"A glimpse into the sex lives and humor of our ancestors." A Victorian-era dildo that was previously auctioned to a US collector will now return to Ireland - hopefully to a museum - thanks to an Irish crowdfunding campaign.
Back in 2017, a Victorian-era ivory hand-carved dildo made headlines when it was sold in a County Meath auction for €3,200 ($3,424) The "ladies companion," as it was termed by the auctioneer's booklet, had belonged to a well-known Anglo-Irish family, a gift from a husband to his wife.
The precious artifact, crafted in China in the late 1800s out of ivory dating back to the 1840s, received over 100 bids from 40 countries and eventually went to a wealthy private collector in the US who even out-bid a Los Angeles erotica museum.
Irish Twitter! A couple years ago a Victorian ivory dildo went up for auction and it made headlines. It was reportedly sold to an American private collector for €3200. I was devastated! https://t.co/eyMfJVcy3O— Sex Siopa (@SexSiopa) July 29, 2019
This did not sit well with Shawna Scott, owner of the online boutique Sex Siopa. On Twitter, she shared that she "stormed about the place for weeks shouting to myself in full Indiana Jones fashion 'IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!'"
I stormed around the place for weeks shouting to myself in full Indiana Jones fashion "IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!" I still stand by that.— Sex Siopa (@SexSiopa) July 29, 2019
So when Scott learned last week that the same antique dildo was up for auction again, she knew she had to secure it for Ireland.
It is such an important piece of our Irish sexual history, but often times unless there's a connection to the Famine or 1916, really cool artefacts like these that give us a glimpse into the sex lives and humour of our ancestors are de-prioritised and forgotten.— Sex Siopa (@SexSiopa) July 29, 2019
"It is such an important piece of our Irish sexual history, but often times, unless there's a connection to the Famine or 1916, really cool artefacts like these that give us a glimpse into the sex lives and humour of our ancestors, are de-prioritised and forgotten," she wrote.
Cut to Saturday when a customer informs me that what looks to be the very same ivory dildo is up for auction again! TODAY! https://t.co/9JEXV36281— Sex Siopa (@SexSiopa) July 29, 2019
She quickly launched a crowdfunding campaign at 3:30 pm on the day of the auction, and by the time it began at 6 pm she had raised €1,000 - of which she wound up needing only €620 ($692) to win the dildo for Ireland. (The donors will have the option to be refunded a portion of the unused funds).
FOLKS! WE DID IT! WE WON THE DILDO FOR IRELAND!!!!!!! — Sex Siopa (@SexSiopa) July 29, 2019
Scott's next step will be securing a place for the Victorian dildo in an Irish museum. She told the Irish Times that her preference would be either the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle or the Decorative Arts Museum in Collins Barracks.
For those skeptical that this is in fact an important piece of Irish history, Scott said the following:
“There was so much going in that time period. People were literally starving to death and meanwhile, someone was bringing this home for their spouse…
“I always get asked about how repressed we are in Ireland. I think we’re much more liberal than we think we are.”
As for why the dildo sold for nearly five times less than its 2017 cost, Scott has a good guess: "the dildo is clearly haunted."
It also seems to be estimated at far less that it was 2 years ago (about €400-700), so the dildo is CLEARLY haunted which adds an element of intrigue that I am 100% on board with.— Sex Siopa (@SexSiopa) July 29, 2019