On June 30, 2001, a woman brought a strange sculpture onto the Antiques Roadshow for appraisal called The Kangaroo Bird. She paid $60.00 for it and wasn’t she excited to find out it was an original Dr. Seuss sculpture valued at $25,000?! The Kangaroo Bird was part of a project that Ted Geisel, Dr. Seuss, called The Seuss System of Unorthodox Taxidermy. He created these heads to be displayed in bookshops around New York to promote his new book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. They are very striking and unforgettable. I dare you. Just try to not remember The Kangaroo Bird.
I got my first glimpse of Dr. Seuss’s Unorthodox Taxidermy while in Kauai, Hawaii, in 2000. I was strolling through an art gallery and nearly dropped my ice cream cone when I saw the Blue Green Abalard.
It was beautiful. It was unique. And it was something I just couldn’t take with me. What I assumed was an original Seuss sculpture, was actually a one of 99, limited edition, hand-painted, cast resin reproductions. You can sometimes find the Blue Green Abalard on Ebay with a buy it now price of about $20,000 – and this is just a copy. Isn’t that something?
Anyway, I talked about the Blue Green Abalard for the next 5 years to whoever would listen to me. I was haunted by the missed opportunity to have something so interesting and then I met my wife. She had just learned about a Secret Art of Dr. Seuss show that was featuring the Blue Green Abalard and a few new “findings” that limited edition copies had been made of.
Gina suggested that if the price was right, we’d be able to bring one home and I just couldn’t believe it. The day before I didn’t even know of the existence of other Seuss sculptures and here I was…so close to having blissful closure! I thought if I got one, the obsession would be over and I could move onto different and more productive obsessions.
That was my wife’s first mistake because, you see, I have a problem. I love even the illusion of a good deal. The 4 new featured sculptures were each as amazing as the Blue Green Abalard! The good people at The Sara Bain Gallery in Orange County said that a collector could purchase them individually or they could be purchased as a 4 piece set and at a discounted rate. They would all share the same serial numbers and be a happy family. Doesn’t that sound great? If you purchase all 4, you would automatically become “a collector”!
Naturally, I talked my wife into the benefits of taking out a loan against our home and buying all 4. I explained that it was like we were making money. I gave Gina some cockamamie story about selling one of the sculptures each year to pay back the loan and do you know what? She believed me! That was her second mistake. Why would she believe me? I NEVER intend to get rid of these! Just look at them! Would you?
At that point in my life, besides the Blue Green Abalard, I thought we had EVERY possible Dr. Seuss sculpture ever created! Mission Accomplished! I had won and I could now move on to bigger and better things…but, do you know what happened? The victory was short-lived because before we even hung up the ones we had, I received an email. It was a press release for a new Secret Art of Dr. Seuss sculpture that was “just discovered”. It was called the Semi-Normal Green Lidded Fawn and believe it or not…it too was amazing!
C’mon! How could I not see this coming? They got me hooked on the hand-painted goodness. From the start I was fixing a hole that could never be filled— because, year after year, they keep releasing newly found “Secret Art”.
I was sick. I kept saying to myself, “just one more Mike. This will definitely be the last one. How many could this man have possibly produced?!” Even now, I don’t know the answer but I’ll tell you this: I’ve since gone cold turkey. The obsession…no…the addiction was getting the better of me and though I’ve got it pretty much under control, I still think about the ones that I don’t have each and every day. I check the web for new releases. I look on eBay to see what is being bought and sold. I have a serious problem.
As misery loves company, this is where I give you a link to the current sculpture catalog.
And just so you know, if you want to go big guns and take out a loan, the Marine Muggs collection at the bottom left of the page looks pretty sweet! I can only imagine the money you’re going to save when you buy 7 at a time!