There is a pawnshop in Danbury, Connecticut, that I frequent. Like most pawnshops, it is at once depressing and intriguing. I often check out pawnshops out of a foolhardy belief that I will find treasure. I used to scour flea markets with that same optimism, certain I would find a genuine Tiffany lamp amongst the macramé owls and tube socks. The lamp would be five dollars because the seller had no idea what it was really worth.
Of course eBay, Storage Wars, and Antique Roadshow have quashed my dreams. Now everyone knows the exact market value of what they own; you can spend a lifetime going to consignment stores, estate sales, and pawnshops and never find anything that anyone would consider a “treasure”—unless, of course, you have a strange unshared addiction to slightly beaten up Barbie Dreamhouses.