CLEARVIEW, Wash. – Legendary Seattle restaurateur Ivar Haglund’s watchword was “Keep clam,” but his successors didn’t want to hang onto a giant promotional bivalve made in the late 1980s.
Dan McAuliffe paid $1,626 on eBay for the 12-by-12-by-7-foot, 700-pound clam. He plans to put it on display with other relics and oddities at his 11-acre Clearview Nursery.
Haglund, a waterfront character with a loopy sense of humor and a keen eye for marketing, died in 1985. The wood, mesh and foam bivalve was the brainchild of adman Terry Heckler.
Just like real clams, it spouts water. Unlike real clams, it has the name “Ivar’s” in big letters with lights and sequins on both sides.
McAuliffe plans to use the clam as a fountain with nighttime lighting near the nursery entrance. He says he remembers the clam from appearances in past Seafair Torchlight parades, and gets a kick out of preserving offbeat artifacts.
“They don’t get held onto,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to keep them and for people to be able to look at them.”
Ivar’s spokeswoman Kerri Lewis said the big clam was relegated to storage about 10 years ago. “It was time to let it go. It was pretty old,” Lewis said.
“It would make a great paperweight,” Heckler suggested as the landfill loomed. “I’m very emotionally attached to the clam.”
Finally Traci Buxton of Des Moines, who sometimes acquires odd items to sell on eBay, got a call from a salvager friend who told her he was taking the clam to the dump and asked if she was interested.
She was, and promised to give 20 percent of the proceeds to charity. There were 71 offers for the giant clam when bidding closed last week.
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