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Recently a friend of mine (who's also in the antiquing and collectibles business) asked me to take a look at an upcoming auction's online photos, knowing that my buying interests differ somewhat from hers. I said "Sure!", she sent me a link, and then I returned to the task at hand. Some days it's just too easy to get distracted.
Days and dozens of projects later, she gently prodded by asking if I had any thoughts on the auction coming up the following day. "Tomorrow?!? That's tomorrow? Oh no! You'll need to send me the link again."
With so many things going on and needing to be done, I wasn't sure I was up to yet another distraction. But over the years, she's added to my knowledge base and been such a good friend that I knew I would only be selfish if I didn't at least take a quick peek at the jewelry, glass, and pottery being auctioned off.
Scrolling down the gallery of photos, I saw a variety of things I'd had selling experience with or previously researched for myself, so I relayed to her my thoughts on this and that. Suddenly I stopped and, like a giddy girl, pointed her to a photo that (to me) was immediately recognizable but most wouldn't give a second look.
You see, somewhere along the line (and I can't now even remember when or how), I started collecting a line of pottery that was made in Japan decades ago by a company that was and remains virtually unknown. The pottery is nothing fancy or of high quality or class, but what I find most appealing is its colorful charm. The problem is that it's not very common or easy to find, and many times the pieces -- due to their age and mid-range quality -- are chipped, heavily crazed, and not worth the expense of shipping.
"Please, please," I begged, "Since you're going to this auction, will you bid on this lot for me?" I gave her my bid limit and crossed my fingers, mentally reworking my growing collection display.
She, being a dear friend, happily returned the favor, and the next day, we both came out big winners. She managed to pick up a variety of things, including some figurines I had suggested, all five for the price of one. And me... Yes, I'm now anxiously awaiting my collection additions, which she managed to nab up for a third of what I was willing to pay.
So often I've found that in helping others, I also help myself. Sometimes it's in gaining a deeper connection to the person I'm helping or a better understanding of the topic at hand. And through this particular experience, I was able to help myself to a few more pieces of pottery I otherwise would have altogether missed. Yes, I'm quite glad that she asked for my help and even more glad that she asked again.
Oh, and as for my charming and colorful pottery ... This photo is just part of the group photo!