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Wax celebrities find careers in meltdown

PUBLISHED: 18:11 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 July 2010

UP FOR AUCTION: Great Yarmouth House of Wax is having a clearout.

UP FOR AUCTION: Great Yarmouth House of Wax is having a clearout.

Liz Coates

APART from being melted down it must be one of the most damning indictments that your star status is waning rather than waxing.

For, while the world of celebrity may be considered vulnerable and artificial, spare a thought for their waxwork counterparts - the pretend people whose demise is evidence of a flagging career, or worse.

APART from being melted down it must be one of the most damning indictments that your star status is waning rather than waxing.

For, while the world of celebrity may be considered vulnerable and artificial, spare a thought for their waxwork counterparts - the pretend people whose demise is evidence of a flagging career, or worse.

The latest victims of a clear out at Great Yarmouth's House of Wax Museum have been plucked variously from the world of sport, politics, movies, music and the military to join the ranks of the not-so-famous fakes up for sale at auction next month.

Among those who look vaguely familiar are Adam Ant, various royals including Princess Diana, Barry Sheen, Robin Cousins, George Best, former prime ministers Harold Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas Home and former US president Jimmy Carter - all bearing an uncanny likeness in their day, but now simply uncanny.

The disembodied heads are among 70 going under the hammer at Keys in Aylsham on February 12 and 13. Valuer Sylvia Cooper defied anyone to identify one or two of them who were unrecognisable and possibly came from the chamber of horrors.

The tourist haunt gained a cult following after it became the butt of an internet joke circulated through email mocking the models for little looking like their stars.

National newspapers then jumped on the bandwagon poking fun at the attraction which has been in owner Peter Hayes family for more than 50 years and is still “unfailingly popular”.

Mr Hayes, 80, who has run the Regent Road House of Wax with his wife Jane for 25 years, said some of the heads dated from the Victorian era and included military generals whose names had been forgotten by history, adding: “Some of them are too old and they do not resemble their subjects anymore and obviously some visitors are far too young to remember them. We do sell them off from time to time and there are some very nice ones.

“I would say Princess Diana is the prize of the collection.

“We have not been able to trace an identity for some of them because the makers did not put names on them, presumably because at the time it would have been obvious to all.

“What puzzles me is why people buy them and what they do with them. But I suppose it's not the sort of thing you get up for sale every day.”

Mr Hayes said the museum did add new figures to the collection which still numbers 250 but it had to “eke them out” because the price tag ran into four figures.

Mrs Cooper said many of those going under the hammer were younger heads, adding: “They are just having a clearout.”

Each head carries an estimate of £50 to £80 with no reserve and can be bid for online. Mrs Cooper said a previous sale several years ago attracted huge interested from theatrical folk looking for props as well as ordinary people wanting a gimmicky gift.

For more information call Keys at Aylsham on 01263 733195 or visit www. Keys24.com

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