How would you like to own something Carole Lombard not only possessed, but probably used? You've got four chances to do so, thanks to an auction of a noted memorabilia collection on eBay.
The items -- all of them engraved in one form or another -- are from the estate of Richard Lee Wilson, a man from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., who for many years ran a mail-order memorabilia store called Norma's Jeans (for his favorite film star, Marilyn Monroe) up to his death in March 2009. According to Carole Sampeck of The Lombard Archive, "Richard Wilson was always very particular on sources, provenance and authenticity. I suspect that any buyer would be safe with these wonderful goodies."
More than 80 items from his collection are now being auctioned, with the most expensive being a cigarette card Elvis Presley gave Natalie Wood (bidding starts at $1,249) and an engraved, 14-karat gold watch with jewels that belonged to Jean Harlow (opening bid: $999). Barring bidding that goes into the stratosphere, the Lombard-related items won't set you back anywhere near that much...but they won't come cheaply, either.
Take, for example, this item -- an engraved watch pin, measuring roughly 2 1/2". Can't make out the engraving? Here's an enlarged image of the watch (which isn't running, BTW); look vertically down the center of the funnel and you can see "CAROLE":
Bidding opens at $225; you can find out more at http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-Engraved-Watch-Pin-/180608464313?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a0d1a75b9.
The next item is a bit more affordable, with bids starting at a mere $140. This ties into Saturday's entry, featuring a 1933 Max Factor ad; here are a pair of make-up jars that belonged to Lombard (you can see the "C" script monogram on both jars, particularly the one on the right):
Each is 1 1/4" high and 2 1/4" in diameter. They can be seen at http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombards-Two-Make-up-Jars-w-Engraved-Metal-Tops-/310285305915?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item483e72083b.
Bids for both of the above close at 9 p.m. (Eastern) next Sunday.
The other two items are from the Lombard-Clark Gable marriage. Imagine having a set of four silver coasters that belonged to the Encino power couple (with the "G & L" initials in the middle of each exquisitely designed coaster):
If you want to do more than merely imagine, be prepared to shell out at least $349 (or about $88 per coaster), in which case you may want to reserve them for champagne and such. Go to http://cgi.ebay.com/Clark-Gable-Carole-Lombard-4-Engraved-Silver-Coasters-/180609777703?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a0d2e8027 to learn more. Bids close at 11:05 p.m. (Eastern) on Jan. 17.
The cheapest of the quartet of items, at least by minimum bid, is for those of you into hard liquor (or relatively inexpensive Hollywood celebrity collectibles). It's an engraved bourbon label, with a silver finish and measuring less than an inch and a half long:
Bids for this start at $125, and bids finish at 9:05 p.m. (Eastern) Jan. 18. Details are at http://cgi.ebay.com/Clark-Gable-Carole-Lombard-Engraved-BOURBON-Label-/180610330556?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a0d36efbc.
To view the entire collection of Norma's Jeans goodies -- including an engraved watch William Randolph Hearst gave Marion Davies, cigarette cases belonging to everyone from Clara Bow and Lucille Ball to John Wayne and Marlon Brando, and flasks owned by Frank Sinatra and Walter Winchell -- go to http://stores.ebay.com/Second-Story-Books-and-Collectibles/_i.html?rt=nc&_sid=6828083&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1513&_pgn=1.