A Penny Saved is Not a Penny Earned

Once in a while, I find a Canadian penny among my stash of brown Abraham Lincoln heads. Possibly some Canadian visitor on vacation forgets to empty his or her loose change before going to Disneyland. It’s easy to confuse the two pennies. The Canadian penny is the same size and color as ours.

Just like our penny, Canada’s also costs more than its worth. It costs the Canadian government 1.6 cents to produce one penny. It’s even crazier here in the States, as it costs 2.4 cents per.

But the Canadians seem to have more sense than us. Canada will withdraw its penny from circulation this year, saving taxpayers $11M annually. There have been efforts to eliminate the penny in the U.S. in the past, but Congress has always been resistant (as are zinc miners and businesses with stakes in vending machines).

When will we wake up? Tim Fernholz has a good take our penny problem.

The penny paradox is a dilemma at the heart of democratic government–an engaged, concentrated group of people who benefit from spending can keep it going, even of it’s not in the broad public interest.

What’s even crazier is that the nickel costs 11.2 cents to make. Obama’s budget for 2013 included a proposal to allow the US Mint to study the use of alternative metals in coin production in the hope that this would reduce costs. Too bad Congress will kill this part of the proposal once again.

Like Father, Like Son

Back in December, we had the honor of handling one of cinema’s greatest artifact: Bela Lugosi’s original screen-worn cape from Dracula (1931). It was brought to us by none other than his son, Bela, Jr. Prior to seeing this legendary cape, we all believed, as did most movie buffs and horror collectors, that the cape was buried with Bela, Sr.

Bela, Jr. settled this for us once and for all. According to Junior (and used in the catalog description):

Prior to his death in 1956, Bela Lugosi gave the cape to his wife of 20 years, Lillian Lugosi, and the mother of Bela Jr., telling her that it was the cape from the 1931 film version of Dracula. He instructed Lillian to keep the cape for Bela Jr. Upon Lugosi’s death in 1956, the family decided that he should be buried in his Dracula costume. Given Bela Lugosi’s wish that his son should have the cape used in the 1931 film, the family dressed the body in a lighter weight version of the cape he used when making personal appearances. Lillian retained the original 1931 cape and left it, along with her other possessions, to Bela Jr. upon her death in 1981. It has remained in his possession continuously since.

Unfortunately, the cape did not sell at auction. The original starting bid was $1.5M, but was lowered to $1.2M immediately before the auction began. That still was not enough to get a bid. Too bad, as it’s a fantastic piece of history.

Today, I returned the cape to the Lugosi family. If anyone has met Bela, Jr., you’d instantly see the father. He is the spitting image. It’s uncanny and slightly and amusingly spooky.

Hot Wheels

When we were deciding what items from the Captain America: The First Avenger Auction to bring to C2E2, the Hydra Frastrac was one of the things that immediately came to mind. It’s big. Huge. Monstrous. Imposing. It would make an impressive first impression. Imagine entering the lobby of McCormick Place and greeted by this giant vehicle from Red Skull’s Hydra fleet. It’s a holy shit moment and it sets the tone for the expo. Fans would be energized and they’d want to see what else awaits.

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Origins of the Ghostly Hitchhikers

Last year we acquired the Ghostly Hitchhikers from the Haunted Mansion at Disney World, Florida. Since then, they’ve been exemplary co-tenants with us in the office. They’re also wonderful conversation starters when clients visit. Almost everyone who’s been to Disneyland or Disney World recognize them immediately on sight. The attraction is one of the most popular at either theme parks.

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Deliberate Misspellings on Hydra Signs?

There are 4 sets of prop Hydra signs in the Captain America: The First Avenger Auction — lots 186-189. The signs are written in German. But curiously enough, there are obvious misspellings. For example, lot 186 shows a large wooden signed emblazoned with “SPERRGEBEJT.” It should really be spelled “sperrgebiet” (restricted area). “KEJN EJNTRJTT” should really be “kein eintritt” (no entry).

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The Dance with Marvel

This is our first dance with Marvel. It’s an audition. Do well and “this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” For the last few weeks, I’ve been diligently planning the event, organizing the C2E2 booth, strategizing on social media, scheduling shipping, applying for insurance, etc. etc. It’s almost coming together. We also have a couple of surprises lined up. It will be exciting and fun. Stay tuned.