Tattooed Lady

Ink and Skinner

Record setting price was set at auction for tattooed figure. Hammer price for this two and 1/2 foot tall composition figure was $23,000. Add the 25% buy in commission, tax and other official sounding crap and you're up around $30,000! 
One famous Folk art dealer went as high as $2,500. "Well I guess I did not get it." he said, adding that  "... very little sculpture exists in that area from the 19th century."
Battleship Kate probably stood well protected, set back on a countertop. Not a sunburned window display as the condition is pretty good.We still don't know if she is chalk or paper mache statue, the catalog description of the item was awful.
The bids came quick and furious.  24k was retracted at the last second as 23k drove it home. 
This record sale makes it clear it's smart to get the best pieces available. We were stunned at prices the Wm Grant & Sons distillery layed out on their Sailor Jerry buying spree a few years ago. Stunned to see a $18,000.00 price tag on a Darpel at the Outsider Art Fair. Great piece, but 18k? Kind of leaves a few of us out. Like the entire tattoo collecting community. 
Tatooists, collectors and historians are not concerned. Most of us buy when we can and sell when we have to. 
But in the end what does this tell us? Perhaps the deep pocket collectors, the Wm. Edmondson and Bill Traylor folk art crowd have finally arrived at the tattoo parlor. Making room on the folk art high pedestal for tattoo flash.
It will be interesting to watch the next auctions. Also to see what pieces come out when word circulates about the high dollar numbers.   We will probably start to see more doctored items. Caveat Emptor. Where there is money, bogus items will follow. 


Best Circus Lady Ever

Prof Frank Howard  ran away at an early age and came back from being at sea literally covered in tattoos. Here is an old cabinet card from Barnum’s circus where he traveled for many years.

The following is from  Encyclopedia:

“Annie Howard was a tattooed lady who exhibited with her husband, Frank Howard, in Barnum and Bailey's show in the early 1900s. They told the usual story of being captured by "savages" who forcibly tattooed them. In reality, many of Annie Howard's tattoos were done by her husband. Frank and Annie had a daughter together named Ivy, who became a snake charmer when she was 8. In 1987, the family moved to London with Barnum and Bailey's show.

Annie Howard became notorious in 1882 for being arrested on her way to an interview with Bunnell's Museum for assaulting a man who had insulted her for having tattoos. Bunnell was very happy with the publicity and hired her when she was released after spending 10 days in jail.

After the family returned to America in 1903, Annie and her daughter Ivy disappeared.”