Some people have a lot of money. And some people have a fascination with memorabilia. And at the Venn-intersection of the two, absurdity reigns.
Examples of which were on display recently at auctions. The first was the purchase of Marilyn Monroe’s chest x-ray for $45,000. Putting aside the fact that this money could have put a deserving student through college (or at least into a nicely-equipped Land Rover), this stretches the notion of a “valuable” item. Ms. Monroe did not create this; she probably didn’t even like having it done. And there is nothing about this x-ray that is different from any other human female with ample cleavage. The winning bidder has essentially purchased a 50 year old picture of a human ribcage. And not even in color.
And then there was the more considerable outlay of $190,000 for a beaded glove worn by Michael Jackson. I realize that the value is not in the item itself (though Swarovskis aren’t cheap), but what it represents…otherwise I would be out buying cheap gloves & a Bedazzler right now. But logic would seem to dictate that a glove—however sparkly and iconic—would fetch slightly less than 100 times the per capita GDP of Cambodia. At the same auction, a lock of Elvis Presley’s hair went for $20,000… which would have made his cranium one of the more valuable pieces of real estate in the history of mankind.
And yet amidst the extravagance, a little sanity alights. As some with disposable income clamor to grab gloves, hair and snapshots of chest cavities, Warren Buffet pledges to give almost all of his wealth away. Good man. I would totally buy one of his gloves.