5 pieces of vintage drug paraphernalia you can legally buy
Here are 5 illicit collectibles you can actually buy at auction.
5. Opium lamps
Opium was hugely popular in Britain during the Victorian era, which is perhaps unsurprising given just how addictive it is.
Wars were fought to keep the supply lines open, in marked contrast with today. In fact, it wouldn’t be made permanently illegal until the introduction of the Dangerous Drugs Act in 1920.
This bronze pipe was made in China and displays the typical oriental imagery that swirled around the opium dens of London at the time. The pair of devils on the base is a mocking reference to the drug’s powerful habit forming effects.
It sold for $1,000 at Louis J Dianni jr in 2014.
4. Sasha and Ann Shulgin
While they might look like a sweetly innocuous old couple, Sasha and Ann Shulgin are in fact legendary figures in the drug world.
Together they developed several potent varieties of psychedelics.
Sasha, a former chemist at DOW, tested all of them himself and they made the formulas available in their books PiKHAL (1991) and TiKHAL (1997). In fact, the Shulgins were behind the explosion in popularity of the dance drug ecstasy in the early 1990s.
This print is signed by both Ann and Sasha and is up on eBay with an asking price of $750.
3. William Burroughs’ methadone pot
Few figures are as central to the drug culture as William Burroughs, author of Junkie (1953) and Naked Lunch (1959).
Aside from a few years clean here and there, Burroughs remained addicted to heroin for most of his life.
The methadone pot, marked with his name, sold for $1,320 at PBA Galleries in 1997.
It was given as a gift to underground comic artist S Clay Wilson.
2. Mughal chillum
Cannabis has a long history in human society, dating back to the prehistoric era.
This enamel hookah, or chillum, was used to smoke hashish in 18th century Mughal India. There’s precious little information available, but going by the exquisite detailing it would have belonged to an exceptionally wealthy person.
It realised $3,500 at Austin Auction Gallery in 2011.
1. LSD blotters
Believe it or not, you can actually buy LSD blotters (designed to dissolve on the tongue) on eBay – although they don’t contain any of the active ingredient.
There’s a surprisingly active community of collectors who are interested in these mini blasts from the past.
This example, displaying pink flamingos and dating to 1983, sold for $85 earlier this year.
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