From a 387-Year-Old Bible to Corn Flakes, Amway Offers It All

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A 133-year-old U.S. flag and a 1611 edition of the King James Bible are among the more unusual items being offered in Amway's 1998 spring/summer catalog.


Although the movie "Titanic" has been credited with helping renew interest in items related to its historic voyage, and the J. Peterman catalog has successfully sold authentic movie-related and historical artifacts, Amway spokeswoman Leyla Kayi said the company has been dabbling in offbeat treasures for a while.


"We've been offering special products for three years now in our spring/summer catalog, and every year it has a different theme," Kayi said. In previous years, the special products have sold well, she said.


Amway, Ada, MI, whose network of independent distributors sells a variety of products through in-person visits, chose a history theme this year because one of its buyers of historical items came up with exciting possibilities. The flag, which has 36 stars representing every state in the union after Nevada was admitted as a "northern state" in 1864, is being offered for $9,500.


A 16-inch-by-11-inch pulpit Bible, printed in 1611, has the words "The Great She Bible" on its spine because it is a corrected edition of an earlier version in which Ruth was mistakenly referred to as "he" instead of "she." The pulpit bible is being offered for $100,000, while a smaller study bible, that still contains the misprinted pronoun, is being offered for $15,000.


Other special items in the issue include limited-edition models of the Statue of Liberty made from a mold created by the statue's designer Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, selling for $75,000; a 1969 Camaro Convertible, selling for $18,950; a 1968 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, selling for $29,500; and several rare coins.


The special products are specially priced, and considerably more expensive than most of the catalog's items, Kayi said. However, because the company is set up so that products are sold through networks of distributors, its customers come from all income levels. The catalog otherwise offers a variety of products ranging from breakfast cereal to stereos.


Last year's special offerings included a sailing yacht, a 1955 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a 1966 Mustang Convertible.
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