hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


May 2, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: One man's junk another's treasure

Anyone want to buy a swizzle stick cheap? I'll let it go for $100. Certainly a bargain when you know its origin. Came from the Melody Lounge where I drowned my sorrows one night after a story I wrote went sour. Just how I like my whisky from time to time.

Or how about the cork to a bottle I picked up at a wine-tasting? The merlot was so bad that evening, I would have preferred castor oil. You can have it for $17, the price of the wine.

After what sellers are getting these days for their odds and ends, I'm ready to explore the universe and take advantage of people's foibles.

Did you happen to catch that article last week about a ticket to the Titanic's maiden voyage that fetched $56,250 at a New York auction? So it was 100 years old. A menu from the same ill-fated vessel sold for $31,250. That I might find a bit more of a conversation piece.

But what in tarnation would anybody want with a ticket stub? An auctioneer said interest in Titanic artifacts remains strong. Wonder what a swizzle stick would net?

A day or two later, I ran across a piece that reported a $412 check that DC Comics wrote to acquire Superman comics selling for $160,000 in an online auction. Seems the cancelled check was saved by a DC Comics staffer in the 1970s and sat undisturbed in a desk drawer for 38 years.

I don't know about you, but before I dished out that kind of money on a hunch that it might grow in value, I'd educate one of my grandchildren or pay off a college loan a family member still owes.

I see these TV shows all the time where people are bidding their lives away. Why anybody would shell out $900 for a fan is beyond me. I don't mean an oscillating device, but a paper product you hold in your hand and wave at your face to cool off.

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