August 7, 2010—We’ve been doing some deep house cleaning and I keep running across things that just don’t make sense to keep. Either they’ve been in boxes for decades or haven’t been used in well over a year. Some things are simply mystery items.
Take the case of our little cloisonné box—it was gift from a relative a long time ago. We only see it from time to time—when we move things around or move from one place to another. It’s been housed in a carton with other whatnots for decades.
I decided to do a bit of research on the little 3-inch round box. I approached is as if I were working on a copywriting project for a product I knew little about and a project that came with no creative brief. It was a fascinating and educational few hours of research.
The cloisonné box is apparently Russian, from the very early 20th-century, and it has a portrait of Dobrynya Nikitich on the hinged lid. (Nikitich was the second most popular of the Bogatyrs, you know.)
The back is intricate and not-so-clearly hallmarked in three places. The inside of the lid is marked in three places, also. I knew nothing about Russian silver hallmarks, but I learned. I learned a lot. Again, fascinating.
Now, what to do with the little box? It seemed there might be a market for it.
But, I didn’t think the market would be very strong in Baltimore and it didn’t seem to be a Craig’s List type of item…
Until the current house cleaning I’d only purchased a few things from eBay. I’d never sold there. I created my seller account—another learning experience—and I listed the box.
It’s getting a couple of bids from the people who list their address as “Russian Federation.” And, I’ve learned that, yes, I can ship there and, after speaking with the folks at FedEx, I now know how.
The first bid is in at $400—the whole project has been fun and you can tag me as a lifelong-learner.
UPDATE 9/7/2010—Well, this research and writing project turned out nicely! By way of actively promoting the auction on Twitter and on my blog—and after a frenzy of 11th hour bidding our little Russian Box sold on eBay for (take a deep breath) $14,101.
Kudos to my partner, Jacob, for locating the original painting of Nikitich that was used as the portrait on the lid of the box. That seemed to make a big difference in the sale price. And, I didn’t have to ship internationally after all. The buyer lives in Port Jefferson, New York.