Saturday, April 12, 2003

Cormorants for Sale on eBay

Cormorants have been one of my favorite groups of birds since the early 1970’s when I became acquainted with Pelagic and Red-faced cormorants in the western Aleutian Islands. So, I am occasionally tempted to check eBay to see what kind of cormorant item are being offerred for sale. On Saturday, April 12, 2003, the following 32 items were being advertised (these seeming to be fairly representative of the range of items that one can expect to find on any given day):

Antiques:Asian Antiques:Chinese (Pre-1900):Other Items (3 items) - Three paintings, all depicting white herons and/or egrets, NOT cormorants (see example). I don’t know why, but this practice of referring to herons and/or egrets as cormorants seems prevalent in several Asian cultures, as I’ve witnessed it before on eBay; maybe it’s a translation thing. All of these items are being offerred by dealers located in China. Starting bids: $9.50-15.00

Antiques:Ethnographic (Pre-1900):Native American (1 item) - This 12” x 18” artists proof of a cormorant print by Haida artist Jim Gilbert is very nice, but falsely advertised as a pre-1900 antique. The artist lived from 1932-2000, and this print wasn’t commissioned until 1979! Starting bid: $49.95.

Antiques & Art:Art Paintings:General (1 item) - An original painting, “Cormorant on Rock,” signed by artist R. Williamson. Starting bird: $7.84.

Art Paintings:Contemporary (1950-Now):Other (9 items) - Again, all nine nine of these paintings depict white herons, egrets, or ibises, NOT cormorants (see example). All of these items are being offerred by dealers located in China. Starting bids: $9.20-9.99.

Art Prints:Antique (Pre-1900):Natural History (6 items) - Antique art prints, nearly all of them torn from old books, are among the more popular cormorant items offered on eBay, but a category that I shun. I despise the practice of destroying valuable old books for the purpose of selling individual prints. Starting bids: $3.95-9.95.

Books:Magazines & Catalogs:Magazine Back Issues:Automotive & Motorcycle (1 item) - The summer 1978 issue of the Packard Cormorant, a magazine that was published for owners of Packard automobiles. These are a popular item on eBay. Starting bid (Buy it Now): $3.

Collectibles:Cultures, Ethnicities:Native Americana (1 item) - A walrus ivory sculpture carved and signed by King Island Inupiaq Eskimo artist Brian Kulik. A very nice piece of authentic Native Americana. Starting bid: $62.00.

Collectibles:Militaria:Other Militaria (1 item) - A cast plaque replica ship’s crest from the HMCS Cormorant. Starting bid: $7.99.

Collectibles:Transportation:Autumobile:Hood Ornaments, Emblems (1 item) - A hood ornament from the Packard automobile. These are popular items on eBay. Starting bid: $49.99.

Collectibles:Vintage Sewing:Thimbles (1 item) - One of the more unique cormorant items I’ve ever ever encountered on eBay. From the Sutherland England “Birds of Britain” thimble series, which featured birds native to the United Kingdom. Originally manufactured in the late 80’s (notice it doesn’t specify 1880’s or 1980’s). Starting bid: $6.27.

Jewelry & Watches: Costume Jewelry:Vintage:Bakelite, Plastics (1 item) - This pin, described as a “Lea Stein Vintage Lacy Cormorant Bird,” is tacky and way overpriced, in my humble opinion. Starting bid: $52.00.

Stamps:United States:Covers, Events (6 items) - Cancellations and first-day covers from the USS Cormorant are routinely available on eBay (see example). Starting bids: $2.00-5.75.

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