Rescued From Obscurity: How Discarded Items Become Treasures – “Now that information on obscure objects can be found on the internet and hobbyists can connect online, someone’s trash can become someone else’s treasure more easily. What is the value of a worn door from a shabby New York hotel, spray-painted with an X and thrown out during renovation? If the door was to Jack Kerouac’s room, $37,500. For Bob Dylan’s door, a whopping $125,000. How about a dilapidated house that a 1950s civil rights activist spent time in? At least $1 million. Most people would abandon items like these. But for others, the response is different: Cherish it the way someone else might prize a Picasso or a Renoir. At a time when information on even the most obscure objects can be easily found on the internet and hobbyists across the world can connect online, some of that junk might actually become treasure.
“There’s barely a day that goes by that people aren’t presenting interesting collections to us,” said Arlan Ettinger, president and chief executive of Guernsey’s, an auction house that has staked its reputation on nontraditional objects. “Will it resonate with the public? That’s the answer to whether we go forward and sell it at auction.” At the end of the month, Guernsey’s plans to auction off a lot of African-American cultural and historical artifacts, including the first contract signed by the Jackson 5, boxing gloves worn by Archie Moore, a marked-up manuscript of Malcolm X’s autobiography and Rosa Parks’s will and estate plan…”