It Could Have Been Yours: The enlightened person's guide to the year's most desirable things by Jolyon Fenwick and Marcus Husselby
|It Could Have Been Yours: The enlightened person's guide to the year's most desirable things by Jolyon Fenwick and Marcus Husselby|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: ...Or a hundred ways to spend your next fortune.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: November 2011|
|Publisher: Profile Books|
In a world of diamond-encrusted skulls, gold-leafed iPhones and luxury yachts ten a penny, of blingy shit (or should that be shitty bling?) it's a relief to know people are still spending money on unique one-offs that are more worthwhile. The records for costliest photo, artwork, musical instrument and manuscript have all been broken in the twenty four months leading up to this book's release. Our collators have scoured the press for those and other, similarly noteworthy auctions, and found what other people paid for what you didn't know you would have wanted given the money.
Beyond a small picture, the price and a smallest-of-small essay about the relevance of each item, it's up to us to join the dots. Doing that reveals that a suitably architectural bra for Marylin Monroe sold for £3,200, while an X-ray of its contents was going for $45,000. The rules of football can go for £1.2million; those of baseball, $4.4million. The flag that Scott wanted to plant in claiming the South Pole has a value of £73,250; a flag painted by Jasper Johns, a whopping $28.6million.
It's a volume to fit discretely on the gift-book shelf, and while it could be larger to match the grandiose contents, it works. It could easily be the first in an annual franchise, for the buying of such things will continue. Hollywood has more to offer, for one, and the list of odd artifacts that pass hands will never shrink. As regards buying this, there's nothing odd about that - it's a sign of our times, and a sort of book of records - shopper's trivia edition. One of the two items here that were costliest to produce became famous, then changed hands for free - this book sits comfortably somewhere in between those extremes.
I must thank the publishers for sending me a review copy.
A very similar yet different guide to objects for purchase, if you're very lucky to live in such rarefied circles, is Just What I Always Wanted: Unwrapping the World's Most Curious Birthday Presents by Robin Laurance.
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