What's Selling on eBay - October 2016
By Deborah Abernethy and Mike McLeod
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The following items sold recently on eBay. The comments are those of expert appraiser Deborah Abernethy.

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$5,595 (55 bids, 8 bidders): Ultra Rare Pepsi Cola Neon Sign By Lackner Cincinnati, Ohio.
It is dated July 10, 1939. Its construction is steel and glass. In all our years in antiques, we have never seen this sign before. Have searched the internet and eBay and cannot find another for sale. Very cool! It is working perfectly. Sign measures 10.5 inches high x 15 inches wide x 5 inches deep. Shows patent number 1,850,319.

DBA: The neon light was developed in 1910. The high time for neon displays was from 1920 to 1940. Advertising has been a major collector’s category for many years. While this may be an unusual or rare design for Pepsi, there are many sales in this price range for many popular advertising signs. Neon signs typically last a long time so this one working is not unusual. Considering all factors, this sale would be on par for the marketplace; neither the buyer nor the seller got the advantage.

(Photo: eBay seller rsilvs, Ron Silverman Of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, 216-346-3008)

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$1,259 (29 bids, 12 bidders): 1965 Richard Avedon, Silver Gelatin Beatles Photograph Paul McCartney, NASA. Measuring 8 by 10 inches, this rare silver gelatin photograph depicts Paul McCartney wearing a NASA spacesuit. I was able to find this explanation: “This portrait coincides with the release of The Beatles’ record Help! It was written by Lennon to describe the anxiety associated with the quick rise to fame. Avedon’s choice to take McCartney’s portrait in a spacesuit is quite fitting—he is protected from the industry, from the world. I could imagine many a girl bopping their head and serenading this portrait, ‘…help me, get my feet back on the ground.’”

On the back of this photograph is an original stamp which reads, “© Photograph by Avedon All Rights Reserved.” Written in pencil are the numbers “9963 75.” There is one tiny bump to the lower right-hand corner. There are no other problems or any marks to the gloss surface. Original Richard Avedon (1923-2004) silver gelatin photographs of celebrities can sell for very high prices. (Photo: eBay seller wwolst12)

DBA: Richard Avedon did several photographs of the Beatles, and some of these have become quite valuable. I would say the buyer got a deal. Two silver gelatin prints of Lennon and the identical one of McCartney were sold at a James D. Julia auction for $3,555 in February of 2015. These were 2 1/8 by 2 7/8 inches and included the photographer’s stamp on the back. Two large (14 7/8 x 42.5 inches) Beatles prints by Avedon were sold by Phillips NY in April of 2016 for $100,000—hammer price. Based on others that have sold for much more money, something fell short here.

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$5,500 (live auction: 17 eBay bids, plus phone and floor bids): Record Size Antique Crocodile Skull Trophy. Antique saltwater specimen from the river deltas of Borneo. This was a monster crocodile! The calculation of length of the croc is 1:9 head/body ratio which makes this croc almost 30 feet long! The head measures a giant 39 x 19 x 12.5 inches high. The largest known crocodile is a Java Saltwater croc that grew to 20 feet 3 inches. (Photo: eBay seller calaauctioneers)

DBA: Thirty-foot, 4,000-pound crocodiles—how scary! In the United States, we do not worry so much about crocodile attacks, and we don’t worry about attacks in the ocean as most of our species cannot exist for long in the salt water. While there are many folk tales of large crocodiles, the largest confirmed saltwater crocodile on record drowned in a fishing net in Papua New Guinea in 1979; its dried skin plus head measured 20 feet 4 inches long, and it was estimated to have been 20 feet 8 inches when accounting for shrinkage and missing a tail tip. A crocodile killed in the Calcutta area had a skull measuring 30 inches, one of the largest known to exist. For short distances, these creatures can swim 15 to 18 mph, three times as fast as humans. Given these examples, a skull measuring 39 inches is exceptionally large. This is probably the largest specimen in existence. That skull must be a record size. Nothing else has come close to that selling price.

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$1,009 (45 bids, 19 bidders): Tinphone Miniature Antique Metal Ear Trumpet Medical Westmacott Hearing Aid 1850. This is a miniature Georgian metal ear trumpet c.1850s and used as a hearing aid. The metal is marked “Tinphone” along with the makers “Westacott, Manchester number 2.” It is in very good condition with the original earpiece still attached. It measures 4.3 inches long by 1.5 inches across. (Photo: eBay seller flikmywick)

DBA: There were around 100 manufacturers of similar trumpet-type hearing aids in the 19th century in England. The first device to enhance sounds for the impaired was the cow horn. The first hearing devices (non-electrical) were modeled after the animal part that worked best.

An identical device sold recently for $888. Ear trumpets, while not found in every estate sale these days, are not rare. About 25 could be found selling on various auction websites in the past two years, with the most frequent price being around $100. The bone tip makes this one more special than most and older, although the cow bone ones are usually older than the manufactured metal ones. The seller got a good deal in this transaction.

Deborah Abernethy is a certified appraiser with the International Association of Appraisers. She can be contacted at 404-262-2131 or Deborah@expert-appraisers.com . Her website is www.expert-appraisers.com .




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