Ripley's Runs Low on Oddities

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 16, 2009 1:37 PM CDT

(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.

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.
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)
Photographer Susan Watts photographs water bugs on display during the Grand Opening celebration of Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium Thursday, June 21, 2007 in Times Square.
Photographer Susan Watts photographs water bugs on display during the Grand Opening celebration of Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium Thursday, June 21, 2007 in Times Square.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
A dinosaur looms over the Ripley's Believe It or Not building in Hollywood, California.
A dinosaur looms over the Ripley's Believe It or Not building in Hollywood, California.   (Getty Images)
Shrunken heads are seen on display during the grand opening of Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium, June 21, 2007 in Times Square. Shrunken heads are becoming harder to find and more expensive.
Shrunken heads are seen on display during the grand opening of Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium, June 21, 2007 in Times Square. Shrunken heads are becoming harder to find and more expensive.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow

A Ripley's customer doesn't care about the Sultan of Oman. It's a C+, not an A. If it was Elvis, it might be an A. - Edward Meyer, Ripley's VP of exhibits, on a large-scale portrait of the Sultan of Oman drawn with a single continuous line

« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   BuzzFeed   |   Cracked   |   World History Project   |   POPSUGAR Tech   |   Business Insider   |   HuffPost Entertainment