“Dear Sotheby’s. I have a huge collection of antique porcelain. Almost all of it is broken. Much of it is smoke damaged as well. Here are some rushed photographs. Can you send someone over to work out if anything is worth selling?”
“No. Go away.”
“Dear Christie’s, hello. I’ve got all this lovely Meissen porcelain. Some bits by other major houses as well. It’s all beautiful although I should mention that it was in a catastrophic fire, and then it was thrown haphazardly and half wrapped into boxes that were then chucked around. It’s often hideously disfigured, some pieces are missing their heads, all are missing something. Many still look almost pleasant despite this. Perhaps you could send someone round to… Hello? …”
“Hi, Bonham’s… So this is the situation…” *click*
Meanwhile eBay sits there in the corner smirking. “I always knew he’d come back to me in the end.”
It seems my mangled collection of Frankenstein’s Meissen is not gaining the traction I’d hoped among the great and the good, mostly because I open the conversation with how fucked it is. And just as I send my last fruitless cry in the dark by email trying to get an expert to show up at my house in Chelsea and just say “that one and that one, the rest is shit,” the speculative “not as fucked as some of the other Meissens” Meissen goes ping in my pocket as someone bids the minimum, which is still a sum of money. It’s only dealers bidding for it right now and I can’t work out why it’s so low on the eBay search list. Apart from the fact I forgot to put the word “figurine” in the title. I put the word “damaged” in the title and even with that there my little trinket seller comes in at number 14 for “damaged meissen” which NOBODY IS EVER GOING TO SEARCH FOR anyway. He is a smug looking bastard, my trinket seller. He clearly knows more about selling trinkets than I do. He’s probably buying himself cheap on eBay so he can fix himself and then walk down the red carpet at Sotheby’s and sell himself and the carpet for five times as much as I get.
It’s all about presentation, of course. I approached all three of the auction places saying “This stuff is fucked.” That’s true. But they’re probably used to people saying “This stuff is great!” cos it was grandma’s pride and joy. It’s a useful reflection though. I often present myself on the same terms, leading with the flaws. Like I put “damaged” in the title and forgot “figurine”. “Hey there, dating site, I’m damaged goods.”
It’ll make someone happy though, and that’s the purpose of this repurposing work. But for a glorious moment I thought I’d be able to afford to get a pony and teach it how to fly like I’ve always wanted. As it is I’ll still get some money for nothing and then as like as not someone in the postal service will chuck weights on top of it and I’ll have to refund it anyway.
Well, there are other ways to get rich, Rodney. Like acting. Ha ha ha ha ha haaaargh. I’m auditioning tomorrow and Thursday for two fun things that will give me more pleasure and pay me more than googling Porcelain marks until my eyes bleed and scrubbing smoke stains until my fingers dissolve.
Here’s the link, in case clicks mean bumps. Or in case one of you collects Meissen. Because talk it down or not I’ve got a stack of it coming up some of it is glorious, and even if some of it is damaged, it’s good entry level stuff, and not my bag.