Estate sales can sometimes offer the most astonishing things. They're not always piles of vintage clothing, dusty books, and other mothbally knick-knacks left over from people who have "moved on."
Case in point: An estate sale in Midtown last week that offered a nicely stuffed British "hero dog" displayed in a fine glass case.
The little white dog, supposedly close to a century old, wears a cloth vest adorned with tarnished and hard-to-read medals, though most of them refer to lifeboats and lifesaving. But it's the intriguing inscription on his collar that tells part of his story.
On a large silver plate attached to a nicely crafted link-chain collar is this: "I am dog 'Ship" — Sailor's Friend. Presented by Royal National Lifeboat Institution For Collecting Subscriptions. Owner: F.L. Holmes, Ship Inn, Denmark Street, Bristol."
Pretty unusual, I think you'll agree. And what's his story? Presented where, I wonder? And when? And the real mystery: How did this once-famous dog find his way to Memphis? The estate sale operators were taking bids for the little critter (instead of letting customers just buy him outright), so I have no idea how much it eventually sold for. If you ask me, though, "Ship" needs to go in a museum, or (even better) he should be returned to a proper home at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which is still an active organization in Great Britain. Someplace where he can truly be appreciated.
I know what you're thinking: Why didn't I bid on this? Oh goodness, the Lauderdales already have dozens of stuffed animals scattered here and there around the Mansion. Some of them my own relatives.