Saturday, November 27, 2004

Dimes, Dolls, And Dogs

"Poverty wants much; but avarice, everything" - Publilius Syrus - 100 BC

Amy and I spent the morning putting more stuff up for auction on Ebay and preparing to auction off other items. Today's venture included several lots of silver dimes. That meant counting out coins, recounting them...sorting them into some type of order and deciding how to break them into lots. It also meant washing our hands a lot...coins are filthy but these particular coins seem a little extra grimy in my mind.

They may not sell at all but even if they do I'm sure I won't get what I paid for them. I bought them when the price of silver was going through the roof in the 1970's because the Hunt brothers were trying to corner the silver market. Everyone else was selling their silver...I of course decided it was the ideal time to invest.
I was in college at the time and that incident saved me the cost of an economics course. I learned all I've really ever needed to know about economics: that "buy low, sell high" thing is true (the trick is to buy low), and I was never going to be an investor. Truthfully that lesson was well worth it.

More importantly I confronted a characteristic in myself theretofore unchallenged...greed. I was easily sucked into the idea of making a fast buck without having to even think much less work for it. It's another one of those harsh realities I'm thankful I learned early because there have been plenty of similar temptations that have crossed my path in the decades since.

I hung onto those dimes though...for a while I must admit I thought the market might skyrocket again and I'd recoup my original investment. Then I simply enjoyed having the physical reminder nearby whenever I heard the seductive whisper of financial scheming echo around my dreams.

Of course, if my luck holds true to form, silver prices will soar again....about 9 days from now - after all my Ebay auctions have ended.

Anyway, Amy and I decided these days we need spendable dollars in the bank, so we're hawking my silver reminders of foolish greed on Ebay.

Amy is paying a price too...cataloging Beanie Babies which she bought by the boatload years ago. Our oldest daughter is fond of walking by those dolls and saying sarcastically, "So that's where my college fund went." Unlike my dabbling in dimes, Amy bought the beanie babies because she liked them. She wanted something to collect and wasn't looking for an investment or a quick buck. Plus, she had a friend who worked at a store which sold them.

That friend would call when the newest beanie shipments arrived. I remember thinking how it was like Amy had a "beanie baby pusher" - a kindly woman who sold her little stuffed rabbits and cats instead of methamphetamine and crack. The beanie babies are eventually going up on Ebay too...the only one who will miss them is our special needs dog Winston who runs past them several times a day wishing with all his might that he could destroy them. Somehow we taught him the Beanie Babies are off limits. I'm not sure how we drove that lesson home - I wish I knew - he hasn't learned anything else we've tried to teach him.

Then again, Winston never bought silver dimes when silver prices were at their highest in history.

A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper.
He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.
- Proverbs 28:25-26