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Saturday, 2.12.05: Week in Review

Saturday.  Auctions ending. The junk I put up for auction (e.g. a 1937 National Geographic reprint on the history of the telephone) sold for what is was worth. The marketplace is cruel. Got the rest of my "place" postcards listed in our shop (Oregon to Yellowstone) and spent a long time researching 2 32-inch long views of Duluth, Minnesota from 1910, till I had enough info to get them up for auction. Lots of time researching Tom's airplane photo.

Sunday. Got notice that "The Valentine 1955" radio version was licensed for broadcast at a station in Angeles, Philippines. Global girl. The weather is in the 40s so the snow is melting. There was still at least a foot of snow on our shady deck, including on our glass tabletop. I put my shovel to work. This was my breather from the bottomless shelf work in our bedroom. I was sweating out the sale of a 1863 set of penmanship samples by Platt R. Spencer, the inventor of Spencerian script. It looked like it was stuck at $0.99. Saturday night it crept up to $26. Then in the final moments it closed at $213! That was a great energizer.

Monday. Dealing with comic books.

Tuesday. I'm not happy with the results of experimenting with Tom's postcards. Some fine little things of his and mine (old stereo views) went to bidders for next to nothing.

Wednesday. Oh, crap, the Spencerian script sampler got damaged during shipping -- just the corner of the mat, but I felt terrible. I immediately refunded the guy's shipping cost ($12) and offered to take the item back, but he was okay with it. I'm a customer service freak and don't want anyone to think it's a risk buying from me. I've been a student of quality for too long: it is the customer who defines quality, not your own perception of what you're peddling. There are a lot of ebay sellers who give you long lists of requirements for buying from them and clearly they've been burned by idiots. But life is too short not to be gracious.

Digging into a stack of novels -- editions that were printed in conjunction with silent movie releases of the 1910s and 1920s -- Ramon Novarro's Ben-Hur, Mary Pickford's Poor Little Rich Girl, Penrod and Sam, etc. In those days they were referred to as "Photo-Play Editions" but using that word on an ebay search doesn't bring up anything. I play it safe -- put one up for auction (with a link to my store); put the rest in my store for a fixed price. If the auction item sells well, I'll leak the rest of the store items out to auction.

Thursday. I'm using a similar strategy for the 1950s 3-D comic books. Put 25 in my store at fixed prices, put one out for auction to see what happens in the open market. Low risk, low visibility, low gamesmanship vs. high risk, better visibility, high gamesmanship. Stayed up past midnight to get this done. I'm my own slavemaster.

Friday. My target is to have some auctions posted for the busy weekend period. Going on the block:

Crap: a little battery-operated plastic scuba diver Jim bought as a gag gift, which never got given.

Not worth it: Half dozen books of stereograms -- an early 90's fad (you know, where you stare into a picture till the hidden image pops out in 3-D). My research told me there are a zillion of them out there, so (because they were new enough to have ISBN codes on the cover) I put them for sale on

Unique: a salesman's kit for 1952 Hudsons, which includes a battery-operated viewer (like a Viewmaster with its own internal light) and 30 3-D glass slides, all in a customized case. Spent a lot of time polishing this up and testing the viewer to see if the electrical parts still work.

Calling all stamp collectors and anglophiles: Jim had a binder of first-day covers (FDCs -- illustrated envelopes, with stamps and postmarks celebrating the new issue of a stamp), which he bought as a ready-made collection that struck him as neat.  I sorted them into 3 lots: Queen Elizabeth's Coronation in 1953 (postmarks from very exotic British colonies); Elizabeth's "Royal Visit" celebrating her tour of her kingdom; and assorted FDCs from very far-flung colonies. I'm in love with the exotic stamps from places in the south Pacific and Africa whose names have disappeared from the maps.

Pretty busy week. Highs and lows.

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Forsyte Saga (2002). We finished the first series. Oh, it's wonderful!


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