Saturday, February 17, 2007

Postcards From the Past

Twenty years ago I bought someone's collection of postcards. An older couple was retiring and moving away, and they held a garage sale. My son and I were big on garage sales at the time (I still am, but he's not eight years old anymore), and we did well at that one. He bought their collection of minerals, all labeled and neatly displayed, and I bought their collection of postcards.

Were I a natural-born collector like my son, I would have taken care of the postcards with an eye toward the future. But as usual, my eye was more likely to be on the past or on something cooking on the stove than profits 20 years hence. The postcards remained loosely in their box for a long time, getting moved around from room to room for various reasons. They were covered, at least, which was most fortunate in this dustiest of old houses (or at least it was that way before the remodel). But the worst part was that I used quite a few of them for correspondence. No, it was even worse than that. You see, I chose the silliest, or most boring, or least attractive postcards to mail, just out of mischievous fun.

It was fun indeed, but I had no idea that the rarest, most valuable postcards are often the silliest and least attractive. I can only hope that a good percentage of those I mailed off were the sort that collectors would find boring as well.

Anyway, I paid $5 for the collection. I began selling them individually last week, and I can see that this is going to be even more fun than mailing them. I sold six of them for a total of $33.

I wonder what the minerals are worth?


Anonymous said...

Could be that some of the recipients held on to theirs.

In fact, may still have them.

In fact, were you to indicate that you might be interested in their return, you might achieve that end.

You don't ask - you don't get.

ole joyful (from Gardenweb)

Susan said...

It's funny, OJ--I knew it was you before I saw the signature. You have a distinctive voice. Interesting suggestion, thanks! And nice to see you here.

Indigo Bunting said...

That is a fabulous postcard. I know some collage artists who love old postcards...but to cut up for their own work, of course.

Jenny Hill said...

A student's grandmother bought me a book called "Boring Postcards" this past summer. It was the most delightful romp through bad hotels, sad state park entrances and empty restaurant parking lots, ever.

Going through someone's old postcards must be like peering into a life of correspondence and travel. H. has some old photographs that came from a garage sale. We know from them that the family cat had kittens, and that's all they focused on for months! Cats, cats, cats. H. loves those photos.

crystal said...

You're so good at selling stuff, Susan. I still haven't really figured out ebay. I like postcards too. Jana always brings me one when she visits somewhere, and right now I have a really nice one of the wine country.

Susan said...

Thanks, Crystal, but you haven't seen my Items That Didn't Sell file. :-)

crystal said...

Speaking of items that didn't sell, Jana and I bought lots of flowery paper and pretty cards for the gift baskets for valentine's day, and only sold three. I can see why so many businesses give up.