There is a type of man you’ll see at an antiques auctions who are 100% guaranteed to annoy me. I call these guys the “Gold Diggers”.
There are some Gold Diggers who have been doing it for a long time, way before gold prices shot up. They don’t bother me because they know what they are doing. It’s the other Diggers who bother me — the bandwagon jumpers who have begun speculating since gold shot up in value.
Gold Diggers can be spotted two different ways. First, they will always have a jeweler’s loupe with them. They crowd the tables of goods and meticulously examine each piece of gold colored metal within sight. I’ve nearly guffawed out loud when watching a man check out a 1970’s Sarah Coventry Austin Powers style swinger’s pendant necklace in goldtone. Obviously these guys don’t know costume jewelry.
As a person who specializes in costume jewelry and looks at jewelry all day long, I can pick out real gold from a distance. That’s because finding a piece of gold in my costume jewelry is like finding a little surprise treasure. (OK, maybe I’m a little bit of a Gold Digger in my heart). I’m like Rainman in the toothpick scene of the Rainman movie. Thrown a pile of jewelry on the floor, and I could spot the tiny gold pin in there within fourteen seconds.
The other way to identify Gold Diggers are by the small digital jewelry scales that they carry with them. I’ve been to auctions where the bidding had to be suspended while a Digger weighed the item and calculated how close to the bone he could cut his bid. Don’t you think he could have done this before the auction started?
If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll see that I’ve already written about one of my pickers named Darrell. I’ve purchased from another picker named Sally over the years, but she’s what I call an “undercover picker”. This means she sells things to me but doesn’t want anyone to know, especially her HUSBAND!!!
I don’t want to give too much away but her husband sounds like a hoarder. According to Sally, the husband is manic at buying and hoarding antiques, collectibles, goodwill quality items and rancid junk. He stores his hoarded items in various jam-packed storage units all over the city and pays storage bills higher than their household rent. This storage unit rent is literally breaking their budget but the husband won’t stop. He says that his treasures are too valuable to sell. So, in order to survive and cover household bills, the wife trades secretly on the side.
I’m sure I’m not the only person Sally sells to. But dealing with her requires an entirely new language, one that won’t give her away when the husband is possibly listening. According to Sally, she’s allowed to sell linens (don’t ask me why) so the word “linens” has become code word for what I REALLY want — jewelry. Our telephone conversations go something like this…”Hey, Sally, I’m looking for some “linens”. (Wink, wink.) Do you have any new “linens” to sell me?” Sally replies, “Yes, let me call you back”.
So, later I usually will get a call from Sally with a very brief window in which she can meet and let me look at her goods. One time her husband walked in on us while she was showing me some “linens” and I had to shove the stuff in my big purse and run into the bathrooom. After waiting an inordinately long time and realizing that the husband was not going to leave, I strolled out of the bathroom and said, “Oh, hi husband! I didn’t realize you were here! I just came to visit Sally. Well, I’d better be going!”. I backed out of the place with the jewelry still in my purse.
I had to go back days later to conclude the deal with Sally.