March 27, 2014
Scrap Dealer’s Bargain Turns Out To Be Worth Millions
London (AP) There is good luck, outrageous good fortune and now there is the case of the scrap metal dealer who found one of the eight missing Faberge imperial eggs at a flea market in the American Midwest.
A London antique dealer said Wednesday that that the scrap metal entrepreneur bought the egg for about $14,000, thinking he could make a small profit by reselling the piece for its gold content.
It turned out the jewel-encrusted piece was worth millions.
Kieran McCarthy of Wartski, which specializes in Russian artifacts, said the scrap metal dealer began to suspect he was holding a rare piece after seeing an article online about an imperial Faberge Easter egg made for Russian royalty. The dealer contacted McCarthy, who verified the egg as genuine and negotiated its sale to a collector. Both buyer and seller want to remain anonymous, and McCarthy did not disclose the sale price but experts note that a non-imperial Faberge egg sold at Christie’s for $18.5 million in 2007.
Independent Faberge expert Geza von Habsburg said the egg is “absolutely genuine” and matches the one-line description found in records kept by Russia’s Imperial Cabinet.
The egg, which contains a Vacheron Constantin watch, sits on a jeweled gold stand and was given by Alexander III to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna in Easter 1887.
Only 50 of the imperial eggs were made for the royal family, and eight remained missing before the latest find, though only three of those are known to have survived the Russian revolution. It will be on display at Wartski’s London showroom April 14-17, the first time it will have been seen in public for 112 years.
Finnish Gibberish Talker Finds Fame, Heads To US
Helsinki (AP) A 19-year-old Finnish supermarket cashier with millions of Internet fans of her language imitation YouTube video is heading for America hoping her gibberish hit will open up a new career.
In two weeks, Sara Maria Forsberg’s “What languages sound like to a foreigner” has drawn more than 9 million viewings, transforming her into a sought after celebrity that prompted the mayor of her hometown of Pietarsaari to hand her the town keys as a gesture of appreciation.
Mayor Mikael Jakobsson says she “likely is the most famous person ever” to have been born in the coastal town of 20,000 inhabitants.
Her agent Jere Hietala told the AP on Wednesday that Forsberg was headed for Los Angeles on March 29 after “numerous advertising related companies” had been in touch.
Ireland Needs Shaggy Sheep For ‘Shearing Olympics’
Dublin (AP) Do you own a shaggy sheep? Ireland needs ewes.
The Irish require at least 6,000 sheep as hosts of this year’s Golden Shears World Championships. But they’re more than 1,000 short with just weeks to go before an event dubbed “the Olympics of sheep shearing.”
Organizers said Monday they need ewes, aged 12 to 14 months, to ensure that all competitors are supplied similarly shaped sheep. Prices for such animals in Ireland are running high, and farmers are under pressure to sell them before the May 22 start of the four-day competition in Gorey, south of Dublin.
This year’s event features competitors from 38 countries from China to Chile, including defending champion shearer Gavin Mutch of Scotland. Ireland previously hosted the 37-year-old contest in 1998.
‘How To Poo On A Date’ Wins Odd Book-Title Prize
London (AP) A guide to coping with an awkward romantic moment has been awarded a prize for the year’s oddest book title.
Humorous self-help book “How to Poo on a Date: The Lovers’ Guide to Toilet Etiquette” triumphed Friday in the quirky Diagram Prize.
Organizers said the book, published by Prion Press, received 30 percent of votes in an online ballot. It beat other finalists including “Are Trout South African” and “Working Class Cats: The Bodega Cats of New York City.”
Prize director Horace Bent said voters had chosen “a manual that can help one through life’s more challenging and delicate moments.”
The prize, founded in 1978, is run by the British trade magazine The Bookseller.
Previous winners include “Bombproof Your Horse,” ‘’Living With Crazy Buttocks” and “Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes.”
Search For Old Atari Games Gets Trashy
Alamogordo, NM (AP) Organizers say a planned dig into a New Mexico landfill for a rumored cache of what some consider the worst Atari video game of all time is expected to proceed despite state environmental regulators’ concerns.
Fuel Entertainment and LightBox Interactive are seeking to excavate an old Alamogordo landfill that reportedly was a dumping ground for “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” game cartridges. Jonathan Chinn, an executive producer at Los Angeles-based LightBox, said Thursday that the search hasn’t been halted.
Chinn says a local waste-management consultant who filed an excavation permit is addressing questions raised by the New Mexico Environmental Department.
A department spokesman has said the agency was waiting on a revised waste excavation plan.
“E.T.” the video game, inspired by the hit 1982 movie, is said to have contributed to Atari’s decline.
Students Hold Festive Protest Of Canceled Vacation
Bethlehem, PA (AP) When Northampton Community College canceled spring break to make up for excessive snow days, students decided to protest by wearing flip-flops, bathing suits and tank tops to class. Not to mention plastic leis.
The imaginary beach day on Tuesday drew sympathy, not scorn, from winter-weary administrators at the eastern Pennsylvania school. They set up a Tiki bar with an inflatable palm tree in the campus food court to serve nonalcoholic drinks with paper umbrellas.
Protest organizers Thoai Luong and John Cronce, both 20 and from Easton, were a bit disappointed in the turnout, which totaled around 15 people, mostly male. But they said those who joined in were having a blast.
“Most of the campus is looking at us like we’re nuts,” Cronce told the Express-Times of Easton. “It would be nice if there were more girls.”
The food court also featured a plastic kiddie pool and a pingpong table, where college President Mark Erickson played against the students. Erickson wore sandals, an orange polo shirt, madras shorts and a lei, although he stashed a suit in his office for some afternoon functions.
But all the festivities couldn’t change the still-chilly weather in Bethlehem ‚Äî or the fact that a weeklong vacation was nixed.
Holding a beverage from the Tiki bar, student Efrain Lopez told WFMZ-TV: “The drink’s nice, but I’d rather be on spring break.”
Camera Used On Moon Landing Sold For $758,489
Vienna (AP) It was put on auction as a camera that made it to the moon and back. And it had its price‚ nearly $760,000.
The Hasselblad 500 sold over the weekend is described by Vienna auctioneers Galerie Westlicht as part of the equipment carried by the 1971 Apollo 15 mission, the fourth manned mission to land on the moon. Galerie Westlicht identifies the new owner as Japanese businessman Terukazu Fujisawa.
It says the owner of an electronics chain placed his winning bid of 550,000 euros by phone. Bidding started Saturday at 80,000 euros, just over $110,000. The gallery initially described the Hasselblad as the only camera ever brought back from the moon but later said it was one of several, after some experts questioned that claim.