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Friday, 1.7.05: Priceless Throwaways, cont'd

It's been a week now that I've been stoking the ebay furnace. The machinery is starting to hum: My store is open. I plowed my way through the posting process for 67 old postcards: 8 being auctioned and the rest in Buy It Now status for $2 each.

I am amazed: I have buyers! Fixed price store content doesn't come up in ordinary ebay searches. People have to be really poking around or really hellbent to find the stuff. I was so thrilled when I sold the first $2 item that you'd thing I'd won the lottery. It's not so much the money, but being found. And having someone else appreciate a worn piece of cardboard that you couldn't bring yourself to throw away. Someone who goes by the handle "luvinbeaniebabies" bought 9 more and has bids on some of the auctions.

That's where Jim comes in and says, "Oh, you're probably selling them too cheaply. I've seen those old postcards in shops with high prices on them." But we both know the truth: seeing something for sale at a high price doesn't mean it ever sells. And the post card collector's price guide doesn't rate any of these cards as desirable. They are the plain, ordinary slightly damaged children of the orphanage who watch with sad eyes while the pretty children with perfect smiles get adopted immediately.

Oh, isn't it pathetic when I start thinking about a 1912 penny-postcard like an orphan child?

I tell myself this. I tell myself to quit dawdling over these old cards and photos. I actually took a stack of "instant ancestors" and stuffed them down into the trash. But Jim rescued them. "Someone will want these." He's even more of a sentimentalist than I am.

Anyway, I finally had enough of posting postcards and have started getting auctions up of items I hope will be a bit more lucrative, mostly 19th-century photographs. I'm getting into the flow, but it still isn't fast work. Each photo needs to be studied and researched. Maybe it's not such a bad thing to be forced to slow down, to stare at details, and to ponder the origins and motivations of old photo, to place yourself back in time.