Attic Ephemera

            “That was a great column on Monday.  I never thought of giving you photographs, Uncle Blogsy!”

            I was actually kind of hoping you wouldn’t, bananas foster fruitcake.

            “What other stuff would you take?  There’s lots of miscellaneous material in my attic.”

            Kinda figured.  Well, the miscellaneous section of a reference book is often the most fun, and the miscellaneous things in the attic can be the same way.  Now, take roadmaps….

            “I won’t, but I hope you will.”

             If you’re going to talk that way, you can go get your own blog.  The Library collects old roadmaps, and so do a lot of people, for their design, what they tell you about the ways Montana wanted to present itself in 1954 as opposed to 2012, and even to locate towns that don’t exist any more.  Postcards do much of the same thing.

            “All the postcards in the attic are ones that were mailed.  Do collectors want those, or do they just want the pristine unmailed ones?”

             It depends on the collector.  Back-of-the-postcard literature is having a kind fo Renaissance, since it’s the sort of message you now find only on Twitter.  And some people are after the stamps, of course.

           “How about grandpa’s stamp collection?  He only kept it up for a year, and then just stuck stamps inside the back cover for a couple of years.”

           I sell those on eBay, where people are willing to buy them on the chance that Grandpa managed to get the one stamp they were looking for.  I’d be willing to take his coin collection books, too.

          “I bet you would, Uncle Blogsy.  And any old fifty dollar bills he put up in the attic.”

          Not to mention those old stock certificates he left lying around.

          “I think all those companies went out of business.”

           It doesn’t matter.  They’re often pretty enough to justify framing, and they come with stamps, too.  Those non-postage stamps can command a premium today because nobody much bothered to collect them at the time.  If your grandparents packed things in old wine cases or beer boxes, there may be a tax stamp somewhere that could turn into eBay gold.

           “I don’t think they stored much in beer boxes.  There are cigar boxes.  Grandma kept her paper dolls in one.”

           Oh, very nice.  Collectors like cigar boxes (and cigar bands, which used to be a popular thing for kids to collect back when everybody was still smoking.  For that matter, old paper dolls have their fan base, too, though these are actually more valuable if they haven’t been cut out.  I can certainly sell the 20th century ones online, and the Newberry would probably like any 19th century paper dolls you have lying around.  We’d armwrestle the Art Institute for any 18th century ones you’ve got.

           “Grandma wasn’t quite that old.  How about her Frankie Avalon scrapbooks?”

           You have no business having a grandmother that young.  Scrapbooks have their market, though that varies with what’s inside it.  If she saved old Valentines or Christmas cards or baseball cards with Willie Mays or Honus Wagner on them….

            “You’re dreaming, Uncle Blogsy.  I sold Grandpa’s baseball cards years ago.  By the way, what’s to prevent me, now that I have your advice, from selling all these things on eBay myself?”

            I wouldn’t lay a straw in your way.  You mean you would NOT expect me to send a volunteer to climb that rickety ladder into the attic and pack up the cigar boxes and dusty old shoeboxes full of ration stamps and paper dolls and Dixie Cup tops and newspaper clippings?

           “You make it sound like work, Uncle Blogsy.”

           I was just thinking about having to work around all the bats in your belfry, agave cupcake.

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