Tuesday, 6 December 2011

One Man's Junk is Another's Old Master

The start of the teeny tiny business experiment in sourcing, restoring and selling vintage jewellery is going swimingly and fits nicely with my ethos of recycling. Learning about where pieces originate from, how to work out what they're made of using  the contents of my wooden box of poisons, marked alarmingly with a skull and crossbones,  and finding out about the history of some of the things that come my way is fascinating. And of course I'm getting a buzz out of making some money.  All being well I'm planning to give up working in the NHS one day a week at the start of the next financial year but top up my income sufficiently to maintain the hefty mortgage overpayments.  In the long term I'm hoping that this activity could provide an income source into well into my retirement years.

Now I bought a charm bracelet the other day.  The one above  in fact.  When I got it, it was as mucky as mucky can be.  So I gave it a whizz round in my tumble polisher filled with steel shot and soapy water.  It seems to do the trick for most things - except 'paste' jewellery.  I reckon that the name is a dead giveaway.  Experimentation has shown that this stuff disintegrate given with this treatment.  All I can say is that you live and learn.

Anyway.... once the bracelet was clean I decided to remove these five travel shield charms.   People bought these, in the years after the war, as souvenirs of places that they'd visited or as mementos of towns that were special to them in other ways.  I thought that these were too personal to have mass appeal.  I also made an executive decision (after all I am the MD of my own business!) to remove an additional charm that potentially could make a reasonable sum if sold on its own.  It's a lovely little boot which opens to depict the old woman in the shoe with her multiple children.  I put her and the bracelet on Ebay at asking prices that would make me a small profit if no-one bid higher. As for the shields, I decided that they were probably worth no more than the scrap value of the silver and listed them as a job lot for £2.50.

And guess what?  The bracelet with its remaining twelve charms made its asking price.  I've had to relist the poor harassed nursery rhyme character.  But the travel shields sold for the startling sum of £31.31 and had two bidders fighting over them.

What I'd love to know is whether one or more of these items had sentimental value for the buyer which forced their price up.   Fond memories of Wilmslow perhaps.   Or has the travel shield equivalent of the 'Mona Lisa' just passed me by and I've remained completely oblivious?


  1. Well, whatever the reason for the bidding war, it must be very gratifying. You'll have to look out for more little shields. It's probably some secret blokey thing they like to collect (equivalent of train spotting) just like old postcards seem to be.

  2. Well done for making a profit. The badges are, like a lot of others, collectible; I know people who pay good money for badges from motorcycle racetracks dating from 1960 onward. There are ramblers too, who used (probably still do) attach badges to their walking sticks. It's worth thinking about.

    Word Verification - prizesom!