Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I know this is not really in the militaria collecting arena, but we recently received an inquiry about selling a John Dillinger death mask!
I went to this guy's house to check it out and sure enough, it was an uncanny likeness of Mr. Public Enemy No. 1 himself - John Dillinger, supposedly captured while his body was in a Chicago morgue. It was hard to say whether or not it was one of the four original death masks made, but the detail sure was there. I guess there was a plan to knock a bunch off and sell them at the World's Fair that year, and several different people bluffed their way past security and had access to Dillinger's corpse.
The gentleman said his father was some sort of dental salesperson, or something like that, in the 1930s and got it from a friend/client who was a dentist in Chicago at the time of Dillinger's death. I know, everything has a "story" - but this was a very neat piece!
At any rate, turns out the guy didn't really want to consign it - just wanted to talk about it, I guess. We get that a lot...
But who knows, he may have really found another company to broker the sale. Which would be too bad, we would have sold it for an insane amount I'm sure. I suppose we may hear from him again in the future.
So, seeing as how we invested quite a bit of time on the matter, I figure Manion's International Auction House ought to at least get a blog post about a John Dillinger death mask - since I have photos and everything - perhaps eventually someone doing research may find them of benefit. They are pretty high rez - probably the largest size Dillinger death mask photos you will find on the Internet. Click them to view full size.