Recently, the nearby winner of a fifteen million dollar lottery prize had two auctions to turn some of what she’d bought with her winnings into ready cash. The auctions were amazing. Virtually new oriental rugs, purchased for several thousand dollars, sold for three to six hundred each. Pieces of jewelry that sold for as much as 45,000.00 sold for as little as 750.00.
Even long-time auction attendees were stunned. By what? A sure-fire way to make money. We watched, amazed, in two successive auctions, while a couple of million dollars in recent purchases were sold for a few hundred thousand dollars. One painting, that had been recently appraised for over three thousand dollars sold for one hundred.
It was as much an auction as an assault on reality. A bracelet sold for seven hundred dollars. Two days after the auction, it was given an appraised value of nine thousand. One set of earrings, purchased for four hundred dollars, was appraised at a full forty thousand. A custom-made china cupboard that had been purchased for $46,000.00 sold for $1,600.00.
The auction was followed by lots of people having their purchases appraised. After that, no one knew what reality was. Were appraisals fiction and were sales facts? Or, were there bargains so big and so unusual that sales were fiction and appraisals were facts?
The people who originally sold the goods to the lottery winner made money. The people who bought the same things at the lottery winner’s auction made even more.
The conclusion was inescapable. We had found something amazing. What had we found? A sure-fire way to make money. Follow a lottery winner around.