Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is it worth more than its value?

I love watching the “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS. I am always amazed at the doo-dads or goo-gaws that have been gathering dust in someone’s attic until they decide to bring them to a taping of the show and have them appraised. The appraiser usually asks something like, “Where did you find this grungy piece of chipped china?”

The guest usually responds along the lines, “My great Aunt Martha bought it at an Estate sale for the former butler to President Lincoln’s personal secretary’s gardener.”

The appraiser then asks, “How much did she pay for it?”

“Oh not much, I think she told me she bought it and a set of tea towels for a dollar. She really wanted the tea towels, but this piece of china was an impulse purchase.”

“Well, I have good news for you.” The appraiser responds, “This is a genuine china cup, from china. It dates back to a long time ago and if it were to come to auction today, I expect it would sell for a king’s ransom.”
At which the guest usually responds with “Oh heavenly days”, or “Holy Mackerel” or some other PBS appropriate exclamation of great excitement.

I wish I had a goo-gaw like that hanging around my attic. I have been up there and it is empty. Even if I did find something I thought was valuable the appraiser would tell me, “This is known as a faux china cup. It’s not worth the clay it is made from.”

That is my luck. To hold on to something because someday it might be valuable, only to find out it has no value and even worse, worthless.

When my grandfather died, I held on to some of his things; a harmonica, a doorknob, and a pair of tin shears.
Grampa played the harmonica and now Eldest plays a little bit too. Of the three items, the harmonica probably is worth the least, but to me it has immense value. I think of Grampa when Eldest plays it and it reminds me of how important family was to Grampa and how important it is to me.

When I took that clearance doorknob, I thought that it might come in handy someday. I think Grampa thought the same thing when he purchased it from Sears. It appeared to be at least ten years old and was still in the box. I could almost hear him say, “I might need a new doorknob someday.” And I thought the same thing. The key being someday, since Beloved and I were living in our first apartment and had no immediate plans to buy a house. I gave that doorknob away, to a family member who actually needed a doorknob. Even after he passed on, Grampa still looked out for family.

Lastly, those tin shears. I love the word shears. I think the only person I have ever heard use the word shears was Grampa. At home we had scissors, not Grampa, he had paper shears. They looked exactly like the scissors we had at home, but they were special—they were shears. Grampa worked for a company that made dentist chairs. He used those shears at work to cut metal to be formed into the outer skin of those chairs and the pedestal that supported the light. It is interesting that Middlest wants to be a dentist. She must have gotten her love of dentistry from her Great-Grampa.

After we bought a house, I was replacing some metal flashing around our front door. I completely forgot about Grampa’s tin shears. When I bought the flashing, I also purchased a pair of gee-wiz-rubber-handled-state of the art tin snips. Those things were worthless! After cutting myself trying to trim the flashing, I had a flash of inspiration and remembered the tin shears. At almost 15 inches long, weighing in at close to a bazillion pounds, these bad boys could scare sheet metal into submission. I brought them out and within a few moments had the flashing in shear terror.

Yep, none of those things may have been particularly valuable, but their worth was immeasurable.

1 comment:

  1. By the way, that is a 15 inch ruler. Why 15 inches? I don't know, but it was the same price as a 12 inch ruler. So it was such a value!