I love watching the Antiques Road Show, for I’ve always had a thing for the discovery of hidden treasures. Every time somebody discovers that an old lamp they bought at a garage sale is a $20,000 Tiffany it brings a wistful smile to my eye. When I was younger I had a dream of discovering the ultimate buried treasure: a mint 1967 Shelby GT 350 which had been stored and meticulously maintained for thirty years by a farmer after his son died in Vietnam. Of course he sells it to me for half the original $4000 asking price because that seems “about fair”. And I drive off into the sunset.
Alas the Mustang never materialized and so I recalibrated and set my sites a bit lower. These days I often forgo living vicariously through PBS and scratch my treasure finding itch another way: by scouring the Goodwill for book bargains. Even if it doesn’t have the same thrill as discovering a mint farmer-kept Shelby, there is an undeniable satisfaction in discovering a mint condition philosophy, theology or current affairs book for a couple bucks. In the last few years I have found everything from Dawkins God Delusion (okay, not that rare) to Pete Hautman’s Godless (a wonderful young adult novel about losing faith) to various works of theology and political science. So the next time you have an hour to kill on a Saturday afternoon and five bucks burning a hole in your pocket, given the local Goodwill a try. You may not find a Tifanny lamp, but … hey isn’t that the new Austin Dacey book?