Wyatt Earp Gun And The Celeb Possession ObsessionBy: Ashley Olds - April 19, 2014
Wyatt Earp’s heater just sold for $225,000 at an auction.
Thought to be the firearm from his gunfight at O.K. Corral, the boom town itinerant’s boomstick was ultimately bought by a New Mexican telephone bidder. Along with his newly acquired antique Colt .45, the purchaser will also receive a signed letter from the manufacturer that confirms the gun was used by Earp during the Corral shootout – or at least that it coincides with the time Earp was involved in the shootout.
Celebrity auction items are ever intriguing – and in more modern times, the possession obsession has only amplified. While the stuff itself rarely holds any real value, it’s dumbfounding to witness the value some are willing to place on it.
Sometimes it’s the owners themselves overestimating their fame – and value of their junk. Some fun examples of random cash-earning stuff has included: Gary Coleman’s sweatpants – which went for $500, Tila Tequila’s mammary cast – purchased at $110,000, and James Blunt’s… um…his sister?
Obviously a joke, Blunt later clarified to GQ: ”The stupidest thing I’ve ever sold is my sister, on eBay… I was waiting for my first album to come out and ended up selling pretty much everything I owned on eBay. I had a mild addiction.”
Indeed, it’s all fun and games until the dentist’s pliers get involved. Corey Haim once tried to get in on the auction action, overestimating the monetary merit of his own molars –which he had pulled and subsequently auctioned online. The bid began at $150 – and it ended there too – in a chorus of crickets. Now that the actor’s sadly passed away, I’m sure they’d go for more.
(Jim’s notebook incidentally is up for auction if you’ve $300,000 to burn.)
Take John Lennon, for example. His own dentin went for $30,000).
What’s with this trinket craze? A study done by Yale University researchers George Newman and Paul Bloom looking into the estate auctions of celebrities observed exactly this. The psychological phenomenon, termed “the law of magical contagion” rests on a misconception that by acquiring something that once had contact with rockstar-status humans, the new owner might gain awesomeness by osmosis.
Really? I’m no Tony Robbins, but if we truly want to emulate a next-level hero, doesn’t it make sense to do something more like… I dunno.. what they did to get there? Somehow I have trouble believing that Lennon morphed into a beacon of musical anthems about peace because of teeth – or that Wyatt kicked tail and took names for any other reason than good aim – gained from massive practice.
You recreate admirable experiences from within.
And I don’t mean from within a petri dish:
Granted, Earp was a renaissance man of bad-assery. But whether it’s Scarlett Johannson’s tissue or a historical lawman’s weapon – it’s all just stuff . Even Mr. Earp would probably be face-palming about his own gun getting exchanged for such a crazy chunk of change (if nothing else than the fact that his celebrity status following the 30-second historical event displeased him in the first place).
If so, Wyatt would have a good point. At the day’s end, it’s just a gun that belonged to a dead guy… who made some other guys prematurely dead by using it.
Image via Youtube