Thursday, June 23, 2011

Singing Bird Pistols

A splendid pair of early 19th century automatons. When you pull the trigger of the pistol, a tiny bird, covered with real iridescent feathers, pops out of the barrel to perch there, twisting back and forth while it flaps its wings and sings.

For generations these ingenious devices passed from one wealthy individual to another, who from time to time took them out of their case, wound them up, and heard them sing. Less often, they displayed them to a few friends or acquaintances.

And now Christie's, in their effort to to facilitate a transfer to yet another wealthy individual and profit by that transaction, provide the rest of us with a dazzling video of the amazing mechanisms.

Apparently someone paid $5.8 million to own them. I suspect that this was paid by someone who had an ample surplus beyond essential food and shelter, and so they are happy with the exchange, and why not?

I, on the other hand, paid nothing to hear them sing. And so I am certainly enriched. And so are you.

No comments: