What it's worth.
Just past dawn this morning in downtown Northampton the rising sun struck this flag.
It was the start of another day in America.
Paolo the King of Kool is reporting from New York City that people are scrambling to collect copies of the post-election New York Times.
Paolo says that people were paying up to $300 dollars per copy on Ebay, unaware that the Times itself was selling them for only fifteen bucks apiece. With a little searching around, Paolo was able to locate one for a mere eight dollars.
Why is everyone snapping up these keepsakes? Well, I'm sure some are doing it out of genuine emotional attachment to the day a black person was elected to the presidency. But the majority I'll bet are saving the paper in hopes that on some future day they will be able sell it to a collector for big bucks. But if the past is any guide, they shouldn't get their hopes up.
When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the major news magazine was something called LIFE, a subsidiary of Time magazine which focused on photographs and the celebrity side of the news. It was sort of the People magazine of its day, although it also had a journalistic depth that People magazine has never aspired to. Many people saved the LIFE magazine that came out after the JFK assassination, no doubt believing it would have monetary value in the future.
They believed wrong. According to this website, the actual assassination issue is worth about 18 bucks. However the funeral issue (below) which fewer people saved, is worth $35.
What happened? The problem is everybody saved that same damn issue of LIFE, and therefore over four decades later it really isn't worth much. That's because the value of a collectible is not just based on its historical significance, but on the rarity of the artifact. Since everybody and their mother saved the JFK assassination LIFE magazine, there are hundreds of thousands of them still in existence. Antique dealers tell me that they frequently encounter sellers who whip out a copy as if they were presenting the most valuable historical artifact since the golden mask of King Tut, and then they are crestfallen to discover the assassination issue isn't worth twenty bucks, and even combined with the funeral issue is barely worth fifty.
Now what's really worth money are copies of this issue of LIFE of which only a few copies had been printed before the presses were stopped by a raid conducted by the FBI and the CIA.
There are no doubt things associated with Obama's election that will be worth serious money some day. But it will be the rare, obscure things that will be collectible, things that hardly anyone saved. That's what you should be looking for if you intend to save something from the election that might be worth money someday. That definitely will not be the New York Times post-election edition, which the whole city of New York is stashing in boxes, attics and dresser drawers, only to discover forty years from now that the copy they bought for $300 dollars on Ebay will be lucky to be worth $30 bucks.
Can we stand one more thing about the election? Walking past Downtown Sounds in Hamp the other day I noticed this clever sign in the window making fun of the fuss over Joe the Plumber. (click to enlarge)
Actually McCain probably could have gotten some mileage out of the Joe the Plumber affair, where a plumber named Joe complained to Obama in person that his suggested tax policies might be bad for business. However McCain overplayed his hand by accusing Obama of being "a socialist" and no one believed that. For McCain, that was just one more mistake in a campaign dominated by them.
Personally, I agree with this Northampton driver's political platform.
This morning there was some kind of shindig held at the historic First Congregational Church in Hadley where cake was served. I guess the diet conscious church ladies didn't want to eat much of the cake, because they brought ninety percent of it over to us at the Amherst Survival Center to serve at lunch. What was special about it was that the frosting had been made using the most advanced culinary technology to look like a photo of the church. Before everyone had a chance to gobble it down, I preserved its fleeting beauty by taking a picture.
Besides being a beautiful cake, it was also delicious!