'The Large Glass' by Marcel Duchamp (1915-23). Oil, varnish, lead foil, lead wire, and dust on two glass panels, 109 1/4 inches x 69 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Stockholm museum pits Picasso, Duchamp in face-off

'The Large Glass' by Marcel Duchamp (1915-23). Oil, varnish, lead foil, lead wire, and dust on two glass panels, 109 1/4 inches x 69 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

‘The Large Glass’ by Marcel Duchamp (1915-23). Oil, varnish, lead foil, lead wire, and dust on two glass panels, 109 1/4 inches x 69 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – Stockholm’s Museum of Modern Art is pitting Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, two of the 20th century’s modernist greats, against each other in a new exhibition opposing their contrasting approaches to art.

“Picasso/Duchamp: He was wrong” opened Saturday, the title based on Picasso’s reputed laconic remark on learning of Duchamp’s death in 1968.

The exhibition is a “theatrical” posthumous meeting of the two greats, museum curator Daniel Birnbaum said of the pair who each had a famous dislike for the other’s works and who never met.

The Moderna Museet has a fine collection of works by the two influential artists often described as rivals and incompatible, with Picasso the prolific painter and Duchamp the conceptual creator who challenged painting as an art form.

But the museum has never before organized a showing of their oeuvres side by side.

“There is really a difference between Duchamp’s detachment and Picasso’s subjectivity. When these two things come together, it doesn’t go very well,” exhibition curator Ronald Jones told AFP.

“Picasso is the great painter, and the other is the one who questioned the very nature of an artwork,” Birnbaum added.

The first room of the exhibition is a large hall adorned with giant portraits of the two artists facing each other: Picasso with a bull mask covering his head in an Edward Quinn photograph, and Duchamp with his face covered in shaving cream and tufts of hair protruding like horns, shot by Man Ray.

Also in the room, Picasso’s 1912 collage Bottle, Glass and Violin faces off against Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel from 1913.

It’s the only room where their work is shown together and it is meant to link their universes, which visitors then view separately, choosing to go left to see the works of Duchamp and to the right for Picasso.

Picasso churned out paintings over a career spanning seven decades, while the more humble Duchamp prided himself on a small body of work, delivering just 13 “readymades” over four decades.

The two giants began their careers around the same time, had the same patrons, and sometimes the same supporters and admirers. What divided them was their way of getting their message across, according to Jones.

“Marcel wouldn’t have cared” about his works being exhibited alongside Picasso’s, but “Picasso probably wouldn’t have liked it so much,” mused Jones.

“At the end of his life, (Picasso) was quite concerned by the allegiance artists were showing to Duchamp. He despised Duchamp,” he added.

The exhibition features Picasso’s 1941 masterpiece Woman with Blue Collar and more than a hundred of his other works, most of them belonging to the museum’s own collection, but some on loan, his shocks of color and etchings hung in a number of small and intimate, inviting rooms.

Meanwhile two large, airy rooms are reserved for Duchamp’s 20 conceptual installations, with Large Glass and Fountain as centerpieces, perhaps more difficult for the visitor to grasp.

Anna Brodow Inzaina, art critic for one of Sweden’s leading newspapers Svenska Dagbladet, said Picasso wins the contest hands-down but criticized the museum’s need to exaggerate the rivalry that existed between the two.

“Exhibiting Picasso and Duchamp against each other is unnecessarily polarizing and exclusionary,” she wrote, questioning the exhibition’s “he was wrong” point of departure.

“Why does a rivalry between two artistic giants have to be blown up into an ultimatum? Were there really only two ways to go? Does the exhibition want to push us into answering the question?” she asked.

After Picasso, the museum plans to pit other artists against Duchamp along the same model.

“Picasso/Duchamp: He was wrong” runs until March 3.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


'The Large Glass' by Marcel Duchamp (1915-23). Oil, varnish, lead foil, lead wire, and dust on two glass panels, 109 1/4 inches x 69 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

‘The Large Glass’ by Marcel Duchamp (1915-23). Oil, varnish, lead foil, lead wire, and dust on two glass panels, 109 1/4 inches x 69 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Typical amber specimen with a number of indistinct insect inclusions. Image by John Alan Elson. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Insects from 230 million years ago found in amber

Typical amber specimen with a number of indistinct insect inclusions. Image by John Alan Elson. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Typical amber specimen with a number of indistinct insect inclusions. Image by John Alan Elson. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Scientists said Monday they have found three well-preserved ancient insects frozen in amber – and time – in what is Earth’s oldest bug trap.

The discoveries in Italy may sound like something out of Jurassic Park, but these bugs are even older than that. They are about 230 million years old, which puts them in the Triassic time period, and about 100 million years older than what had been the previously known oldest insects trapped in amber, or fossilized tree resin.

Researchers painstakingly examined 70,000 droplets of amber found in northeastern Italy. Stuck in them were two microscopic mites and much of one fly. The mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye and the fly is a bit tinier than a fruit fly, researchers say.

The discovery was reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While older insects have been found in rock fossils, these are different because they are not compressed and better preserved, said study lead author David Grimaldi, curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

And you can see more detail, he said.

“That’s the great thing about amber. You can make this incredible detailed comparison with living species,” Grimaldi said.

When he compared the ancient mites to their modern-day descendants, he was surprised by how similar they are. Except for differences in the mouth and fewer legs, “they’re dead ringers for (modern) gall mites,” he said. The modern ones can be found in bubbles, or galls, on plant leaves.

And that’s surprising because the world has changed a lot from when these bugs were alive. Back then, there was only one giant continent, some early primitive dinosaurs and no flowering plants. Mites now live on flowering plants, but their ancient relatives must have stayed on trees, Grimaldi said.

Derek Briggs, director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and who wasn’t part of the research, called the bugs’ discovery tantalizing, saying it could help researchers further understand how life evolved on land.

___

Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-08-27-12 2000GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Typical amber specimen with a number of indistinct insect inclusions. Image by John Alan Elson. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Typical amber specimen with a number of indistinct insect inclusions. Image by John Alan Elson. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Artist Athena Tacha in front of her conceptual photographic work '36 Years of Aging' (1972-2008). Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

N.J. decides to save Tacha’s outdoor artwork ‘Green Acres’

Artist Athena Tacha in front of her conceptual photographic work '36 Years of Aging' (1972-2008). Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Artist Athena Tacha in front of her conceptual photographic work ’36 Years of Aging’ (1972-2008). Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ New Jersey officials have reversed course and will not demolish a landscape art installation outside the state Department of Environmental Protection building.

Earlier this year, state officials told artist Athena Tacha that her 1985 installation Green Acres‘ was too expensive to maintain and was becoming a public safety risk because of its disrepair.

Arts groups rallied to try to save the Trenton work.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation announced Monday that the state has told Tacha that the work will be spared after all.

DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese says the department has not yet decided what could be done to repair the site. But he says plans to replace it with a rain garden have been scrapped.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-08-27-12 1711GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Artist Athena Tacha in front of her conceptual photographic work '36 Years of Aging' (1972-2008). Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Artist Athena Tacha in front of her conceptual photographic work ’36 Years of Aging’ (1972-2008). Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Photos, jewelry on tap at Burns White Galleries, Sept. 6

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

TAMPA, Fla. – Burns White Galleries will kick off the fall season on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 5 p.m. EDT with an estate auction featuring a unique collection of important photographs from the estate of Aubry Hampton of Aubrey Organics, Tampa. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.

The collection includes significant works by Alfred Eisenstaedt, published in 1991 by Time Life Photo Lab, highlighted by V-J Day, 1945. Other subjects include Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, T.S. Elliot, George Bernard Shaw and Thomas Mann. Additional photos include Ernest Hemingway and Jimi Hendrix by Linda McCartney.

Burns White Galleries will also offer animation cels by Disney and Warner Bros.; over 50 lots of exquisite estate jewelry by David Yurman, Judith Ripka, Erte, and Tiffany & Co. ; a collection of Tiffany Studios Favrile open salts; porcelains including Meissen, Lladro and Herend; Lalique glass; and mixed media.

For details call 813-288-0022.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

 

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of Burns White Galleries.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

I.M. Chait Sept. 9 auction shines spotlight on Asian antiques

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – I.M. Chait Gallery and Auctioneers has assembled an Asian art, antiques and estates auction of nearly 550 lots, which will be sold Sunday, Sept. 9. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding for the two-session sale, which begins at 11 a.m. PDT.

Auction highlights include:

  • Large group of Chinese items including: jades, brush pots, lacquer, cloisonné, etc. from an important Chicago collection;
  • Numerous carved ivories including: Chinese, Japanese and African from a West Coast estate;
  • Chinese snuff bottles and carved wood and ivory netsuke from Canadian and Washington collections;
  • Numerous Chinese scrolls on paper and silk; together with Chinese and Japanese ceramics from a Southern California collection; and
  • Chinese jades, hardstones, Beijing glass, etc. from an Inland Empire collection.

For details contact I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers at 800-775-5020 or 310-285-0182 or email chait@chairt.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.

A limited edition reproduction of an Australian Holey Dollar and Dump. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Aalders Auctions.

Rare Australian Holey Dollar sets record at auction

A limited edition reproduction of an Australian Holey Dollar and Dump. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Aalders Auctions.

A limited edition reproduction of an Australian Holey Dollar and Dump. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Aalders Auctions.

SYDNEY (AFP) – Three rare Australian coins including the most famous example of the nation’s first coin, the “Holey Dollar,” have fetched Aus$880,000 (US$911,000) at auction.

The coin known as the “Hannibal Head” Holey Dollar – created in New South Wales state in 1813 from an 1810 Silver Dollar minted at the Lima Mint in Peru – sold for Aus$410,000 (US$425,350), an auction record for a coin of its type.

Dealer Coinworks also auctioned an 1852 Adelaide Pound, the nation’s first gold coin, at the sale in Melbourne late Monday with that item attracting Aus$370,000 (US$383,909), while an 1813 Colonial Dump coin sold for Aus$100,000 (US$103,748).

“I saw really beautiful quality coins sell for very exciting prices, so from a Coinworks perspective, and an industry perspective, there are no complaints,” Coinworks managing director Belinda Downie said.

The Hannibal Head coin is the only known example in private hands, with only one other known to exist held by the State Library of New South Wales.

It was one of 40,000 Spanish silver dollars obtained by Gov. Lachlan Macquarie to alleviate the British colony’s coin shortage in the early 1800s.

Macquarie enlisted the help of a convicted forger, William Henshall, to cut a hole in the center of each.

The resulting “donut” was then stamped over with the words New South Wales, the value Five Shillings and the date 1813 to create Australia’s first coin, the 1813 Holey Dollar.

The piece taken out of the center became the 1813 Colonial Dump, with a value of 15 pence.

The Hannibal Head Holey Dollar is special because the original coin was minted in 1810 at the Lima Mint with a portrait design that protested Joseph Bonaparte’s ascension to the Spanish throne by use of an unflattering portrait.

Adding to the history, it was discovered in 1881 near Hobart in Tasmania and believed to be from the cache of a bushranger, or outlaw, who would have robbed passing travelers.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


A limited edition reproduction of an Australian Holey Dollar and Dump. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Aalders Auctions.

A limited edition reproduction of an Australian Holey Dollar and Dump. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Aalders Auctions.

1935 Auburn 851SC Boattail Speedster. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and RM Auctions.

Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg cars to star in documentary

1935 Auburn 851SC Boattail Speedster. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and RM Auctions.

1935 Auburn 851SC Boattail Speedster. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and RM Auctions.

AUBURN, Ind. (AP) – Ball State University students are making a documentary about the automotive history of the northeastern Indiana town of Auburn during the early 20th century.

The News-Sentinel reports the documentary will show the significance of Auburn and the Auburn Automobile Co. as a premier, independent specialty manufacturer from 1900 to 1937. Such historic cars as the Duesenberg, the Auburn and the Cord were made there.

Assistant technology professor Hans Kellogg says Auburn holds a special place in America’s automotive past. He says the goal is to create a feature-length documentary film exploring the heart and soul of three distinct automobiles.

Students will visit Auburn to attend the community’s garage tour, and to film the annual Auburn auto festival and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum.

___

Information from: The News-Sentinel, http://www.news-sentinel.com/ns

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-08-27-12 0803GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


1935 Auburn 851SC Boattail Speedster. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and RM Auctions.

1935 Auburn 851SC Boattail Speedster. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and RM Auctions.

1930s photo of Les Paul (right) and fellow musician Sunny Joe Wolverton with a selection of instruments that includes Paul's two famed L5 guitars. Photo courtesy of the Waukesha County Museum.

Les Paul’s first pro guitar on display in hometown museum

1930s photo of Les Paul (right) and fellow musician Sunny Joe Wolverton with a selection of instruments that includes Paul's two famed L5 guitars. Photo courtesy of the Waukesha County Museum.

1930s photo of Les Paul (right) and fellow musician Sunny Joe Wolverton with a selection of instruments that includes Paul’s two famed L5 guitars. Photo courtesy of the Waukesha County Museum.

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) – Les Paul’s first professional guitar is on display at the Waukesha County Museum.

The museum used donations to acquire the 1927 Gibson L-5 Sunburst Cremona at a California auction in June.

The acoustic guitar is one of two L-5s Les Paul purchased at Gibson’s Kalamazoo, Mich., factory in 1933. Paul gave the guitar to a friend who later returned it when he died.

A Waukesha native, Paul created the first solid-body electric guitar and developed technology and recording techniques that set the standard in the industry like tape echo, multitrack recordings and overdubs. Paul died in 2009 at age 94.

The guitar is on display through the end of the year.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-08-26-12 1602GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


1930s photo of Les Paul (right) and fellow musician Sunny Joe Wolverton with a selection of instruments that includes Paul's two famed L5 guitars. Photo courtesy of the Waukesha County Museum.

1930s photo of Les Paul (right) and fellow musician Sunny Joe Wolverton with a selection of instruments that includes Paul’s two famed L5 guitars. Photo courtesy of the Waukesha County Museum.

The front wheel of this antique high-wheeler is 56 inches in diameter. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Rich Penn Auctions.

‘Wheelman’ pedals antique high-wheeler across America

The front wheel of this antique high-wheeler is 56 inches in diameter. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Rich Penn Auctions.

The front wheel of this antique high-wheeler is 56 inches in diameter. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Rich Penn Auctions.

MANSFIELD, Mass. (AP) – Antique bicycle enthusiast Kevin McNatt is used to sitting high in the saddle, but this summer the 59-year-old history buff became one of a select few to ride a 19th century high-wheeled bicycle all the way across the country.

McNatt returned recently from a 66-day trip from Delaware to Oregon aboard his reproduction 1885 bike.

Unlike today’s bikes, riders on 1880s two-wheelers rode high atop a huge front wheel. A tiny rear wheel gave the rider balance. Solid rubber tires gave a bone-jarring ride and brakes were of the most rudimentary kind.

“You can feel every pebble,” said McNatt, who rode the bike over mountains, through 100-degree heat in the Midwest and down side roads and interstate highways.

McNatt started out the ride with a fellow enthusiast from Delaware, but completed the ride on his own after his companion was unable to finish.

McNatt has crossed the country twice previously on a conventional bike. A member of the Wheelmen, a nationwide group of antique bike hobbyists, he had long wondered what it would be like to pedal a high-wheeler across the country.

The Mansfield resident found motorists and local residents along the way friendly and more than a little curious about his high-wheeled contraption.

“Everywhere you stopped, people would swarm,” McNatt said.

Obstacles and hardships were many.

Climbing the Appalachians and the Allegheny mountains in quick succession was a supreme challenge on the high-wheeler, which has only one gear and is extremely difficult to pedal uphill. McNatt and Tim Schmidt, his companion on the first leg of the trip, resorted to walking their bikes up the heavy slopes.

McNatt crossed into the Plains states just in time to encounter excruciatingly hot weather of this summer’s drought, in which 90-plus temperatures were common.

“In Nebraska, I took a picture of a bank thermometer that read 104 degrees,” McNatt said.

Nevertheless, the local resident kept pushing, often covering 70 miles a day. He fought headwinds, mountains and desert terrain as he closed in on the West Coast.

“It’s mentally tough on you, as well as physically,” McNatt said.

Ultimately, however, McNatt’s persistence was rewarded as he finally reached the Pacific Ocean in Florence, Ore.

McNatt, who is president of the Mansfield Historical Society, figures he’s one of only a short list of riders who have completed the 3,400-mile trip on a high-wheeled bike.

Thomas Stevens, an Englishman, was the first to do it in 1884.

Since 1972, McNatt said, several people have followed in Stevens’ tracks.

McNatt, who is compiling a list of those who have completed the feat, estimates fewer than 30 riders have made it all the way.

Piloting the antique bike across the country has given McNatt a new appreciation for Mark Twain’s quote about the growing popularity of bicycles during his own time: “Get a bicycle. You’ll never regret it – if you live.”

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-08-24-12 2310GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The front wheel of this antique high-wheeler is 56 inches in diameter. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Rich Penn Auctions.

The front wheel of this antique high-wheeler is 56 inches in diameter. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Rich Penn Auctions.

A vintage tintype pictures two 'wheelmen' with their high-wheelers. Image courtesy Liveauctioneers.com Archive and Cowan's Auctions Inc.

A vintage tintype pictures two ‘wheelmen’ with their high-wheelers. Image courtesy Liveauctioneers.com Archive and Cowan’s Auctions Inc.

President Richard M. Nixon in a 1971 autographed photo. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Early American History Auctions.

Illinois collector believes Nixon is still the right man

President Richard M. Nixon in a 1971 autographed photo. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Early American History Auctions.

President Richard M. Nixon in a 1971 autographed photo. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Early American History Auctions.

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) – Richard Milhous Nixon will remain president of Roger Hunter’s heart forever.

The Decatur man still believes the resigned-in-disgrace 37th president was one of the greatest chief executives we ever had. And while his countrymen may have been ready to impeach the Republican if he had not chosen to fall on his political sword in 1974 in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Hunter says the hung jury of history eventually will come back with a verdict that says Nixon deserves a place in all our hearts.

Waiting for his fellow Americans to get on board and see the Nixonian light may take some time, however. Hunter, who’s made his living as a maintenance man, is busy whiling away the time by continuously adding to his Nixon memorabilia collection, which has items dating back to the 1940s.

Hunter has more than 400 Nixon political buttons, along with T-shirts, envelopes, pennants, bobbleheads, cups, dishes and even whiskey bottles featuring uplifting messages such as “I Love Tricky Dick,” “I’m for Nixon, Experience Counts,” and the rather surprising “He’s Tanned, Rested and Ready,” a slogan aimed at a rehabilitated Nixon in the 1980s, when fans hoped he might undergo a political resurrection.

But Nixon eventually would decide it would be better if America didn’t have him to kick around anymore. The legacy of Watergate, when political operatives bungled a burglary into the Democrat Party headquarters to bug it in 1972 and Nixon tried to hide what he knew and when he knew it, would always prove too much. Hunter, 56, whose first memories of Nixon date to when he lost his opening presidential bid to John F. Kennedy in 1960, said America was ultimately shortchanged by his hero’s untimely political demise.

“We would end up with Jimmy Carter,” Hunter said. “Now, don’t get me wrong, Jimmy Carter is a great man, but he wasn’t a good president; Nixon was better. I still love Nixon, and I think he will go down in history as one of the best.”

As he looks over his Nixon political souvenirs and the gathered reflective fragments of a great and tragic life, Hunter ticks off his icon’s achievements: the historic opening of relations with communist China in 1972 and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the former Soviet Union the same year. Nixon also finally put a tourniquet on the bleeding wound of the Vietnam War by ending U.S. involvement in 1973, and he lightened burdens at home by enforcing the desegregation of Southern schools and cleared the air with the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.

That isn’t the kind of record that might help much with a tough tea party influenced primary contest these days, but Hunter said Nixon always was his own man.

“He was never afraid to say he disagreed with people,” Hunter said. “He would always be true to his beliefs, and in the end, he would sacrifice everything and resign for the benefit of his country, because he loved his country.”

Hunter said Nixon was plunged into a dark night of the soul after exiting the White House but eventually came back to enjoy a kind of political half-life as a trusted elder statesman until his death in 1994.

“Every single president went to him for advice,” he said. “Every single one.”

What remains today for Hunter is the abiding faith that the world eventually will see Nixon as he does and come to re-evaluate him, while hopefully not driving up the cost of memorabilia too much when it does. Hunter’s patient wife, Diana, who offers a politic smile and states that she prefers not to get involved with her husband’s Nixon devotion, said his presidential collection started small and by chance, when a friend offered him a political button back in the early 1990s.

“And then he got a computer,” she recalls. “And found eBay.”

___

Information from: Herald & Review, http://www.herald-review.com

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-08-27-12 1050GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


President Richard M. Nixon in a 1971 autographed photo. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Early American History Auctions.

President Richard M. Nixon in a 1971 autographed photo. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Early American History Auctions.