Friday, November 23, 2007

And While We're on the Subject...

...of vintage photos. I have been thinking on all these lovely old photos and was put in mind of R and my first real triumph when it comes to buying and selling the past.

It was 2004, we were broke, and very new to the idea of buying and selling stuff. In our favourite junk shop we came across a beautiful photo album. We both loved it instantly, the album itself was in reasonable condition but it was full of the most wonderful albumen print photos, mainly 10" x 8", of a tour around the world taking in the Middle East, Ceylon, New Zealand and Canada as well as what might have been parts of South America. The shopkeeper said £50. We had not much more than that in the bank. We demured. But we kept talking about it and eventually I went back on a stormy day with a friend, again I browsed the album and again I really wanted it. I spoke to the shopkeeper again and, surprise, since I had last looked at it, he'd had a chance to have a look too and decided it was wrongly priced so he'd marked it up at £100 now: but since I had been told £50 originally, if I wanted it then I could have it for £60!

I got as far as getting back in the car with said friend and sitting with the rain pelting on the roof while she convinced me that if I wanted it that badly I should go and get it and blow the expense. So I did. Raced home, shared the joy with R. And we really did love it. There were a couple of wonderful Zangaki Brothers photos of Cairo which we both liked much more than any of the ones which would later be highlighted. It took a real effort of will to decide to sell it. We had no idea if we had paid a good price or not.

I took it to Dominic Winter's auction house, then still based in Swindon... It was a horrible drive only alleviated by the fact that he valued it at £300-400 and that it was illustrated with three photos in the catalogue and sold eventually for something over £600. Neither R nor I could be at the auction house on the day of the sale which remains a real regret even today. Our first real trading sucess.

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