Patty Slayton wrote, in MMDigest 040301:
> The winning bidders on entire carousels then often break them up and
> put the individual animals, panels, chariots, organs, etc., up for
> auction. This turns a profit for them, but unfortunately breaks up
> the original carousels.
More often than not, however, the carousels are broken up by the greed
of the auctioneers and dealers who have concocted an auction system
where breakup is practically assured. This particular carousel
auction, however, advertises that it will be sold only as a unit. We
shall see. However, it still does not prevent a consortium of dealers
from being the "winning bidder" and proceeding as Patty states. That
is our biggest fear.
Patty further states:
> There is a controversy over whether this is "morally" sound or not.
> On one hand, a running antique carousel takes quite a beating and the
> figures often need expensive restoration. On the other hand, private
> collectors are more apt to spend extra cash to have them expertly
> restored and repaired, which a running carousel can't afford to do.
Both of those "hands" promote only one side of the controversy --
that breakup is better in the long run for the animals and that the
collectors are doing the public a great favor. As a carousel
preservationist, I could not agree less.
A properly restored and maintained carousel can be not only
economically viable as a business operation, but can serve as a
catalyst for development of its area. Intelligent, caring management
and operators are able to take good care of the animals as well as the
machine and prevent them from taking a beating. Careless owners or
operators fail to prevent "carousing" on their carousels, resulting in
damage to property and personal injury.
The dwindling number of antique carousels which remain are all worthy
of protection, and serve as living interactive museums. There is no
better way for the art to be enjoyed than on an operating carousel --
combining carving, painting, music and motion into a unique experience.
The whole is far greater than the sum of its parts, except economically
at the self-serving hands of dealers and auctioneers. Frankly, if a
carousel's animals are going to be removed from public enjoyment under
the guise of "preserving" them, they might as well be burned in the
> Many of the more famous carousels and carousel figures, such as the
> haunted military horse on the Cedar Point Ohio Carousel (Muller), have
> been replaced with fiberglass replicas, and the originals (hopefully)
> become museum pieces.
Unfortunately, fiberglass replicas are poor substitutes. A carved wood
replica would be more authentic. And the originals seldom become
museum pieces; they go to self-indulging collectors.
Action is urgently needed to protect this carousel. The machine and
its animals could not be in better hands than those of its current
caretakers who maintain it beautifully.
Mark S. Chester