Museum setback

November 21, 2003|By Michael Ollove | Michael Ollove,SUN STAFF

Dick Horne, now the sole proprietor of Baltimore's American Dime Museum, suffered a setback yesterday when he was outbid for the buildings that house the museum on Maryland Avenue.

The winning bid for the block of three rowhouses near Lafayette Avenue - two of which are occupied by the museum - was $255,000 (plus a 10 percent auctioneer's fee). Horne, who opened the museum of oddities four years ago, said he was forced to pull out at $250,000.

The winner, Javed Nasir, who described himself as an "investor," said he does not know what he will do with the buildings, or whether he would want the dime museum to continue there as a tenant. Horne later said, though, that Nasir assured him that he was in no rush to move him out.

Before the auction began yesterday, many of the 18 bidders poked around the real estate, which, to say the least, can't be like any of their other properties, unless they too contain dwarf mummies, Rangoon sewer serpents and Siamese twin calves.

From his conversation with his new landlord, Horne said, he expects to be able to remain at the present location for at least six months. No matter what, he vowed, Baltimore will continue to have a dime museum, even if he must move to new quarters.

The museum's finances tailed off badly in the last year, and this month, one of its co-founders, James Taylor, pulled out of his partnership with Horne and took his share of the exhibits with him. Since then, Horne has reconfigured and restocked the museum.

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