In the world of Antique and Collectibles, when someone dies we often make more money than we would have had they lived. I call this the ugly side of the business. Last week when music icon Prince died, collectors around the globe went into a tizzy. As of today, there were 2,161 listings on eBay for albums, 11,014 for t-shirts, and 649 poster listings. One vendor sold 115 posters at $15 a pop that’s $1725. Is this crazy, smart or both? Does Karma even factor into the equation?
Here’s another example from a couple of years ago; remember when Ryan Dunn from Jackass fame died in a car accident? A friend of mine sold the local newspaper from the morning after for $200 on eBay the very next day. Now I don’t fault anyone for making money, but when does it become seedy?
Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, George Harrison—I would sell these memorabilia today. Does the passage of time make it more palatable because we are sharing the memories of that person?
Regardless of the motivation, I am old enough to realize that the death of a celebrity, gossip and sensationalism are a perfect storm for making money. I feel for the people left behind, fresh in their grief and their deluge in consumerism of people profiting on their pain. Regardless of their fame, they were human beings with a talent that should be recognized and not exploited.