Barney Smith has run his world-famous Toilet Seat Art Museum since 1992, but he’s been working on its exhibits for more than 50 years. His decorated toilet seats date back to his days as a plumber and line the walls of the San Antonio, Texas, staple, which he opens to the public by appointment only at this point.
But now, all that is coming to an end. The man known as “King of the Commode” is selling his collection to anyone who will agree to keep the collection together as a museum.
“I’m planning on the whole thing coming to an abrupt end, because I’m 96 years old,” Smith told McClatchy. “I’m not going to be here but just a few more days, and I don’t want my daughters to have to deal with getting rid of it.”
Smith told a local TV station he’d like to get somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 for the collection, but the major sticking point is agreeing to keep the seats down, and together.
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“If they’ll sign a contract to use it as a museum and not to sell it off piece by piece, that’s what we want,” Smith said.
He said he’s received interest from a local artist and friend, and one party in Colorado, who his children would be vetting in the coming days. So, if you aren’t one of the thousands who have already come from all corners of the globe to see the unique institution, it’s time to go, or get off the pot, writes Texas Monthly.
But selling doesn’t mean he’s slowed down on creating the art that has won him 50 years’ worth of admiration. In September Smith finished decorating a 2016 Olympics-themed toilet seat.
“Then I took one out just the other day. It’s a CIA toilet set,” Smith said.
It’s toilet seat number 1,322 in the collection, and he’s already planning his 1,323rd: one for the University of the Incarnate Word, the private college down the street.
Clorox, maker of many toilet-related products, has also recently amplified the calls for interested buyers with a website that features a digital gallery of some of Smith’s most festive work.