When your job is buying and selling offbeat antiques, finding something that surprises can be difficult.
However, when you have the chance to buy a heart that's been plasticized, all bets are off.
That opportunity recently came to Evan Michelson and Mike Zohn, owners of Obscura Antiques & Oddities, a New York City store that specializes in one-of-a-kind artifacts such as monkey race cars, possessed ventriloquist dummies and artworks made of human hair.
The two were in Austin, Texas, to help a client, astronaut Richard Garriott, who was looking for items that would keep his home weird.
As part of the mission, which will be aired June 9 on the Science Channel series "Oddities," the duo met a collector of morbid memorabilia named Brandon who proudly showed off his grisly goodies, including a plasticized heart.
"Wow!" Michelson exclaimed while exmining the waxy looking heart. "You can see the veins here, and look at these valves."
Zohn explained how the plastination process works.
"Plastination removes the water and oils from the body and replaces it with polymers," he said. "It basically deprives the bacteria of what they need to survive and keeps the body parts preserved."
But the yellowish waxy heart wasn't the only creepy collectible that caught the eyes of Zohn and Michelson. They were also impressed by a fake head used by mortician students trying to learn the makeup techniques used on dead people.
"When someone comes in who's met a grisly death and they're terribly disfigured and going to have an open casket at a funeral, [the morticians] want to recreate the face."
This mortician model was especially unique because the eyebrows used real hair.
Although Michelson and Zohn paid a total of $750 for both items, Zohn admitted they may not be what their client is looking for.
"These items are definitely cool and conversation starters," he said. "However, I don't know if they're the right caliber until we see his collection."
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