Yale society’s skull-turned-ballot box to be sold
ULA ILNYTZKY - January 5, 2010
NEW YORK — A human skull that apparently was turned into a ballot box for Yale’s mysterious Skull and Bones society is going on the auction block.
Christie’s estimates the skull will sell for $10,000 to $20,000 when it is auctioned on Jan. 22. Fittingly, the auction house has agreed to keep the seller’s name a secret. On Monday, it described the person only as a European art collector.
The skull is fitted with a hinged flap and is believed to have been used during voting at the famous society’s meetings. The auction house said it also may have been displayed at the society’s tomblike headquarters on Yale’s campus in New Haven, Conn., during the late 1800s.
Skull and Bones, an elite society founded in 1832, has closely guarded its members’ names and its activities since the early 1970s. Prior to that time, the group published an annual roster.
Publicly known members, known as Bonesmen, include President William Howard Taft, both presidents Bush, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, businessman and diplomat Averell Harriman, publisher Henry Luce and author and commentator William F. Buckley Jr.
“I think it’s a macabre artifact,” Margot Rosenberg, head of Christie’s American decorative arts department, said Tuesday. “It’s an intriguing story tied to America, tied to Yale. I think it will generate interest for people who are former Bonesmen, people who collect Americana, people who are interested in history.”
Tags: Skull and Bones