I would have stayed inside all day despite the autumn glory if I wasn’t looking after this unusual dog. Thankfully he got me out a fair few times. He’s pretty much completely silent, but for the occasional excited yelp. When he wants something, he just has a way of looking at you. Most of the time he sat in his basket and observed me as I was working. He occasionally suffered me to come and play with him. Mostly he just got on with the business of being a dog, and I got on with the business of listing tut on eBay.
I have my lightbox set up on Melody’s table, so when I decide something is for eBay I can photograph and list it. But for every item there’s a strenuous identification process. I find it interesting and quite fun – but something of a rollercoaster: “This figurine is Lladro! It might have value! Ah it’s Lladro Nao. That’s the cheap stuff. Oh well it’s strangely attractive. Maybe I’ll keep it … Oh but wait a second, actually Nao is now worth a little bit anyway” etc etc.
I have to make sure I don’t keep loads. As a general rule I’m trying to only keep things I remember fondly and that aren’t worth much.
We’ve started to sort the things we inherited from our grandparents, Max and myself. We are gradually archeologising their lives. This involves lots of memories of very different times – ancient times almost, buried in the weight of years.
Today the system was reasonably effective. I spent time with each item trying to get a positive ID online and then trying to see how much people had paid for similar in the past. The stuff I was doing had already been sorted by Max and I once. My job was to move things on. I ended up with 4 sections. One was stuff I wanted to keep. One was stuff good enough to bring on the next Tennants run. One was attractive stuff for charity shops with no hard value. One was Ebay. Anything I reckoned I could get more than a few bob for.
Thank God I had the doggie to chase me out to the lake every few hours, or I’d have eaten my own hands. My head and my conversation and my blog – they’re all full of identification of objects. I’m getting better and better.
I can’t do glass yet and I’m strangely bored by silver but improving. I enjoy porcelain and oddities and toys and ephemera. I can’t do furniture for shit, but everybody has to have a weakness. I’m not much good on jewellery. I rubbed two “pearls” together and got paint instead of powder. They were painted glass. I ran a plastic fish under the hot tap and sniffed it for ages. It might still be bakelite, but since I’ve never actually smelt bakelite, all I have to go on is that it “smells like formaldehyde when warm”. It’s not bakelite.
I’m buoyed up by surges of optimism, not daunted by the probability that half the stuff I listed on eBay today won’t sell, expecting to find lovely things, weird things or things that will help pay the service charge.
It’s a good headspace, honouring the memory and reconfiguring the possessions of people long gone that have just lain in boxes for decades.
Oh and there’s a fifth pile. Furniture. I’m taking some of that to Lot’s Road tomorrow just to get rid of it as they’ll know enough about it to flog it and it’s incomprehensible and takes up loads of room.
Here’s a weird 1960’s aluminium mask. It comes with 2 cotton filters. I put it on eBay for £1.99… The claim “Workers Enjoy Wearing Them” tickled my funny bone. Any billionaire friends, feel free to get into a bidding war. 🙂