Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Never Buy Feathers from the Goose
I digress from my "Saga" to offer this timely advice:
As an advertising copywriter, I've always gravitated to clever slogans and timely adages, where so much wisdom is often packed into so few words. When I started out on my mid-life crisis career in antiques, I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of an elderly lady who had been in the business since the flood - an antique in her own right, so to speak, who taught me some very valuable lessons. The one that stuck most in my mind was the pithy directive: "Never buy feathers from the goose."
I can't tell you how often this quirky little rule of thumb has brought me good fortune. Simply stated, it means that you should always look for the "odd" item from sellers. If they are selling mostly porcelain, check to see if they might be offering something other than their area of expertise - a piece of jewelry, for instance. Something totally incongruous to their mainstay. They clearly know their porcelain (and their prices), but may not know the value of an ivory netsuke. Of course, they might be asking too much for something they know nothing about, but in most cases, they will be happy to be rid of it because it doesn't fit in with the rest of their items.
Another very valuable lesson she taught me was: "go with your gut feeling." Whenever I have ignored that lesson, and shunned my initial instincts, I've invariably regretted it. And what if my instincts had been wrong? So what? We all make mistakes. But the ones that haunt us most are the ones in which we failed to heed that tiny inner voice that nudged us to "take a chance."