Nightmarish experiences are usually the stock in trade of another type of tabloid, but we heard one recently that really curdles the blood.
Gene LePere, who has recounted her experience in Never pass this way again (Adler & Adler), was arrested during a vacation trip to Turkey in 1983 for smuggling antiquities. Ms. LePere claims to have purchased three small Stone heads from a street vendor for twenty dollars. One of the heads, to her surprise and eventual dismay, turned out to be an antiquity.
Now anyone who has been to Turkey knows this is not such a preposterous happenstance. Fanners are constantly showing up in the metropolitan bazaars with coins. pots, and all types of artifacts. They sell to merchants who often pass these odds and ends of the ancient world on to curious tourists. Just as often, the merchants pass on modem replicas of things supposedly ancient. The average tourist seldom knows the difference - or cares.
Ms. LePere's plight apparently drew a dispassionate response from the State Department consulate in Izmir and she mentions the low point of her experience as being the proud claim of her attorney that she'd have LePere out of prison in only 31/2 years.
The plucky LePere was released on $1,500 bail in October 1983 and promptly jumped bail via a flight to Munich. The title of her book is well chosen, but she might have considered something bizarre happened on the way to the bazaar" and made a fortune off Broadway.
This seems to be the month for humor (maybe because it's too cold to do anything but laugh at life). First. we received a letter from Bill Spengler (see Letters) in which he shared an old Partch cartoon with us. On the heels of that letter came a hilarious exposition of one-upmanship from John Barton, who claims to know less about more than the beleaguered Frank Kovacs who is relatively limited in his lack of knowledge. Where will this all end'?
When we mistakenly suggested that Frank: was a specialist in Russian coins (Vol. 2, No. I), and he denied knowing anything about Russian coins (Vol. 2, No.2), who could have foreseen an avalanche of responses from people who claim to know nothing about anything in the numismatic world'? All further claims will be forwarded to the Guinness Book of Records challenge committee.
In keeping with the "Let's be funny month" theme, we are initiating, with this issue, a regular cartoon series by Lodi artist extraordinaire Parnell Nelson.
For those of you who subscribed during the past year, knowing that we gave out lots of free copies at shows, we extend our warm appreciation. For those of you who didn't - too bad! We are no longer distributing current issues at the shows and conventions. We will continue to distribute the anniversary issue as a free sample, but those who want the latest news will have to cough up the exorbitant subscription fee of $12. A few dealers will also be selling The Celator across the counter. If they have current copies, you can bet that they paid for them, so please don't confuse these with the free anniversary issues. We will be at the CICF in Chicago, ANA Midwinter Convention in Little Rock, and the Northwest Coin Show in Minneapolis. The best time to find us chatting with dealers on the floor is on Saturdays. If you're in the area, stop by and say hi.
'til next month, keep the antiquarian lues burning and let us hear your point of view!