Trader Vic's Tikis Go For Big Bucks At Auction
By Rob Christopher in Food on Aug 23, 2012 3:30PM
Photo via Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.
Bidding was lively, and lot after lot moved out of our price range. Way out of our price range. A carved wood tiki with "a bulbous head having stylized features, bared teeth and an exaggerated phallus," went for a staggering $3200. It fetched the highest price of anything at the auction. By comparison, the lifesized tiki statue which stood outside the Palmer House Trader Vic's for so many years went for $1700—a very fair price in our estimation. One of the burlwood low tables was sold for only $170.
Paul McGee, nattily dressed in a suit with a striped knit tie, snagged four lots for his new tiki bar. Among the items he bid for successfully: a beautiful group of three tiki totems, three Pacific giant clam shells, and a carved wood tiki lectern. He told us that he'd try to find a spot behind the bar for the last item, or perhaps use it as a host's stand. We may have missed out on taking anything home, but it's comforting to know that at least some of those Trader Vic's artifacts will soon be back where they belong: namely, a Chicago tiki bar.