Perhaps some unusual art or an odd item you picked up in a remote area of the planet or even in your own backyard?
If you do, Edward Meyer, vice-president of exhibits and archives at Ripley Entertainment Inc., would like to see it.
Meyer, who is responsible for purchasing items for the 32 Ripley's Believe It or Not museums around the world, is at Science North this weekend for the Bizarre Buying Bazaar.
The event takes place in the science centre's lobby from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 16-17 and from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 18. Meyer said he is willing to pay good money for unusual items.
How much Ripley's is willing to spend on an item depends on what it is. It once spent $2.3 million to purchase John Lennon's Rolls Royce. On the other hand, people sometimes donate items.
Meyer said he expects to drop several thousand dollars on items brought in by Sudburians this weekend.
Even if you're not willing to part with your oddity, Meyer will give it an “oddpraisal,” meaning he won't necessarily tell you how much it's worth, but he will tell you how unusual it is.
At a June Bizarre Buying Bazaar event in Orlando, Florida, he purchased roughly 80 items – everything from a rare New Guinea widow's finger chopper to unusual artwork to a lamp made from a taxidermy chicken.
“I don't know what I really expect to get here,” Meyer said. “I don't have great expectations. I'm willing to be surprised.”
This is the first time the Bizarre Buying Bazaar has made a trip to Canada. Meyer said he decided to visit Sudbury to support the travelling Ripley's exhibit currently on display at Science North.
After spending only a few hours at Science North Aug. 16, Meyer had already made a purchase – a blow gun from Equador, complete with a quiver and a set of poisonous arrows.
“So watch out, squirrels and rabbits in Sudbury, because I now have a blow gun,” Meyer said. “I would have never expected to see something from South America in Sudbury, Ont.”
Science North graphic artist Kim Lavigne brought in two pieces of art for Meyer to look at Aug. 16.
One was a small tree she'd built out of lichen and twigs, using a large piece of fungus as the backdrop. The other was a flower she'd constructed out of milkweed pods, dyed beans and clementine orange peels.
Meyer hadn't yet decided whether or not to purchase Lavigne's natural-materials art, but she's hopeful he will.
“That would actually be quite cool,” she said. “I'd be amazed that somebody would be interested in it.”
Science North marketing specialist Christine Catt encourages the public to visit the Bizarre Buying Bizarre.
“We want to see as many people as possible bringing out their unique art, and those funky things they found in their garage and their attic, that belonged to parents and grandparents – anything that you have that people talk about,” she said.
Oddity owners planning to attend the Bizarre Buying Bazaar are encouraged to RSVP to Angela Johnson at [email protected] in advance to provide some details on the item they want to bring in.
That will allow Ripley's research team to see what they can find out about the particular items of interest in advance.
For more information about the Bizarre Buying Bazaar, visit www.sciencenorth.ca.