Archive for January 7th, 2010

Skull and Bones skull and bones on sale

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

A human skull and crossbones converted into a ballot box for Yale’s Skull and Bones secret society are going on the auction block at Christie’s in New York City on January 22nd. This is not the reputed skull of Apache warrior Geronimo which is subject to a lawsuit from Geronimo’s descendant. It’s an older skull, from the 1870’s or earlier.

The skull is believed to have been owned by Edward T. Owen, who was graduated from Yale in 1872 and went to become professor of French and linguistics at the University of Wisconsin. The word THOR is etched into the skull [sic]; it may have been the nickname given to Owen or another society member.

The skull is being sold with a black book, inscribed with Owen’s name, the year 1872 and the numeral 322, a reference to the society’s year of inception and to the death of the orator Demosthenes in 322 B.C. It contains the names and photographs of about 50 Bonesmen, including Taft, who became the 27th president of the United States; Morrison Remick Waite, who became U.S. chief justice in 1874; and William Maxwell Evarts, who served as U.S. secretary of state and U.S. attorney general.

The word THOR is not etched into the skull, actually. It’s etched into the right crossbone. The skull has a hinged flap on top which is why people think it was used as a ballot box for votes during society meetings and kept on display in its the New Haven headquarters.

The Society has no comment on the sale (of course), Yale has no comment on the Society (also of course) and Christie’s won’t say who the seller is. The entire lot, skull and bones box plus the black book and photographs is estimated to sell for $10,000 to $20,000.

You can track the lot or place a bid, why not, on the Christie’s website.

Skull and Bones ballot box, black book, and member photographs

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