From the Editor: The objects we pursue

A phone call from a loyal reader complimenting Fred Taylor’s recent column on the types of value reminded me about the new book Objects of our Affection by Lisa Tracy. You can read a review HERE.

The reader liked how, in the April 7 issue, Taylor was able to succinctly classify the types of values he encounters from well-meaning, arm chair “experts.” He classifies the difficult task of assigning value by using three categories: market value, utilitarian value and sentimental value. It’s a pity those values did not dawn on Tracy and her family until it was too late.

Her book is about two sisters’ quest to clean out their parents’ estate only to learn after it is sold that the items held much more than monetary value. The book’s bittersweet message can be summed up in this excerpt following the sale of her family’s artifacts:

Here, at this auction, the buyers actually have the opportunity to know where these pieces came from. But, I am soon to discover, they are not the least bit interested in any history attaching to the stuff they’ve just procured.

Taylor and Tracy are both saying the same thing: The objects we pursue are less about the objects than they are about the pursuit and the memories we make along the way.  For Tracy her family’s artifacts were the only surviving link to those long lost relatives.

It is almost as though Tracy felt she didn’t live up to the obligation of being a custodian of these keepsakes.

It’s a message that should be shared before that first call is placed to the auctioneer.



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