Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Precious Metals

Some folks hoard Gold. Some folks hoard Silver. Me, well, I hoard aluminum. Not just any aluminum but only the finest extruded, billet, and cast aluminum made. In other words, I have a fine collection of bicycles, broken down with their plastic and steel parts discarded. In buckets, bundles and boxes I have stashed and organized oh, maybe a 1000 pounds of the shiny stuff.

Jim of Jim-Jim insists I should cash out now. I know my wife would love for me to. She long ago gave up ranting about my collection and now just suffers in silence. It would make sense to haul it all down to Punsky Scrap Iron & Metal in Sanford and bring home some folding money. Yeah, it would be the logical thing given the price per pound my stash of shiny bike parts would bring.

When I started hoarding these bike pieces, their value was so low, the collection seemed just another dumb Mike idea. 15 years ago, the price of clean extruded aluminum might have been say, 40-50 cents per pound. With each rim weighing in at approximately a pound, I was sure it was worth the effort. Or would be at some future time.

I started bringing home the tired and broken wheels from the shop and cut their spokes and hubs out. Hubs went into a bucket labeled "Irony Al", the spokes went into the steel bucket to take to the dump for disposal in their steel container, and the rims were carefully flung into the pucker next to the house. Several hundreds of wheels later and the small portion of my collection you see up at the top is the result.

Who's laughing now? The price is well over $1.25 per pound today and even if I take a hit by having someone pick it up, I stand to clear around $600 easy. Quite a bit more if I find and organize all the other alloy parts I have scattered hither and yon.

But is my collection about the money? The fact I have not cashed it in after 15 years would indicate there are other factors about my collection that must be considered.

There is the collecting mindset I need to be cognizant of. That once this collection has been discarded, what will I fall back on to get my fix? What group of things will I latch onto that will satisfy an urge I have carried with me since I can remember. I long ago gave up trying to fight this urge. I know something will have to take it's place......... That jar of pennies could use some topping off.... Hmm.


A Midnight Rider said...

You know, the packie up the street has some very nice Portuguese wine selling at 3 for ten bucks.

That windfall could be put to very good use and get enought wine to last a couple of weeks.

Dawn on MDI said...

Wow. I'm not sure whether you've got a collection or a pathology. Impressive. Weird, but impressive.

GJG said...

Everyone should have a hobby from which they derive a source of pleasure and satisfaction----but hoarding aluminium?? Hey,over the eyars I collected, stamps, matchbook covers, popsickle sticks (I don't think leggos had been invented yet and we were a poor family so the price of Lincoln logs made that unobtainable), then I did the tropical fish gambit for a few years, but finally decided raising guppies to feed to the angel fish was a bit grim.-----but again a guy needs to have something to be proud of, thats unique, and reflects his values---