A dozen years after her death, Maxine Mesinger's life is for sale. This Saturday Morton Auctioneers & Appraisers is auctioning off a half-century's worth of the legendary Houston Chronicle celeb/gossip reporter's furniture, home decor, celebrity swag, books, and many other items. (Portions of the proceeds will go to a UH scholarship fund and for mutiple sclerosis research.)

For Houstonians of a certain age and social class, this is the motherlode, a veritable El Dorado of bold-faced pop culture and boldfaced name mementoes from the swizzle-stick Mad Men era through to the Donald's gold-plated '80s.

Here are a few of our favorite items:


 Lot 219A is Maxine Mesenger's original Houston Chronicle Smith-Corona typewriter, perhaps on which the word "swankienda" and the sentence "She snoops to conquer" were coined. The auctioneers are hoping to bring in $10,000-$15,000 for this holy relic of local print journalism. 

And now, there's this strange grouping of autographed photos...

Yes, that's the scrawlings of Richard Milhous Nixon, Barbara Walters, and Ivana and Donald Trump, all on one page. I feel kinda bad for Mr. King and Ms. Lichtenstein, but as mere local celebs, I am sure they understand that their signatures would only lower the tone of this high cotton, to boldly mix a metaphor. It would be like a roadie getting hurt that he didn't get to sign your copy of Abbey Road next to John, Paul, George and Ringo.

And now there's this collection of glittery baubles...

What caught our eye here is the picture lower left, which seems to portray Dr. Denton Cooley attired as a Catholic bishop with Mesinger and a sushi chef. Looks like it was a fun night...

And now there's this portrait, done "after Warhol":

Pop art must not be in style among the Mesinger heirs these days. Why else would this be on the block?...

And now, some lore from when Houston had a touch of Vegas to it...

Shamrock Hotel memorabilia! It's hard to believe, but as late as 1980, thanks to the Shamrock there was still a faint whiff of faded glamor to the Med Center area, where the Mesinger family lived for a few years in the hotel's Mid-Century heyday.  

And last but not least in this showcase showdown, we have... A new TV/Betamax combo! With audio cassettes back in style among today's hipster set, can a Betamax Renaissance be far behind? Or a rebirth of TV sets as furniture? Or flip-number clocks? This 1975 Sony Trinitron is a work of art, it still works, the auctioneers are throwing in eight free Betamax tapes, and you can simultaneously tape one channel while watching another! 

Filed under
Show Comments

Read This Next

Related Content