Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Death machine fails to make killing

Ava Janus the sole surviving heir of Dr Jack Kevorkian, poses with his Thanatron machine (AP)

A killing machine belonging to assisted-suicide advocate Dr Jack Kevorkian has been withdrawn from an auction of his possessions after failing to draw a high enough bid.

Seventeen paintings also failed to sell at the New York Institute of Technology. One was made in Dr Kevorkian's blood.

The paintings are tied up in a legal dispute between his estate and a suburban Boston museum.

The Armenian Library and Museum of America says Dr Kevorkian donated the paintings and they will stay put until the dispute is resolved. The estate estimates their value at up to 3.5 million dollars (£2.1 million).

Both sides have filed lawsuits. Dr Kevorkian, 83, who died in June, left his property to his niece and sole surviving heir, Ava Janus.

A suicide machine belonging to Dr Kevorkian was withdrawn from an auction of the assisted-suicide advocate's possessions after failing to draw a high enough bid. And 17 of his paintings tied up in a legal dispute with a suburban Boston museum found no takers.

The paintings, including one Dr Kevorkian did with a pint of his blood, and about 100 other personal items went on sale at the New York Institute of Technology. The estate had estimated the value of the 17 paintings at 2.5-3.5 million dollars (£1.5-£2.1 million).

Images of the paintings were displayed instead of the actual works because the Armenian Library and Museum of America has refused to surrender them.

Roger Neal, a spokesman for the Kevorkian estate, said he was not surprised that the paintings did not sell. "I'm not sure how many people wanted to bid on artwork that was in litigation," he said.

The suicide machine had been estimated to sell for 100,000 to 200,000 dollars (£62,100-£124,200), but the highest bid was 65,000 dollars (£40,000), said Mr Neal's colleague Lester Schecter. "People just didn't bid on the big stuff," he said.

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