Top 10 items of macabre memorabilia On the 40th anniversary of Charles Manson receiving his death sentence, Wikicollecting.org takes a look at 10 of the most macabre items of memorabilia that have appeared at auction.
A 1963 Pontiac Bonneville Ambulance, thought to have transported the body of President Kennedy from Air Force One following his assassination in Dallas on November 22 1963, was sold by Barrett-Jackson in 2011.
In the run up to the auction, the authenticity of the piece was questioned, with some people arguing that the original ambulance had been destroyed in 1986.
In spite of its questionable provenance, the vehicle sold for $132,000.
2) Lee Harvey Oswald’s coffin - $87,000
In November 2010 the coffin in which presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was originally buried was sold at auction by the original funeral home owner Allen Baumgardner.
Oswald’s body was exhumed in 1981 in order to disprove the conspiracy theory that he had been replaced with a CIA operative and that his body was not in his grave. He was reburied in a new coffin, and his original one was sold to a collector 29 years later for a sum of $87,000.
3) Fred & Rose West’s ‘murder home’ - £57,750
The house where Fred and Rosemary West began their killing spree was sold for £57,750 in 2000. It was the same house where the West’s 8-year old daughter, Charmaine, was murdered and buried under the ground floor for 20 years before being discovered in 1994.
In spite of its spooky history, the house was rented out as three rather un-scary flats.
4) Lenin death mask - £35,000
A death mask is a wax or plaster cast of someone's face, made following their death.
A death mask of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, one of only 14 known made by sculptor Sergey Merkurov, is being sold by Paul Fraser Collectibles on their website for £35,000.
It is thought to be the first original death mask of Lenin to reach the market in 21 years.
5) The Pierrepoint collection - £30,000 +
A collection of memorabilia related to the family of the famous British hangman Albert Pierrepoint was sold by Christie’s in 1992 for over £30,000.
Albert Pierrepoint was the longest serving and most famous hangman in Britain and proclaimed at the age of 11: "When I grow up…I should like to be the official executioner".
The collection contained Plaster of Paris casts of Albert’s face and hands, a fine silver watch chain worn by Albert, his father and his uncle, documents and photographs relating to Pierrepoint's term as executioner and Henry Pierrepoint's execution book, amongst other items.
6) Elvis Presley’s autopsy and embalming equipment - $14,000
In 2010, a set of autopsy and embalming tools used on Elvis Presley were put up for auction by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. Two lots with a combined pre-sale estimate of $14,000 included the preparation room case report, case sheet, an arterial tube, aneurysm hooks and various other tools from Elvis’s autopsy.
The lots were never sold as they were removed from the auction following a dispute over their authenticity and ownership.