Auctions | Skull and Bones Ballot Box and Photos at Christie's

For an estimated $10,000 to $20,000 you could: a) make damned sure your secret club's precious ballot box doesn't end up in the hands of some lowly Harvard grad; b) teach your children the proper etiquette of blackballing; c) have an antique - albeit a bit macabre - vessel to hold jelly beans. 

The present lot, with hinged flap on top of the skull was said to have been used as a ballot box during society meetings or displayed in the Society's headquarters at 64 High Street in New Haven. The inscription on the right cross bone Thor could be a name which would have been assigned to a member upon induction. Accompanied by approximately 50 photographs of society members and a small black book inscribed with names (which were published until 1971), the present lot provides a rare glimpse into the society which has been linked to many influential figures and leaders at Yale University and in this country.

It all hits the block at Christie's New York on January 21-25 in the Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver and Chinese Export sale.

(Thanks to Urban Daddy for the tip)


  1. Too cool, for school!
    What a concversation piece!

  2. Oh this is a must bid on!!!
    What a collector lot!

  3. I would like to add a #4: Your last name happens to be inscribed on the ballot box. I'm calling my parents now to see if I'm missing out on some essential family history!

  4. Greg says:

    You are right, it would be great for jelly beans...

  5. I'm fascinated.
    Also check out

  6. I might be a little macabre, but that's right up my alley! WOOT!

  7. Author says:


    "A New York City auction house says a human skull that had been used as a ballot box by Yale's elite Skull and Bones society has been withdrawn from sale.

    Christie's said Friday that the 19th century skull was being removed from the Jan. 22 sale due to a title claim. The auction house declined further comment.

    The skull had been expected to sell for $10,000 to $20,000. Christie's only identified the seller as a European art collector.

    The skull is fitted with a hinged flap and is believed to have been used during voting at the mysterious society's meetings. The club was founded in 1832 and publicly known members, called Bonesmen, include both presidents Bush and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry."

  8. Unknown says:

    I am appalled that the leaders of our country(Skull and Bones society members have been the most educated and elite of this country and have continued on to serve in our government) have maintained this disrespectful and dishonoring abomination without anyone suggesting or refusing on the grounds that this human skull was once someone's family. Not sure who brought these people up but do they not have any morals or conscience? By the way, this is a felony and all of those people should be fined and put in jail, especially if it is the remains of Geronimo. How dare they!

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