Sunday, February 15, 2015

When it comes time to move the Sherlock on . . . .

Every now and then a comment gets promoted to the main blog, and the latest comes from Ian Schoenherr, who writes:

"I wonder how - 2 1/2 years after posting this - this situation panned out. I'm in a similar state: years ago I boxed up all the tacky, vaguely SH-related tchotchkes, ugly reprints, awful pastiches, multiple duplicates, clippings, etc., but I can't bring myself to cart it all to the Salvation Army, six blocks away. I still hold out hope that I'll find somebody who really - passionately - wants that Snoopy-wearing-a-deerstalker eraser, the Sherlock Hemlock finger-puppet, the grubby paperback novelization of 'Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother'... Help me." 

The blog post he was commenting on came in autumn 2012, as I was trying to figure out how to start weeding out my "everything Sherlock Holmes" collection, built up over three decades. Little did I know, at that moment, things were going to get a whole lot worse in a very short time.

My longtime friend and neighbor, Bob Burr, who had gathered a collection almost identical to mine in the same period I had, passed on and left me his entire collection as well. In a few short months, my collection, quite literally, doubled.

As Ian writes, one hates to cart such joyfully-gathered tributes to our beloved Sherlock Holmes to the Salvation Army, where the chances of them getting picked up with the love you know is out there. But it's just silly to hang on to the stuff. And nobody is getting rich selling Sherlock stuff from the 1970s and 80s, even if you want to go to the trouble of dealing with eBay. So that spring I came up with two different solutions.

In scenario one, Mohammed came to the mountain. I offered a Sherlockian friend who lived a few hours away a massive amount of Sherlockiana and Doyleana for his scion's annual auction, as well as for his own colection. In return, he offered to drive up and pick it up. If you've got anything worth a drive in your clean-up pile, this solution has its merits.

In scenario two, the mountain goes to Mohammed. I loaded up my own car with a massive amount of pastiches, plushies, and sundry items and took it to the first 221B Con in Atlanta, where I gave it for dispersal to the con organizers, panel discussion folk for giveaways, and event-holders for contest prizes.

A huge amount of Sherlockiana left my house in 2013, and I am astounded at the incredible amount that is still here. Some day when I become an ascetic practitioner of Zen Sherlockianism, I will disperse the lion's share of that as well, probably picking some other event where younger Sherlockians gather, like 221B Con, to spread things around. Sure, it takes a little effort to cart all that stuff somewhere, but you can have a lot of fun doing it.

Even before 2013, I slimmed down my duplicates, etc., but getting a dealer's table at a weekend symposium or two and running a Sherlockian dollar store. Due to the location, you know the stuff will find a good home, and people will pay a buck for about anything.The Sherlockian dollar store wasn't about making money (though it's funny how the dollars add up), but it makes the items a little more meaningful to people than if you just put a sign out that said "FREE STUFF" (in which case certain sorts would grab everything their arms can carry, whether they want it or not). You don't have to spend time pricing or tagging items, just pile up all that stuff you'd be willing to let go for a dollar. And most of us have a bit of that.

So those are all my schemes, to date, for getting rid of large amounts of Sherlockiana that you just couldn't help but collect. Let me know if you have any others, because, you know, there's always going to be another time to unload . . . .

1 comment:

  1. Books are easier to deal with if you don't care about the money - the 'Half-Price Bookstore' buys collections (for near nought) - then places them on their special collections shelf for a reasonable price - I haven't sold them anything - just added to that collection of mine!