Saturday, January 13, 2007

In Cred I Ble

The sale of 1940s mug shots, including one of Elizabeth Short, sold Jan. 12, 2007, for $1,802.77 (more than $78 per picture) to phenomaly. Although EBay now conceals bidders’ identities, we can see that the next highest bid was $1,777.77. Obviously, people are willing to spend serious money for these mug shots.

Please understand, the Elizabeth Short mug shots were printed up in bulk during the investigation and handed out freely. The mug shot was also distributed by the wire services. Translation: There were many copies of this picture. Think carefully before getting into a bidding war over one of them. They turn upon EBay every couple of years.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever this phenomaly is sure must be crazy to spend that much money on a photo. But I guess in a way it shows how passionately dedicated someone can be to preserve certain elements related to this case...sometimes no matter the cost. It's not very practical for sure, but I somewhat admire the sacrifice.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

You raise a good point in some ways. I will always applaud preservation for historians' purposes. And if these items were to be donated to an archive or library (or the LAPD Historical Society, for that matter), I would be the first to congratulate the buyer.

All too often, however, these--and far more ghoulish items from this case--vanish into private hands and are treated like macabre baseball cards or some other gruesome trophies, acquired at great expense and gloated over in secret.

That's my objection.

And in case you are wondering, once I'm done with the Elizabeth Short case I plan to donate absolutely everything to an archive. I will never put any of it on the open market.

Larry Harnisch

ps. and that is still way too much money for something that is relatively common.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently the seller sent along this info about the original owner of the photos:

"The mug shots belonged to a Captain Kearney of the Downtown beat LAPD. He had working directly under him detectives Mott and Pena. They were right there on the spot in 1947. From the other mugs it would appear that these guys were working mostly with murder and mob related cases. I guess downtown LA in the 40's was a pretty busy and a pretty sleazy place with servicemen traveling through, and with Chicago gangsters trying to set up shop in LA. The bus station and train depot were right near by, and crime and murder was rampant. The Downtown LAPD was also ripe with corruption, and these guys seem to have been right in the middle of all of it. In 1943 Kearney was a Lieutenant, and by 1944 was bumped up to a Captain.

In 1954 Kearney was a script consultant on at least one episode of Dragnet, which had a working title of "the big Mailman", which I got a working copy of. I don't know weather the show was ever aired.

Kearney retired in the late 50's."

5:16 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

You are somewhat (but only somewhat) correct. Capt. Francis J. Kearney joined the LAPD in 1926. He was transferred from heading narcotics to heading homicide after Jack Donahoe was moved to robbery in September 1947. He was transferred to the narcotics squad in 1951 and retired in 1952.

All those other claims about the LAPD being rife with corruption in the late 1940s (postwar period) is nonsense. I'm proud to say I know a fair number of retirees from this time period and they are a fine bunch of men, very honest and service-minded.


7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, don't shoot the messenger. :)

I'm glad for the clarification though.

9:50 AM  

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