Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/39

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19
STOCKING A MENAGERIE

be any addition thereto, and consequently the advertising men have been tempted to regard this as a field which does not invite a display of their special talents.

I know of one showman who paid $10,000 for a hippopotamus. This figure would have been as effective for advertising purposes as twice that amount—and yet I do not recall that this price was made much of in the advertising put out by the proprietor. At the time I went into the great New York Aquarium enterprise I remember having one day figured up the amount which I had paid Reiche Brothers, then the leading animal dealers of the world. It reached the neat sum of half a million dollars. This, however, was but a fraction of the fortune I had been called upon to invest in wild animals. Besides buying from other dealers, I had been interested in several independent animal hunting expeditions to Africa. This was a tremendously expensive experience, and led me to a willingness to pay the very large profits demanded by the established animal houses rather than attempt to go into the forests and jungles with my own expeditions. These houses were able to employ educated Germans who delighted in the adventure, and they saved us time, anxiety and money.