Auction company 

Jerry Zezima: I need money for Moe

If I had spent $24,000 on a wrought iron weather vane featuring the Three Stooges in their famous eye-catching posture, would my wife hit me on the head with an auctioneer’s gavel?

Howdy! Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!

That’s why, despite being a lifelong Stooge fan, I resisted the temptation to bid more than $4.85 on any of the dozens of items from the recent auction. of Moe Howard and Norman Maurer Estate.

Moe, of course, was the leader of the Stooges, the one with the sugar haircut who boasted of being “the mastermind of the outfit.” As one character pointed out in one of their short topics, “That doesn’t say much.” Maurer was Moe’s real son-in-law.

And $4.85 was the amount the Stooges ended up with, after taxes, when Curly won $50,000 in a radio contest in the 1938 classic “Healthy, Wealthy and Dumb.”

So even if I had won $50,000 in the lottery, my wife, Sue, who like most women is not a fan of the legendary comedy trio, wouldn’t let me bid on Stooge-related merchandise in the online auction.

Still, I wanted to know more about this slapstick treasure, so I called Nate D. Sanders Auctions, the Los Angeles company that conducted the sale, and spoke with consignment coordinator Jamie Perez.

“Are you a Three Stooges fan?” I was wondering.

“I appreciate their genius,” she replied.

“Most women hate the Stooges,” I said admiringly. “You are in a small group. Who is your favorite Stooge? »

“I should say Curly,” Jamie said. “Who is yours?

“Shemp,” I replied. “The surest sign of maturity in a man, if it ever happens, is when he comes to appreciate Shemp.”

“I like it,” Jamie said, adding that at the auction house she wears “many hats.”

“Are any of them a derby?” I asked. “That’s what Curly was wearing.”

“No,” replied Jamie, who asked if I wanted to bid on items including Curly’s 18-karat gold ring and Moe’s ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract for his 1925 marriage to his wife, Helen.

“I limit myself to $4.85,” I said.

“You’ll have to start higher than that,” Jamie informed me. “Do you have Venmo?”

“I don’t have Venmoe, Venlarry, or Vencurly,” I replied, “although I’m trying to get Venshemp.”

“You could be a Stooge too,” Jamie said.

I responded to this supreme compliment by saying, “Thank you, toots!”

I was also grateful that she put me in touch with Sam Heller of Sam Heller Communications, who represents several auction houses, including Nate D. Sanders Auctions.

“Did you know Shemp’s real name was Sam?” I asked him.

“I had no idea,” Sam said.

“And Curly’s real name was Jerry,” I added.

“You are a Three Stooges trivia encyclopedia,” Sam said.

He was even more impressed when I told him it was the 100th anniversary of the team, which was founded in 1922 when a vaudeville headliner named Ted Healy enlisted Moe Howard and his older brother Shemp. like his first acolytes, or “fosters”. Larry Fine joined the act three years later.

“The centenary is just one more reason for collectors to own memorabilia from one of the greatest comedy teams of all time,” Sam said.

“Who’s your favorite Stooge?” I asked.

“It’s like asking who your favorite child is,” Sam replied. “But I should say Larry.”

“Did you know,” I said, “that the Stooges were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film of 1934 for ‘Men in Black’?”

“It’s way better than ‘Men in Black’ with Will Smith,” Sam said.

“And Moe gave better slaps than Will,” I said.

Sam agreed wholeheartedly.

The auction ended the next day, with the weather vane for $24,079, Moe’s prenup for $21,889, and Curly’s ring for $10,456.

When I told Sue about it, she said, “If you had spent that much money, I would have bothered you.

“It wouldn’t take much,” I replied. “Woo woo woo!”

Jerry Zezima

Jerry Zezima writes a comedy column for Tribune News Service and is the author of six books. His latest is “One for the Ageless: How to Stay Young and Immature Even if You’re Really Old.” Join it at [email protected] or via

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