Sunday, 3 October 2010

For what it's worth

Ro and Dora came over this afternoon and stayed for dinner, which was a pleasure as we haven't seen them for a few weeks - Dora's car was out of action and they've been pretty busy at weekends.  Ro stroked my Wire DVDs lovingly and with an air of longing.  I finally got around to watching the first episode tonight (I've been busy too) - I've a feeling this is how I'm going to spend an hour of most evenings for the next couple of months.  Splendid to see it again.

I was going to tell you about the swan.  It belonged to a man who had a collection of Lowestoft china - he was a retired antiques dealer.  His daughter loved the china and he told her he had left it to her in his will.  Of course, he'd left his possessions fairly distributed between his family members.  However, towards the end of his life he needed nursing care and, to raise money, his family decided to sell off some items - the sons, having no interest in the china but knowing it was valuable, decided to sell some of it.  His daughter knew it was left to her, but could hardly say so; her brothers were unaware of that.

Years later, the cygnet that had belonged to the old man came up for auction again.  His son-on-law bought it back for his wife, so it could be returned where it belonged.  He died too, only a year later, so she particularly treasured it for the rest of her life - what it was worth to her had little to do with money.  She died in her turn a few years ago, and now her sons have decided to sell it - they like it, but are nervous of it being damaged, and so it's been kept packed away.

As for its value - well, what's anything worth?  Is the work of a footballer worth more than the prime minister or the postman?  If you buy anything that's purely ornamental, you acknowledge that it has a value.  And it's worth what someone is willing to pay for it - which may take into account how much it cost to make.  But the swan is a modest little item from a provincial factory - it's not on a par with Chelsea or Meissen.

The most valuable item in this room, as far as I'm concerned, is the little box, a 1/8 scale model of an antique oak coffer that my husband made for me.  It took him many hours and was done with love and considerable care and skill.  Its monetary value is negligible, but that doesn't matter, as it'll never be for sale, not in my lifetime.  It didn't cost a lot to make unless you include his time.  Which he gave.


Roses said...

I've been writing this comment for the past few minutes.

I'm not a fan of nik naks, but I do see why people like them. I am a fan of boxes. I have an old cigar box from my grandmother which I love to bits. And no, I wouldn't sell that either.

Though goodnes knows what Boy is going to do with all the crap I've collected when I drop dead. He certainly won't thank me for having to wade through it all.

Dave said...

Oddly, a couple of days ago I was thinking about writing a list, for the benefit of my kids, of which of my items of junk actually have some value (mainly historic value rather than monetary - my 18th century first editions of Charles Wesley's work for instance) as I anticipate most of it will go in the bin (or to charity shops) after my death.

Anonymous said...

There is an all out tube strike on and the rain is pelting down in bullets. For what it's worth, this Monday morning is booked as a duvet/sofa day and I couldn't be happier!


Pat said...

Yes there are some things of little monetary value which are priceless to us.
BTW I wish old people would keep quiet about their blessed wills. It can cause so much trouble and disappointment and often is done as a carrot which more often then not fails to materialise after they've popped their clogs.

Z said...

I don't go in for ornaments myself, Roses. The Sage is a collector - it's a compulsion. He doesn't feel right unless he's got something to look out for. I don't begin to understand it. If I saw and bought one attractive object, it wouldn't make me want another one.

The worst, Pat, is when someone tries to use their will as some sort of threat to try to keep their relatives in line! In the case I mentioned, at that time the china wouldn't have been worth that much - Lowestoft wasn't highly rated on the whole, though interesting shapes and inscribed pieces have always been valued - it was portable and convenient to sell and the brothers didn't rate it - certainly it wasn't intended to do their sister out of anything!

Priceless indeed, Anon, I hope you're having a good day. I'd not mind snuggling up under a duvet with a clutch of films to watch and books to read today.

Rog said...

Pat's quite right about wills.

Which reminds me...

My Mum's been going on about me getting rid of the bits and bobs in her garage for months. An old ironing board, a bedhead, a drain cover etc

It's a bit awkward now the local tip only opens at weekends but I promised her I'd get it sorted soon.

"Why are you so keen to get your garage clear anyway?", I asked yesterday.

"I'm not worried for myself. It's just that if I kick the bucket I don't want you to have all the hassle of emptying out the garage".

I didn't know what to say.

Madame DeFarge said...

I adore my knick knacks and my favourite ones cost nothing, but remind me of my family or special events or places. They are worth an infinite amount to me.

Z said...

Rog, your mother has a logic all of her own.

Madame DeF, that's what matters. I'm the same.