Metro-East News

Wally Spiers: Will package purchase at auction contain a hidden treasure?

Sometimes people buy boxes of miscellaneous items at auctions because they have scouted ahead and know there are valuable items hidden inside.

Not me. It’s always because I am standing there, watching, and for some totally illogical reason raise my hand when no one else will.

Take last week for example. I was watching as stuff flew off the tables at an auction. There was a pretty tea cup and saucer that no one would jump on. Lord knows we don’t need another item of glassware, so I wasn’t even going to pay the dollar the auctioneer was down to asking.

Then the helper started adding stuff. I still wasn’t tempted by the small box of camera equipment they added, particularly since I couldn’t tell what was in there. I also didn’t want the ceiling light fixture, still in the box, that was added nor the ceramic nativity set with quite a few pieces nor the three bottles of Heet gasoline additive.

If nothing else, I didn’t want to have to pack all that stuff up and carry it out. But the whole thing was starting to get sort of ridiculous and I was feeling sorry for the auctioneer, so when they threw in the white ceramic goose cookie jar, I bid a dollar.

Usually that sort of pottery will at least draw another bid, but unfortunately, not this time.

After I got all my stuff home, it was time to sort through it all and hope for treasures, or at least interesting items.

The camera box was by Olympus but it didn’t have an Olympus camera in it. It had the software for the Olympus system, a map of all the earthquake zones around the world, and several cables of various kinds. In addition, there was a protective lens for a 35mm camera, a couple of rows of ½-inch staples with raised tops, a box of 12 pieces of pool cue chalk, the instruction book for a Samsung phone and a Panasonic DMC-TZ3 Lumix point-and-shoot camera.

The camera was dead but it came with a battery charger, so I plugged it in. Later I was able to look at some of the pictures on the photo card, which was still in the camera. The photos explained the stack of receipts that were in the box, apparently in Japanese, stapled together, from Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and more.

There were hundreds of pictures on the card, ranging from what looked like Japanese tourist sites, to a bunch of military veteran organization photos, to the pyramids of Egypt. Often these kind of things that you find are anonymous, but a few of the photos showed an individual who had on a name tag, so I was able to look him up and find out more about him in recent online obituaries.

I don’t know if the photo card was overlooked in the efforts to get the estate to auction or if no one wanted it, but it seemed like something the family might want, so I am sending it to a relative I found listed on the Internet.

I also picked up other disappointing and useless kind of stuff you get when buying large groups of items at an auction. I have 10 large boxed sets of vinyl record albums. A typical one is “Serenade for Lovers.” This is romantic mood music, by some string section, produced by Reader’s Digest.

There are 10 albums per box. If you should need any awkwardly large, extremely heavy paperweights let me know.

Meanwhile, my auction addiction continues unabated.

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