Category Archives: Ebay

Not the Worst Day I’ve Had

It’s been a lovely Spring day today, I’m told. I didn’t see much of it until 4.00. It was pleasant enough, but slightly frustrating to have spent the rest of it in a room with no windows.

The day was mainly quiet, as the customers had better things to do. This was unfortunate as it gave the boss time to think about making improvements to the stock control system. There are just three problems – they weren’t improvements, there is no control and we don’t have a system.

One of the jobs I ended up with was adding four items to a pre-existing list. Seemed simple enough but took half an hour and a re-write. I will say no more.

There was a bit of excitement late on when two auctions ended. We had a trench art love token made from an Indian rupee, stamped “Mesopotamia”, “Alice” and “1918”.

 

It’s a bit crude, but I’m not sure I could do any better. I’m sure Alice appreciated it. I hope the maker got home uninjured. Don’t be fooled by the photo, it’s only about an inch and a quarter across in real life.

The other item was a silk handkerchief brought home by a member of the 8th Army. It’s a bit of a relic, and it’s falling apart, but several people obviously appreciated it as a piece of history.

The central arch on the handkerchief is Marble Arch, or the Arch of the Philaeni, a symbol of Italy’s growing power in North Africa. It appears on many photographs from the time and even on a medal. Eventually, it was demolished by the Gaddafi regime in 1973.

It might not have been the best of days I’ve had at work, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I’ve had days that involved freezing temperatures and tons of poultry manure so a day messing about with a computer is like a luxury spa break to me.

More Medallions, Many More Medallions…

We lost a medallion today. We have boxes of them, so it wasn’t a surprise, as you always feel like you’re on the edge of disaster.

I looked for it twice, handling every plastic-cased medal we had in the shop.

Nothing.

Rather than writing to the customer to confess I’d lost it, I decided that I’d have another look through, and double check every medallion. I found it after twenty minutes. It was in a plastic case with a blue insert. I was looking for a red insert, which is what the computer told me I was looking for.

 

 

In the end the only discrepency I found between the eBay shop and reality, was one medallion. I solved that when I moved a notebook and found the missing medallion had slipped underneath.

It also gave me chance to sort out some new ones. We keep finding more…

 

 

A Different World (Part 2)

I had one more good medal to put on eBay today, which took some doing, as we had parcels to do and a queue of customers to serve. This is how it should be – we’ve missed the customers over the last few months.

This medal commemorates the life of Frederick, Duke of York, second son of George III, commander-in-chief of the British Army and the subject of the nursery rhyme “The Grand Old Duke of York”.

He wasn’t well regarded as a general, after some early setbacks in his career, but ended up reorganising the army into the force that Wellington used to defeat the French.

Frederick, Duke of York, reverse

Frederick, Duke of York, reverse

If you are interested, you can read the link.

However, you might like to have a look at this picture.

Portrait of Frederick, Duke of York - Lawrence 1816.jpg

Frederick, Duke of York

He’s not going to win any beauty contests, is he?

However, there is another reason for including it – it’s by Sir Thomas Lawrence. You may remember him from yesterday, though it really doesn’t matter if you don’t.

 

He was 63 when he died, which is only three years older than me. I’ve noticed a distressing tendency amongst people to be not much older than me when they die. On Radio 4’s Last Word the average age was 75, which is good, but could be better.

I’m about the age that my Mum was when we had to stop her reading obituaries and making similar calculations. I might have to stop listening to Radio 4 on Fridays.

Hard Day at the Shop

Obviously “hard” is a comparative term. Six hours sitting in a heated shop packing parcels and chatting to customers is not hard compared to some of my previous jobs, and they weren’t hard compared to working on a trawler or building skyscrapers.

However, from starting to finishing, there was scarcely a moment when we didn’t have a customer in, often two or three at a time.  We sold quite a lot in the morning, spent over £1,000 buying during the afternoon and ended up selling some more. We did all this with just two people as the boss was off at the York Coin Fair. We often have busy days when he’s away.

Souvenir Medal Castle Rising Norfolk

Souvenir Medal Castle Rising Norfolk

This is one of the medallions we put on eBay. At this sort of magnification you can clearly see  the reflection of my camera and a large quantity of dust. It’s not a stunning level of professionalism is it?

Southwell Minster Souvenir Medallion

Southwell Minster Souvenir Medallion

I see we’ve already sold seven items on eBay, so we will have to get a move on, as the Post Office closes at noon.

Another last minute post!

We had 12 parcels to pack this morning, including seven of bulk coins. It wasn’t one of my favourite days because bulk coins are fiddly to pack.  You have to pack them tight so they don’t rattle like coins, but you also have to pack them so they are flat enough to go through the post as a large letter. It would be a lot easier to pack them as rolls, but more expensive, and customers want to buy coins, not stamps.

During that time we discussed what we’d done on Sunday, which wasn’t exciting, and what we had planned for the afternoon. This wasn’t exciting either.

I went to McDonald’s in Arnold for lunch, but there was a long queue so my healthy eating resolution survived a little longer. Then I thought about fish and chips, but there was nowhere I could think of that allowed me to park close enough (let’s be honest, I make a sloth look industrious). Finally, I bought a chicken sandwich from Wilko.

That, to be honest, wasn’t a great decision, as it was on white bread, but it was next to the stationery, which is what I’d gone in for. They are fixing the surface of the rooftop car park at Wilko. I include this detail not because it is interesting, but because someone reading this blog in 100 years may find it to be a valuable historical nugget.

You never know. A child doing a school project in the next century might want to know about Arnold, or car parking or 21st century diets. Whether they will benefit from an insight into my life is another question.

Back home I made a fish pie and a vegetable curry – one for tea tonight and one for tea on Wednesday. The Tuesday evening meal will be the warmed up stew from Sunday, one bowl for me and one for Number Two Son. Julia is going out with her coven of friends for a meal and will escape the leftovers.

It’s taken a long time to write this, and I’m left with just nine minutes to post before midnight – please forgive any ragged edges but I have a deadline to meet and a challenge to face.

 

 

 

Thoughts and Stories

It was lighter when I left work tonight, which made me feel better.  I was also feeling happy because two of yesterday’s medallions (Sir  Francis Drake and Grace Kelly) sold overnight. They are now on their way to the customer.

I then started entering more items on eBay. We set ourselves the target of having 1,000 items of stock when I started in the shop, which looked like a big jump from the 600 we then had listed. When you consider the number we’ve sold, we must have entered around 2,000 items to get to this figure.

Here are some of the bits that went on today.

Masonic Past Master's Jewel - Heaton Lodge, Bolton, Lancashire

Masonic Past Master’s Jewel – Heaton Lodge, Bolton, Lancashire

RAOB Jewels Lord Balcarres Lodge, Chorley, Lancashire

RAOB Jewels Lord Balcarres Lodge, Chorley, Lancashire

People collect Freemasons regalia keenly, and though there are collectors for Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (otherwise known as RAOB or Buffs) it isn’t collected quite as keenly. They are both mysteries to me, though they are popular with many people. There are other friendly societies such as the Oddfellows, Druids and Foresters, but their regalia is not so common. Many of them were set up to provide health and insurance benefits for members in the days before the welfare state.

The last bit is a locket with pictures of two Great War soldiers in it – probably brothers, or maybe father and son. It’s had quite a lot of wear and I suspect there is quite a story behind it.  We bought it with a Green Howards cap badge but the vendor didn’t know anything about the history. It’s frightening how quickly families forget.

As a man who is interested in the past, it can be an interesting job.

We’re closed until the 2nd January now, but as that is my day off I have four days of leisure stretching ahead of me. I wonder what I should do to fill the time…

A Few Medallions

I put a few medallions on eBay today. That’s the trouble with selling things – you need to keep putting things on to replace them.

They aren’t the greatest medallions, but they aren’t the worst I’ve ever pictured, as reular readers will be able to confirm.

 

Of course, not all subjects are equally interesting. Unless you are really into decorative lighting, or Olympia, or 1989…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A medallion of niche interest