Among my childhood treasures, it was perhaps the crown jewel: an English-made, all-metal, Corgi toy car.
A red MGB-GT, since you ask.
Its detail gave it that elevated status: working suspension, rubber tires on wire-spoked wheels, fold-down seats - even a tiny suitcase (that opened!) beneath the car's well-hinged hatchback.
For years I stored it wrapped in a sock inside a shoebox with some other Corgis. First in my parents' attic, then in my own.
The MG has its own high value to me. But I also now know it could fetch at least $20 in that sterile souk called the Internet. I've tracked the toy down on eBay and watched bidding wars. (Even on badly chipped-up versions.)
It's interesting to know the market value of such hard-to-part-with items. On a practical level that kind of price check - and that access to consumers - can also make it easier to divest oneself of the baubles and space-takers that have lost their appeal.
We're talking big business online. A soon-to-launch online newsletter called eTreasures will exist solely to tell the stories of "amazing" online transactions.
Of course, some consumers still favor serendipity over search engines. And some sellers, too, prefer the ambiance, bargaining, and face to face of yard sales.
Today's lead story tells how best to move merchandise in this Old-Economy way, as well.
Rather just give it all away?
That practice has its own rewards. And challenges (see page 16): A glut of stuff has forced many consignment shops to raise their thresholds for the quality of goods they take. That means more trickledown for pure charities.
And you still get to clean out.
*Work & Money next runs June 5, after a Memorial Day hiatus. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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