I am writing about this adorable collection of brass miniatures because tomorrow I am going to list it on the fabulous new website Hunters Alley as an experiment. I want to see if adding a secondary marketplace increases traffic to the new shop. I'll let you know how that works out.
But before it gets snatched up by someone like me who finds it irresistible, I thought I should mention that it was the very first purchase I made off of Craigslist. And this post will fall under the category of 'Mistakes' because I made a big one that day. I went alone, into a seller's house.
First off, I found it by searching 'brass'. (Insider tip: it is one of my favorite search terms but I have yet to find anything as wonderful.) I contacted the seller who gave me her address and told me I could stop by the next afternoon.
The next day happened to be Presidential Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2012 to be precise. I voted on my way to the seller's house and showed up sporting an 'I Voted Today' sticker. The energetic elderly woman who answered the door did not introduce herself. She briskly asked me to wait outside while she retrieved the collection, which she had just finished polishing. I fell in love instantly with the charming pieces, many of them with Delft insets and working parts, and eagerly got out my cash. She took my payment and was shutting the door when I asked if she had anything else to sell. (Insider tip: always ask.)
Yes, indeed, she had other things. Seems that she is the neighborhood Craigslist dealer on behalf of her elderly friends who are either frightened of Craigslist or who are not computer savvy. So plucky! She had just received a few boxes from a particular friend who was a collector of chinoiserie and the items hadn't yet been listed.
My eyes lit up and I asked if I could take a peek. She looked me up and down and her eyes fell on my sticker. "Who did you vote for today?"
Gawd. My mind raced as I stalled to answer 'correctly'. Clutching the miniatures tightly, I blurted a response. Her eyebrows rose and next thing I knew, I was ushered into a chair for a cup of tea and a tête-à-tête with her terrier.
I purchased a beautiful pair of ginger jar lamps. A luscious Asian coffee pot. Carved wooden figures. Trays.
And Mary and I sat talking Craigslist for quite some time. Every Craigslist rule ever written we broke that day.
Anyway, I don't know if Mary really cared who I voted for. Maybe she wanted to see if I was willing to be open with her before she opened her door for me. I never heard who Mary voted for, and your politics don't interest me. (Well, they interest me if you want me to create a look for them. I'm currently working on a grouping that is equal parts donkeys and elephants and it would look perfect in the home of James Carville and Mary Matalin. It should be finished by 2016.)
I care about finding a good home for lovely things. I wouldn't mind keeping this collection, and in fact have searched for more miniatures. They are difficult to find, especially in such pristine condition and in such a large quantity.
But selling is what I do. These tiny pieces, all made in Holland, should live with someone who loves how crisp brass looks against high gloss white, who marvels in the tiny hinges and joints, and most of all, who finds reminders of childhood to be magical.