The Mystique of the Crystal Skulls

Part 4

To put the Crystal Skulls in a more general perspective, it should be noted that in 19th Century Europe there was a widespread fascination for skulls and skeletons: during the reign of Louis Napoleon (1852-1870,) French artists created stereoscopic photographs called Diableries, which described dancing of skeletons, conversations with the devil, and other macabre scenes. The apparition of the Crystal Skulls, therefore, could not have chosen a more fertile time and terrain.
A second generation of skulls (about the size of a human skull and with no central hole) first appeared in 1881 in Boban's shop. The skull was just under 15 cm. In the catalog that describes it, the place of origin is not indicated and it is placed separately from the Mexican antiquities. Boban called it a "masterpiece" of lapidary technology, and added that it was a "unique in the world" object. Despite its uniqueness, however, the skull did not sell and so when Boban returned to Mexico City in 1885 after a 16-year absence, he took it with him, exhibiting it in his shop along with a collection of real human skulls which he called “Museo Cientifico” (Scientific Museum.)

According to local rumors, Boban attempted to sell the Crystal Skull to Mexico's National Museum by passing it off as an Aztec artifact, in association with Leopoldo Batres, whose official government title was "protector of pre-Hispanic monuments." But the museum curator thought the skull was a glass fake, and refused to purchase it. Batres then has denounced Boban for fraud and accusing him of smuggling antiques.
In July of 1886, Boban moved his museum and collection to New York City and later held an auction of thousands of archaeological objects, colonial Mexican manuscripts, and a vast amount of books. Tiffany & Co. purchased the Crystal Skull for $950 dollars. Ten years later, Tiffany resold it to the British Museum for the same amount. But in the 1886 catalog for the New York auction, a second Crystal Skull appears on the list, of a smaller variety and described as coming from the "Valley of Mexico." It was accompanied by a crystal hand which is indicated as being of Aztec manufacture. Neither object has ever been found.
A third generation of skulls appeared in 1934 when Sydney Burney, a London art dealer, purchased a Crystal Skull of virtually identical proportions of that which the British Museum had purchased from Tiffany & Co. It was never found where Burney got the skull, but it is an almost identical replica of the skull in the British Museum, with the difference that Burney's skull has much more details on the eyes and teeth, as well as having a detached jaw (which makes it unique from the other skulls.)