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03 February 2007

Finding My Curious Niche

All I want to do in this post is to make a few remarks about objects and their market value. Maybe say something about MY market values.

Everyone recognizes some objects as rare and valuable. There exists a ready market and high value for a few (rare or not) found objects. And then there are the objects that are rare yet obscure, curious or marginal to our contemporary life (appropriate for a window display but of little market value).

I will be selfish in this post, or a bit self-centred, in only looking at some of my own immediate interests. Because I do not know much of what the pro's know in these rare book circles I hear so much about; nor am I much of an adept in the pop culture or mass entertainment media surrounding us in North America -- so I'd say my own focus is there at the end, toward the obscure, the curious and the marginal.

Know Thyself

Some people are trend-setters and have the charisma to exercise great influence on the people they meet, even casually. I would be curious to know whether such a one as this has the Midas Touch - whether the curios and various tools and utensils they collect would fetch premium prices on, say, e-Bay. I would bet not. I would bet that we would find that tens of thousands of offers just like Mister & Miss's are out there driving prices down.

If your tastes run in the common groove of the millions then you should know it and take advantage of it.

Some people are educators. They want to teach people about the connections they have discovered between art and artifacts, history and institutions, demography and language - whatever. If they hold out a 'found' object for you to regard, they can then begin to tell you a long story about it.

But it is the telling that has value, not, intrinsically, the object they are holding up for view.

If you are one of these educators, I hope you find an audience and a good venue for a multimedia presentation. Or start a blog.

There are the artists. Interesting, for example, that Picasso collected objects about him in his studio as if he were stocking a prop room for the Metropolitan Opera. But artists should create, should give added esthetic value to found objects. The market for what they create is not my focus.

If you are an artist, go for it.

So, apart from dull gray men and women, and the domesticated ones as they raise a brood, or the cultivators, sailors and other adventurers (or a few brilliant mathematicians here and there) -- all we are left with is a group of merchants trying to market objects, viz: collectable found objects. Earning a living at it.

Know thyself (remember?)

Well marketing ain't enough for me. I want to work surrounded by ALL of the people I described above. And I think I have a magic formula to find MY groove. I want to have a bookstall like the ones I've heard exist on a quai by the Seine in Paris. (I don't know how I missed visiting them on my trip to Europe!)

Like the stands (kiosks) at the Old Port of Montreal down along our quai (docks). I'd like a space where all sorts of locals would hang out comfortably and maybe perform (I know a clown) for small knots of curious tourists.

One advantage of such places is that they offer ample space for displays of antiques, curios found artifacts alongside the wares on sale. A disadvantage, apart from inclement weather, would be for when I need peace and quiet - far from the maddening masses and that madhouse of marginals out begging from and pandering to all those bemused crowds.

I'll look into it. Maybe I'll join the mad men.

It takes one to know one.

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