What would you do with more than 150 coffee mugs, each emblazoned with a design representing a museum or cultural attraction? If you’d always wanted to open a café that would give you immediate cachét. “Let’s meet at that cool place with museum mugs,” people would say. And possibly, provide a name for your establishment: Café Cachét. Perhaps even a slogan: “Where culture vultures never run out of inspiration.” With an image of a vulture? Nah. That would be seen as overkill, pardon the pun.
My daughters, in their continuing effort to help prepare for the ultimate downsizing of their mother’s stuff, thought I might enjoy learning eBay. Selling on eBay, that is, not the purchasing side of the online auction site. I’ve already experienced so-called “estate sales” on both coasts. For the first one in a very large wreck of a house we’d occupied for 30 years in New Jersey, we were blessed with a contingent of friends who helped. Still painful, so much so that when it came time to empty a more moderate-sized house – though still jammed full – in California, I opted for an estate-sale service that would take those things they considered saleable to one of their two resale locations, extract a hefty commission and send an accounting with a check. That was somewhat less painful, though their accounting reports got very short shrift before being shoved into a file drawer. Again painful.
Trouble is, we liked our stuff. And we were collectors. Once you acquire more than one of a thing it becomes a collection. And before long, an obsession. Not an out-of-control obsession, you understand, just something interesting to do at the many business conferences we were required to attend. If the locale was at all conducive to it, organizers of business conferences almost always included time in the schedule for golf . Not being golfers either of us, we chose to use that time for sightseeing and especially, prowling museums.
And here is how the mug collection came about. Heading toward the exit after an afternoon of art appreciation and perhaps a pleasant lunch, the conversation might go like this:
“Should we stop in the gift shop?”
“Oh, I don’t know, what would we want? The luggage is already heavy.”
“We could always buy a mug.”
Before long, “We could always buy a mug” became “Let’s see if they have mugs.”
And so it begins.
I told one of the daughters my contention is you can’t call it hoarding if it’s part of a collection and properly displayed. And these mugs, never used, were displayed on specially built shelves in the guest room where we assured overnight company they should not worry about waking under a blanket of crockery.
Friends have suggested alternatives to this method of selective downsizing, but my daughters and I think this is worth a try. Who knows? Perhaps there’s a café about to open up with empty walls crying out for décor that is unique — and utilitarian. I picture diners selecting their favorites to take to their tables, much like old-time barber shops kept their clients’ shaving mugs on display.
The first part of the collection goes up for auction on ebay.com this evening, 10/17. Check it out. https://www.ebay.com/usr/ninedanes2