Finding value or folly in the collection of old things

Random Musings from the Keyboard

A business friend likes to use the word “monetize” in just about every conversation he’s involved in. For someone not in the financial industry, money is constantly on his mind even though if he withdraws all the money he has in his bank account he might be able to fill a kids standard piggy bank. You would have to use nickels, dimes and quarters still in their rolls to take up more space.

At a recent car show in downtown Brandon, he saw what is now a semi-antique automobile for sale with an asking price of around $35,000. He recalls a family member buying one back in the day brand new for about $4,000.

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“Just think,” he said, “if he kept the car and took care of it, he could have made a small fortune.”

At that moment, we happened to bump into one of the guys from the poker table - the resident philosopher and know-it-all. That’s why we nicknamed him Cliff, after the barfly on Cheers. If you don’t know what that means, watch an episode or three.

With the exception of investments, “very few people buy something thinking that it’s value will increase over time, especially cars,” he said.

As Cliff put it, think of the memories, the fun times that were probably had in that car. A few of you might recall going to a drive-in with your favorite person of the day and not necessarily having your eyes focused on the screen. Or perhaps you may recall checking out the backseat while parked in a secluded spot.

How do you put a dollar value on those memories?

Speaking of old things, when we see an older model auto on the road, some of us look at it and think “a classic.” Yet when we see an older person in front of us at the grocery store, some think, “Not again. Hope the geezer doesn’t take forever rummaging through his change for the exact amount.”

Some readers might remember buying a pack of sports cards for a nickel or a dime and then showing and trading them with friends for your favorite players.

Did you think of putting them away and treating the cards as an investment? Of course not. You chewed the gum and played with the cards. Some of those cards were even used as noisemakers by putting them on the spokes of a bicycle using one or two of mom's clothes pins; without her knowledge, of course.

Would keeping the gum with the card make it more valuable?

With the recycling of comic book heroes into movie stars, those comic books that we over-50 types used to read could be worth a small or large fortune, depending on who the hero is and the shape of the comic.

There are experts who grade comic books, sports cards and other paraphernalia. I’m not sure if there’s a college course for this.

As (vinyl record collectors) are fond of saying, “that’s music” compared to some of the moaning and groaning heard on the airwaves.

Not all things old are wanted by collectors or increase in value. So kids, don’t try to sell grandma and grandpa. The stories they can tell you about your parents are priceless (and helpful when it comes to negotiating with the folks about a raise in allowance or a later curfew). Mom and Dad might even give you some money for not listening to those stories, at least while they’re around.

A lot of people have something old that they treasure. For some, it could be their partner. They grew old together and not only know about the skeletons in the closet, but were there when the closet was built.

For some it’s a favorite pen. If you’re over 40, you might remember actually carrying a pen with you. There’s also the favorite chair that very few – if anyone – is allowed to sit on.

Others treasure their music collection like vinyl records of artists you rarely hear of today. As they are fond of saying, “that’s music” compared to some of the moaning and groaning heard on the airwaves.

Here’s an idea; buy two of everything if you can afford it. Put the second item in storage in the original wrapping with the bill of sale. Look at it as an investment. Maybe in 40 years or so, it might appreciate in value or you may be just stuck with it.

Finding some old things may not be pleasant. An example would be that container in the back of the fridge that has a green, fuzzy appearance making it difficult to recognize what it was when placed there.

Or finding that unpaid ticket in the back of a desk drawer.

Thought for the week:

Have those back to school ads brought back memories?

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