Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Market of Cool

Like collectibles? How about Steve McQueen? The legendary actor, motorcycle champion, race car driver, stuntman, artist, pilot and purveyor of all things cool- the man whose life has been prophesized in such works as The Tao of Steve (Be desire-less… Be excellent… Be gone?) had a lot of material possessions. Cool things if you will, and how much cooler would it be to own something once owned by the “King of Cool” himself- Steve McQueen?

Antiquorum ( is having an Important Collectors’ Wristwatches, Pocket Watches & Clocks Auction, tomorrow, Thursday, June 11 in New York City. Among the stunning array of fine lots often associated with such venues are a few baubles of memorabilia once enjoyed by the legendary screen icon. Or "god" (little 'g' not big...) to some.

Overall, market prices for fine collectibles like watches and clocks have remained fairly strong, despite the global economic woes; but I’m curious what the McQueen “cool factor” will bring to these lots.

Lots include a pair of foldable Persol sunglasses, a bronze of Don Quixote once featured in the film The Thomas Crown Affair, later collected by McQueen. Also in the mix are two wristwatches- one, the square, two-register blue Heuer Monaco chronograph worn in Le Mans and later gifted to his financial advisor and the other- the real “McQueen” Rolex. Contrary to many a collectors’ belief- McQueen wasn’t known for donning a first-generation, orange-hand Rolex 1655 Explorer II; but rather, a fairly pedestrian chronometer-grade 5512 Submariner. Both watches have estimates in the $10k - $15k range- about triple what the same piece would bring if owned by say another ordinary schlep.

Also of mention, with a range into the six-figures, is McQueen’s Scott Super-Squirrel motorcycle- special not only for McQueen, but also that it was restored, painted and striped by the legendary custom rodder Ken Howard. You may know Howard as Von Dutch. Yes, before it was a bastardized mall label- there was actually a man named Von Dutch.

It should be exciting to see the premiums the McQueen factor will bring, or will it? Isn’t it all just stuff anyway? Aren’t immortal characters like McQueen meant to be more than mere things? Don’t these guys have the shit that money can’t buy?

You just hope some of the cool-factor rubs-off on you, right? For these prices, they very well should.

Remember “Be Desire-less… Be Excellent… Be Gone.” All others, bring your lunch money and bid-up. Going… Going. Gone. Sold. Sphere: Related Content
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