This Month in Collecting History - October 2016
By Mike McLeod

October 1, 1908: Henry Ford introduced the Model T. In 2015, Barrett-Jackson sold a restored Tin Lizzy painted red with serial number 90 (of 15 million made) for $121,000.

October 1, 1935: Birthday of Julie Andrews. Her many films include favorites Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. She won one Academy Award (Mary Poppins, 1964), five Golden Globes and two Primetime Emmy Awards. She voiced the Queen in Shrek 2 and 3 and Gru’s mother in Despicable Me ( Julie Andrews’ Maria costumes worn in The Sound of Music hit a high note of $1.3 million in 2013, and Mary Poppins’ “bottomless carpetbag” went to a new home for $95,000 in 2010, both at Profiles in History.

Photo Right: Julie Andrews

October 3, 1955: Captain Kangaroo premiered and ran for almost 30 years. In 2013, Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit—obtained from Bob Keeshan, Captain Kangaroo himself—sold at Nate D. Sanders Auction for $224,579. The only other set of these puppets is in the Smithsonian.

Photo Right: Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit
(Photo courtesy of Nate D. Sanders Auctions)

October 4, 1923: The birthday of Charlton Heston (birth name Charlton John Carter), who is not too well known for his stint on The Bold and The Beautiful soap opera in 1993, but more so for The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur ( Memorabilia from his estate was auctioned in March 2016 by Bonhams, and his personal script for Ben-Hur sold for $12,500.

Photo Right: Charlton Heston

October 4, 1861: Frederic Remington was born. A master at depicting the Old West in bronze and paint, Frederic Remington’s bronze sculpture, The Wounded Bunkie, brought the highest price for his work at $5,641,000 at Sotheby’s in 2008.

October 6, 2006: A circa 1900 copper Indian Chief weathervane pointed to $5,840,000 at Sotheby’s for bidders Jerry and Susan Lauren. (Jerry is the brother of designer Ralph Lauren.) The weathervane was from the J.L. Mott Iron Works and was previously owned by the granddaughter of Henry Ford. To date, this is the most ever paid for a weathervane.

Photo Right: The $5.84 million weathervane (Photo, courtesy of Sotheby’s)

October 7, 1849: The passing of Edgar Allan Poe. Known for writing The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum, his first (self) published work is probably his rarest, the 40-page Tamerlane and Other Poems. Only about 50 copies were published and about a dozen still exist. In 2009, a copy sold at Christie’s for $662,500.

Photo Right: Tamerlane

October 7, 1856: Moses Fleetwood "Fleet" Walker was born and is considered by many to be the first African American in Major League Baseball, playing one season for the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1884. His brother also played for the team later in the season. Fleet attended the University of Michigan and played for the team there. In 1889, the Major Leagues erected the color barrier. An 8.75 x 6.5-inch cabinet photo of the 1882 University of Michigan baseball team with Walker went for $6,380 in 2006 at Robert Edward Auctions.

Photo Right: The University of Michigan cabinet card; Fleet is seated, third from the right. (Photo courtesy of Robert Edward Auctions)

October 10, 1985: Orson Welles passed away. He directed, starred in and co-wrote Citizen Kane (1941) for which he won an Oscar for Original Screenplay. In 2011, that Oscar sold for $861,542 at Nate D. Sanders Auctions.

Photo Right: Orson Welles’ Oscar
(Photo courtesy of Nate D. Sanders Auctions)

October 11, 2011: Actor Richard Gere’s 107-lot collection of guitars hit the high note of $936,438 at Christie’s. At the top was a 1960 Gibson Les Paul that realized $98,500.

October 12, 1492: Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas. In 2015, a letter he wrote from Spain to his son Diego dated 29 April 1498 and valued at £15 million, was barred by a judge from leaving Spain to be auctioned (, 3/11/2015).

October 14, 1926: Winnie-the-Pooh was published, A.A. Milne’s story about a boy named Christopher Robin, just like his son. In 2014, a drawing by E.H. Shepard in the second book, The House At Pooh Corner, of Christopher Robin looking over a fence and Pooh looking through it and titled, “For a long time they looked at the river beneath them,” sold for £314,500 at Sotheby’s (, 12/9/14).

Photo Right: E.H. Shepard’s drawing (Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s)

October 15, 1920: Oh, Godfather, Mario Puzo was born. In addition to writing several novels, he was also the screenwriter or co-writer of the three Godfather movies, three Superman movies, Earthquake, and several other movies. His 45-box archive sold for $625,000 at RR Auction in 2016. It included his 1965 Olympia typewriter, a 744-page draft for a book titled, Mafia, which would later be renamed, The Godfather, and two of his handwritten notes: “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

October 19, 2014: Ian McKellen’s “Gandalf The White” screen-used wizard’s staff from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy conjured up $390,000 at Profiles in History.

October 20, 1931: Baseball great Mickey Mantle was born. A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 PSA NM-MT 8 homered for $525,800 in 2015 at Heritage Auctions. He once said, “After I hit a home run, I had a habit of running the bases with my head down. I figured the pitcher already felt bad enough without me showing him up rounding the bases” (

(Photo, courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

October 21, 1956: Carrie Frances Fisher, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, was born. She will always be remembered as Princess Leia. Her Slave Leia costume worn in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi yielded $96,000 at Profiles in History in 2015.

Photo Right: The Slave Leia costume (Photo courtesy of Profiles in History)

October 22, 1938: Christopher Lloyd appeared for the first time. A star on film and TV, he will never be forgotten as “Doc Brown” in the Back to the Future movies. In 2011, Profiles in History sold the time-traveling DeLorean used in the third movie for $541,200 with the proceeds benefitting the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. In all, seven DeLoreans were made for the movies; three remain in this timeline.

Photo Right: One of the DeLoreans in this timeline (Photo courtesy of Oto Godfrey and Justin Morton)

October 22, 2014: An Apple-1 motherboard, power supply, keyboard and monitor sold this day for the record price of $905,000 at Bonhams. Others have sold for less.

October 23, 1940: Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé, was born and became a Brazilian soccer legend. His record of 1,281 goals scored in 1,363 games (including amateur and reserve games) still stands. In June of 2016, his 2,000-item collection of memorabilia was sold at Julien’s Auctions with these scores: a Jules Rimet special replica trophy presented to Pele for being the first player to win three World Cups, $567,360, and his 1962 and 1970 FIFA World Cup Winner’s Medals, $202,752 and $498,240, respectively.

October 26, 1881: Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp, and Doc Holliday rendezvoused with Ike and Billy Clanton, Billy Claiborne and Tom and Frank McLaury at the O.K. Corral—well, close by—for the most famous gunfight in history. The Earps went to disarm the Clanton gang, but when the smoke cleared, Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank were dead. Virgil, Morgan and Doc were wounded. A Colt .45 revolver owned by Wyatt Earp sold for $225,000 at J. Levine Auction in 2014.

Photo Right: Wyatt Earp’s Colt (Photo courtesy of J. Levine Auction and Josh Skalniak)

October 30, 1938: The night America was invaded by Martians, thanks to Orson Welles. His radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds is not believed to have caused nationwide panic—as many think since few heard the broadcast. The media, however, sold it as causing terror. What it did cause was instant notoriety for Orson Welles. His War of the Worlds radio show transcript sold for $28,800 at Profiles in History in 2015.

Photo Right: Orson Welles with the media the next day.

October 31, 1632: The baptism of master artist Johannes Vermeer. He produced masterpieces, but relatively few over his lifetime. His world-famous Girl with a Pearl Earring resides in the Mauritshuis Art Museum in The Hague. Vermeer’s A Young Woman Seated at the Virginal (a keyboard instrument) auctioned for $30,140,259 at Sotheby’s in 2013 (, 8/19/13). For many years, it was doubted that Vermeer was the painter of it, but after a decade of research, it was determined to be his work.

A Young Woman Seated at the Virginal

Johannes Vermeer

October 31, 1926: Erik Weisz passed away, better known as Harry Houdini, from peritonitis after his appendix ruptured. Known for taking punches to the stomach, Houdini was hit several times by a student while reclining, which caused or exacerbated his appendix rupturing. A master magician, movie actor and aviator, Houdini’s Double Fold Death Defying Water Mystery box sold at Potter and Potter Auctions in 2014 for $55,000. 


Credits: and
All photos are public domain PD-US, unless otherwise credited.



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