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Archive for October, 2009

More likely to eat than be eaten, this giant whale shark was caught off the coast of China by hardcore fishermen who managed to harness the ten-metre, eight-tonne whopper. Whale sharks are the world’s largest living fish, it is estimated that they can reach an 18 metre length. They live in warm water along the coast and open seas and spend most of their time near the surface.

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It took 90 minutes to land, 13 men to heave it out of the water… and weighed 55 stone when they finally got it to the scales. So it’s little wonder that when Ian Welch first hooked the record stingray, it almost pulled him into the river. The angler, from Aldershot, Hampshire, was fishing in Thailand when he landed the ray, which is the biggest freshwater fish to be caught with a rod, with over 7ft long and wide, with a tail of 10ft.

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World’s Biggest Cat

Jungle Island in Miami is home to a liger (a hybrid cross between a male lion and a female tiger
) named Hercules, the largest non-obese liger. The liger is recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records as the largest cat on Earth, weighing in at 900 lbs.

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World’s Tallest Dog

Hercules might be the biggest dog
in the world, but the tallest according to the Guinness World Records is Gibson, a Harlequin Great Dane, who is 42.2 inches. The 170-pound Dane is more than 7 feet tall, taller than most NBA basketball players.

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World’s Biggest Catfish

At 646LB this Mekong Giant Catfish is the largest freshwater fish in the world. With nearly nine feet long (2.7 meters) and as big as a grizzly bear, this huge catfish caught in northern Thailand may be the largest freshwater fish ever recorded. Although there are many claims and rumours about the world’s largest freshwater specimens, especially from misguided anglers. However, in the eyes of scientist’s the Mekong Giant Catfish has taken pole position with the recorded capture of this huge 646LB specimen by local fishermen in 2005. Many anglers over look the fact that some larger fish that can be caught in the worlds rivers, such as Sturgeon, migrate between river and sea, and therefore not considered to be freshwater species in the true sense of the word.

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World’s Biggest Pig

The Liaoning Provincial Agricultural Museum is appealing to the Guinness Book of Records to recognise a 900 kg (1984 pounds) pig which died on February 5 as the biggest pig ever. When the pig died it was 2.5 metres long, had a waistline of 2.23 metres and a tusk of 14.4 centimetres long. According to XU Changjin, a farmer of Wafangdian city, the pig was only 5 years old. He kept his pig in a good built sty and gave it quality food all its life.

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World’s Biggest Cow

As big as a small elephant, Big Cow Chilli and he’s described as a gentle giant. Chilli the giant bullock stands at 6ft 6ins and weighs well over a ton. Despite his grand stature, Chilli only grazes on grass during the day and enjoys the occasional swede as a treat.

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World’s Biggest Horse

Radar, a Belgian draught horse, is the World’s Tallest Living Horse. This huge horse, at 6ft 71/2in from hoof to shoulder, is from Mount Pleasant, Texas. At 2,400lb, he has a giant appetite to match, putting away 20 gallons of water
a day and 18lb of grain.

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World’s Biggest Dog

Say hello to this gargantuan specimen named Hercules, purportedly the Guinness Record holder for World’s Biggest Dog. Hercules is an English Mastiff and has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds.

With “paws the size of softballs”, the three-year-old monster is far larger and heavier than his breed’s standard 200lb. limit. Hercules owner Mr. Flynn says that Hercules weight is natural and not induced by a bizarre diet: “I fed him normal food and he just grew, and grew, and grew”.

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People Who Accidentally Found a Fortune

The woman who found rare movie poster worthy many thousands in a print

People Who Accidentally Found a Fortune

Laura Stouffer was browsing in a thrift shop in Summerville, looking for whatever might catch her fancy, when she spotted a framed print of “Shepherd’s Call,” a painting depicting a border collie finding a lost lamb in a snowbank. Also known as “Found,” the original had been produced sometime between 1850 and the late 1870s, attributed to no less than three different artists.

Stouffer, a former antiques dealer, recognized it immediately, snaring the 14×22-inch copy for a song. “Found” was a prophetic title, for beneath the lithograph, sandwiched between the print and its cardboard backing, was a much rarer find: an original “window card” poster from the 1930 film classic “All Quiet on the Western Front.” (Link)

The man who bought a $30 painting worth 1.2 million dollars

The man who bought a $30 painting worth 1.2 million dollars
One day, an employee at a tool-and-die company in Indiana spent $30 for a few pieces of used furniture and an old painting of some flowers and decided to strategically hang the picture to cover up a hole in the wall that had been bugging him.

Some years later he was playing a board game called Masterpiece in which players attempt to outbid one another for artwork at an auction. Much to his surprise, one of the cards in the game featured a painting of flowers that looked a lot like the one he had on his wall. He found that his painting was similar in style to the work of Martin Johnson Heade, an American still-life artist best known for landscapes and flower arrangements.

He asked the Kennedy Galleries in Manhattan, which handles many of Heade’s works, to take a look at his painting. They verified that the piece of artwork covering the hole in his wall was a previously unknown Heade painting, since named Magnolias on Gold Velvet Cloth. In 1999, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston purchased the painting for $1.2 million dollars.

(Link)

The student who found a painting worth over $27,000 in a thrift store couch

The student who found a painting worth over $27,000 in a thrift store couch

A German student bought a pullout couch for $215 at a Berlin flea market and found a painting worth 100 times that amount hidden inside when she unfolded the sofa at home. According to Auction House Kunst Kettler, the tiny 10- by 15-inch oil painting was sold for $27,630 at a Hamburg art auction. The work, “Preparation to Escape to Egypt,” was painted by an unknown artist close to Venetian painter Carlo Saraceni between 1605 and 1620.The student’s identity was not revealed.

The collector who found $200,000 in coins after cleaning out an abandoned house

The collector who found $200,000 in coins after cleaning out an abandoned house

Jeff Bidelman, a Johnstown Rare Collectibles owner, was helping a family clean out the house their relative had abandoned over twenty years ago. As he was dragging a bag of old coins downstairs, he noticed a hole in an upstairs wall. When the first floor got torn down, a mounting pile of gold coins was found. In total, Bidelman found at least $8,500 of coins at face value. He estimates the actual value of the coins could be as high as $200,000. Apparently, they had been thrown down the hole Bidelman had noticed earlier.

(Link)

The woman who found a Pollock worth millions, paid $5 for it

The woman who found a Pollock worth millions, paid $5 for it

If you’re not an art connoisseur, it looks a lot like a bunch of squiggly lines on a page. But to an expert, it’s a stunning find – an original Jackson Pollock, an American painter and an artist considered a master of abstract expressionism.

How this painting came to be on display and up for sale in a local Toronto gallery is the stuff of legend. You may remember the unbelievable story surrounding a woman named Teri Horton, a retired truck driver who loved to frequent thrift shops around North America. When she entered one of them in California in the 1990s, she spotted a picture lying unused in a corner, a piece of artwork that no one seemed to want.

She hated it but thought it was funny. And she was going to buy it for her depressed friend. And she brought it to the counter and the lady said it was $8 and Teri said she’s willing to pay $5, she doesn’t love her friend that much. They were planning on drinking some beers and throwing darts at it. But a friend of hers was dating an art teacher and he looked at it and said ‘you very well may have a Jackson Pollock on your hands.’

And she came back with the statement ‘Who the F is Jackson Pollock?’ And it all began from there. That statement became the name of a 2006 documentary featuring her story, including her struggles to prove her five buck painting was really the masterpiece many claimed it was. It was finally authenticated and now there’s no doubt about its value.The painting has since been assessed as being worth a stunning $50 million, surely the greatest flea market bargain in history.

The contractor who found $182,000 in a bathroom

The contractor who found $182,000 in a bathroom

Apparently, bathrooms can be pretty useful spots to hide your money, as contractor Bob Kitts from Cleveland, Ohio discovered. Kitts found $182,000 of Depression-era money hidden in a bathroom wall. Kitts was tearing the bathroom walls out of an 83-year-old home near Lake Erie in 2006 when he discovered two green metal lockboxes suspended inside a wall below the medicine chest, hanging from a wire. Inside were white envelopes with the return address for “P. Dunne News Agency.” He told the homeowner about the money; arguments broke out quickly on how to repartition the findings. This led to a legal battle between the homeowner and the contractor, and eventually between the found money’s family descendants who had been traced back from the return address on the envelope the money was found in. The contractor would have done well to keep his mouth shut.

(Link)

The old lady who found a 140 year-old baseball card in her basement

Bernice Gallego, a 72-year-old California woman found a rare baseball card of the first professional team in the United States in her home. And if it weren’t for the intervention of a friend, she would have sold the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings card on eBay for $10. The front of the card features a sepia-toned, gelatin-silver photographic print of the entire team. The reverse, a red-and-white advertisement for Peck & Snyder, a New York sports equipment manufacturer. The card has since been authenticated by PSA. The team photo is relatively unscathed.

The 19th century baseball card was sold on the auction block for $75,285.

(Link 1 )

The man who bought an official copy of the Declaration of Independence for $4

The man who bought an official copy of the Declaration of Independence for $4
A man, who was not identified, bought a torn painting for $4 in a flea market in Adamstown, Pa., because he was interested in its frame. When he got home he removed the painting — a dismal country scene — and concluded the frame could not be salvaged, but found one of the 500 official copies from the Declaration of Independence, folded and hidden in the backing. The copy is a crisp, clean broadside, creased along lines where it had been folded. It was printed by John Dunlap on July 4, 1776, to carry news of America’s independence to the citizens of the 13 colonies. It is one of 24 known copies of the Declaration, and one of only three remaining in private hands.

The $4 bargain was auctioned for $2,420,000 at Sotheby’s. The buyer was Donald J. Scheer of Atlanta, president of Visual Equities Inc. (Link 1)

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