don’t wash it,” Darren Julien of Julien’s Auctions said in Rolling Stone. “The stains are still there. There’s even cigarettes burns that you can see on the sweater.”

From Julien's Auctions:

The Manhattan brand sweater is a blend of acrylic, mohair and Lycra with five-button closure (one button absent) with two exterior pockets, a burn hole and discoloration near left pocket and discoloration on right pocket. Size medium. The sweater was obtained from Jackie Farry, a close friend of the Cobain family, and is accompanied by both a handwritten letter and a typed, signed letter from Farry.

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Rotting Leonardo suit from 1990s Ninja Turtles movie fails to sell at auction

Sadly, it appears that the decomposed latex Leonardo suit from 1993's TMNT III failed to sell at its auction earlier this week, despite the low low estimate of £10,000-£15,000. Read the rest

The "lost" Leonardo da Vinci painting has been found hanging in a yacht

In 2017, British auction house Christie's auctioned off the painting "Salvator Mundi" by Leonardo da Vinci (or by his workshop, at least) for $450 million. Read the rest

Legendary "lost" medieval chess piece found in drawer, expected to go for £1 million at auction

A family in Edinburgh had this curious medieval chess piece, mostly tucked in a drawer, for more than 50 years since the grandfather, an antiques dealer, bought it for £5. Recently, his granddaughter had it appraised at Sotheby's where it was identified as one of the five missing pieces from the historically significant Lewis Chessmen from the late 12th/early 13th century and dug up on the Isle of Lewis in 1831. The single piece is expected to fetch £1 million at auction. The rest of the set is held by the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland. From the BBC News:

They are seen as an "important symbol of European civilisation" and have also seeped into popular culture, inspiring everything from children's show Noggin The Nog to part of the plot in Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone...

The newly-discovered piece is a warder, a man with helmet, shield and sword and the equivalent of a rook on a modern chess board, which "has immense character and power..."

The discovery of the hoard (of pieces) remains shrouded in mystery, with stories of it being dug up by a cow grazing on sandy banks.

It is thought it was buried shortly after the objects were made, possibly by a merchant to avoid taxes after being shipwrecked, and so remained underground for 500 years.

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Monet Money: landscape painting sells for $110.7 million

This Claude Monet landscape painting just broke a record by selling for $110.7 million dollars at auction. Read the rest

Jeff Koons stainless steel rabbit for sale

This would have been a perfect inclusion in someone's (oversized) Easter basket. The Jeff Koons stainless steel "Rabbit" (41" x 19" x 12", 1986) will be on the auction block at Christie's on May 15 during their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The current owner purchased it from the Gagosian Gallery in 1992. It is expected to sell for between $50 million and $70 million.

According to Christie's, "this work is number two from an edition of three plus one artist's proof and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist."

If you can't afford this Rabbit for yourself, you can always visit one of the others for free at the truly fantastic Broad museum in Los Angeles. From The Broad's description of Rabbit:

In 1979 Jeff Koons made Inflatable Flower and Bunny (Tall White, Pink Bunny), the seed for so much of his future work. This sculpture, also in The Broad’s collection, features two vinyl inflatable toys — a flower and a pink bunny — that sit on top and in front of four square mirrors. Seven years later, Koons ditched the flower, combined the mirror and the bunny, and created Rabbit. The switch from the word “bunny” to “rabbit” is intriguing. Bunny is cute and floppy; rabbit is quick and sharp. The carrot in the rabbit’s paw is wielded like a weapon, and the once soft, leaky, and cheap vinyl shell of the bunny has been replaced by armorlike, costly stainless steel, which reflects everything surrounding Rabbit and deflects any allusions to the sculpture’s interior.

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Auction for entire series of Supreme skateboard decks expected to hit nearly $1 million

Launched as a NYC skateshop in 1994, streetwear brand Supreme has become a religion for hypbeasts (and the flippers who serve them). Now, a private collector is auctioning off their collection of every single Supreme skate deck ever made, many of which are emblazoned with graphics from esteemed contemporary artists. The lot of 248 skateboard decks along with the Louis Vuitton Boite skateboard trunk with tool kit, trucks, wheels and shoulder strap is expected to bring around $1 million but I bet it goes for much more. From Sotheby's:

Supreme started producing their own skateboards in 1998 and have collaborated with many well-known brands over the last 20 years - most famously with Louis Vuitton. Supreme is also known for their artist collaborations, featuring the likes of George Condo, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Richard Prince, KAWS, Marilyn Minter, Nate Lowman, and Takashi Murakami, among others.

"Own the Entire Supreme Skateboard Collection, Now Open for Bidding" (Sotheby's, thanks Lux Sparks-Pescovitz!)

Decks by Marilyn Minter and Jeff Koons and Louis Vuitton Boite skateboard trunk with accessories:

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Hugh Hefner's smoking jacket up for auction

Julien's Auctions is running a large auction of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's stuff, including several pairs of his pajamas, board games, a pipe, and this sharp smoking jacket. Described as "a scarlet silk damask smoking jacket with shawl collar and self-tie belt closure," the high estimate is $5,000 but I bet it goes for much more. According to Julien's, "All proceeds of the sale will benefit the Hugh M. Hefner foundation in support of organizations that advocate for and defend civil rights, with special emphasis on first amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies since 1964."

Hugh Hefner Bespoke Smoking Jacket (via Uncrate) Read the rest

Auction: the only moon rocks retrieved from the lunar surface that can be legally sold

In the United States, it's illegal to buy and sell moon rocks retrieved from the lunar surface during the Apollo missions. However, the law doesn't apply to the tiny moon pebbles seen above that a Soviet robotic probe drilled out of the lunar surface and sent back to Earth in 1970. In 1993, Sotheby's auctioned these "Soil Particles From Luna-16" off for $400,000. Now, they're going on the block again and expected to go for twice that amount or even more. According to Sotheby's, "the sale will mark just the second time that an actual piece of another world has ever been offered for public sale." From Collect Space:

The lunar samples were originally presented by the Soviet government to Nina Ivanovna Koroleva, the widow of Sergei Korolev, the "Chief Designer" of the Russian space program. Under Korolev's direction, the Soviet Union successfully put the world's first satellite into Earth orbit and launched the first human into space. His unexpected death in 1966 came before he could see the outcome of the space race to the moon.

Four years after Korolev died, the Soviets launched Luna 16, the first of three robotic lunar sample return missions. Touching down after the U.S. Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 astronauts had come and gone from the moon, Luna 16 deployed an extendable arm to drill and extract a core sample 14 inches (35 centimeters) deep. The 3.5 ounces (101 grams) of soil and rocks that it collected were then deposited into a capsule for their return to Earth.

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Entire amusement park for auction

In the market for a Ferris Wheel? Carousel? Scrambler? Go-kart Fleet? How about just a Chili Cheese Dispenser? The entire contents of the Heritage Square Amusement Park in Golden Colorado will be up for auction on October 25. It's cash-and-carry (certified or cashier’s check accepted) but "buyers of large pieces will have additional time for removal." Whew. I've got my eye on that Space Shuttle Ride from 1980 and maybe the 1963 Tilt A Whirl.

Heritage Square Amusument Park Auction Brochure PDF (via Atlas Obscura)

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