Second-hand bookshops
Vlad Manoliu

One of my colleagues used to notice the fact that the social flusters bring to the surface the weirdest, most interesting and unexpected habits. After lying for decades in the owners? houses they seem to fight to get to the surface, bringing with them the possessors? feeble hope for winning.

Right after the ?90s, every Romanian who had an old item, even if it wasn?t high quality stuff, felt like sitting on a treasure and used to ask you for an eye if you wanted to buy it. All the more as the first so-called ?antique shops? were more consignments of goods, meaning that the owner of the item set the price which, in many cases, didn?t represent the object?s real value but that subjectively assumed by the owner. They used to ask for a fortune on junks or ridiculous sums on amazing things whose value they completely ignored. Hence, during this first faze of the antique shops, one could buy extraordinary things for very low prices. The best example was that a decoration or a Romanian inter-war medal, or let?s say one from the first World War which was available in hundreds or thousands more pieces, was sold for more than a republican denar or roman imperial. That was that! You very rarely find such big mistakes today.

Social movements bring to surface new, rough, even unprincipled people, hungry for money and power, sometimes talkative and almost always demagogical. They want to display their newly achieved social position, purchasing huge houses where they gather old and expensive objects, meant to give brightness and prestige to the new type of parvenu and to prove the thickness of the wallet. Hence, the antique shops went on mushrooming all over the place. At the beginning, small rooms, stuffed with furniture, paintings, chandeliers, adornments, old coins, carpets? Step by step, the owners of such rooms whether extended their shops or went bankrupt.

I remember a broadcast TV show about the artistic preoccupations of the Romanian rich people. A fat, fussy, middle-aged lady, was fretting her gizzard in front of the camera, exposing the way she used to relax when contemplating one of Nicolae Grigorescu?s paintings- of course-while at the same time sipping from crystal glasses. ?I cannot remember its name now? something with B? ? said the lady, referring to the newly purchased Bacarras.

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