It's Labor Day in the U.S., a day when we celebrate those who work by the sweat of their brows, those who have no one to delegate the menial tasks to, those who will never be tycoons. Drudges and dogsbodies.*
For the past few days I've been focused on my proletarian work as shopkeeper and steward of the Household Collectibles. There's a box of stuff in my studio that's been glaring at me for about a year -- stuff that I passed over on previous spurts of sales energy. Orphans.
So, after photographing, photoshopping, uploading, describing, posting, I now have 12 (only 12?) odd unlovables queued up at Ebay for auctions starting September 16. My 1995 StarTac cell phone (complete with manual!)... a 1939 Autobridge game board for learning to play contract bridge (complete with original box!)... an 1885 autograph letter signed from Mr. Thiselton-Dyer (remember him? Director of the Royal Gardens at Kew?)... a flask disguised as a 1940s-style Kodak folding camera... an 1870s photo album cracked wide open at the spine... and more!
Terrible thought: What if the whole shebang doesn't net me as much as $100?
Worse: having them not sell at all so that I can't boot them out of their orphan limbo.
If they sell for pocket change, at least I can say I'm doing service... right? Saving once-loved items from certain future decay in a moldering landfill if they are still capable of giving someone a little thrill?
Saturday I focused on a different group of items: Jim's collection of 19th century books on public health. In his heyday of collecting them, Jim lovingly and diligently created an index card for each book, with little notes on the subject and author as he found them. My job was to transcribe these into a list to show to booksellers who may want to buy the lot of them. It took me the day. Nearly 7 pages single-spaced. Done! Ready for the next stage of finding that special buyer.
I'm going to enjoy my Labor Day!
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dogsbody: a worker who has to do all the unpleasant or boring jobs that no one else wants to do