I dug in and immediately threw away several pencils (sans tips and erasers), two dry markers (I don't even own a dry board), some old, dried rubber bands and a impressive ball of lint. I then began the "pen test" process, that had been instilled in me years ago, again by my pen-hoarding Mother. This process I'm certain, is a universal but just in case, you need a piece of paper for scribbling. Take every pen out and scribble. Pen by pen, if there's no ink, throw it out. Most of the pens were dried up and useless - there were Bic black pens, some advertising pen from a local politician, a click pen that was broken, etc. As I was scribbling, I grabbed a very pretty pen that was matte black, with gold embellishments. I was puzzled for a second. It actually looked pretty high-end and I began to question why it was in this wallow of trash. I set it aside. I also set aside another pen that was from the now defunct "Cedar Tavern" which was a West Village institution and artist hang-out for decades. Back in the 1950's, Cedar Tavern was the favorite haunt of Pollock, de Kooning and Rothko, just to name a few ghosts. I set it aside. I also found a small metal tape measure, a few pennies, a small toy in a plastic bubble, a cord for an MP3 player and a baseball bat keychain from the "Sweetwater Tavern," Williamsburg, Brooklyn's first punk bar, now closed and reborn the "Sweetwater Tavern," Williamsburg, Brooklyn's first punk bar-turned high-end steak and fish restaurant. I set it aside as well.
So by cleaning four square feet of my apartment, and because I did some research, I now had the potential to make some extra money for the new year. Treasures in the kitchen: $160-200. The cord and the two Lotto tickets: worthless. Maybe it's time to go cleaning in your house. Give yourself a good, old fashioned "drawer tour," you might be quite surprised. Just because you don't find a sterling silver pillbox from the 19th century that used to belong to Queen Victoria's half cousin, thrice-removed, doesn't mean that there won't be some tiny treasure in the bottom of that wretched container. Never forget the golden rule: "If it looks cool, don't throw it away." Do some research first before you pitch out your things but by all means pitch away. I don't know about you but that's my idea of working from home.
Update: December 22, 2012. Well, the earth is still here and we all still have stuff to sell and money to make, so life in the collectible world goes on! Out of the small group of items that I found in my kitchen, I gave the bat keychain away as a gift to someone who was a regular at that bar back in the day. I sold the "Monteblanc" pen for $117.00 and the "Error" penny sold for $15.00. The other items will have to wait for the new year. So my total for an hours work was $132.00. Not bad at all! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! See you in 2013! Dan Ruth