January 2011 | Jonathan Shipley

The Coats of Edward Gorey

There's a delightful and odd little piece in the Paris Review about the coats of Edward Gorey and how one fan won one during a recent auction.

From the piece...

Once the auction began, anxiety set in. The coat I had settled on was second to last. As my friend predicted, one person was snapping up nearly every lot. Perhaps it was adrenaline, perhaps it was my irrational desire to own a part of Edward Gorey, but I began to bid on coats I didn't want or couldn't have even worn. I stayed in far longer than my budget allowed. The coats were selling for $3,000 to $6,000. Part of me knew I would be beyond broke if I won, but I assured myself that winning was impossible.

The coat on which I had my heart set--a stunning Fischer Stroller designed by Gorey himself--went to the mysterious bidder at the back of the room. I was disappointed but relieved and ready to go home. I had tried. But wait! As a model walked down the aisle wearing the final coat, someone from the back pointed out a mistake. The last two coats had been accidentally swapped on their hangers. The auctioneer would reset the bidding, something he said he'd never done before. I would get another chance. The first coat--the Gorey-designed coat--went for $3,800, and I lost again. Then the last coat went on the block: a Lorraine mink stroller. I hadn't tried it on; for some reason I had overlooked it on the rack. It wasn't designed by Gorey, but it was gorgeous.

I won the coat. I won the coat that moments ago sold for triple the price I could afford to pay. Everyone cheered.