Ripley's Runs Low on Oddities

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2009 1:37 PM CDT
A 3,197 lb meteorite is on display during the grand opening of Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium Thursday, June 21, 2007 in New York's Times Square.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – They just don’t make shrunken heads the way they used to. In fact, no one makes them at all, which is a big problem for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! The chain of “odditoriums” has expanded so far and so fast that its collection is stretched to the breaking point, the Wall Street Journal reports. Curators are searching desperately for top-notch curiosities to anchor its far-flung establishments.

Such “A exhibits” include a portrait of Barack Obama made of 12,000 gumballs and a 19th-century vampire-slaying kit. San Francisco’s branch is trying desperately to acquire a model of the city made of toothpicks. “We have 10% of what we had two years ago,” says a Ripley’s VP. Collectors have also driven up oddity prices. Thirty years ago, those shrunken heads cost $500; now, they’re $50,000. (Read more Ripley's Believe It or Not! stories.)