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This desk is from the Broadway Antique Market.

Cerny does not claim to know. In addition, and this should not come as a surprise, the whole genre of haunted antiques is riddled with fraud. I did my best to convey my experiences convincingly, but people can make up their own minds. For Cerny, these trips into olfactory hell—Marvin rarely eats before a cleanout—hold the potential of one or two hidden treasures amid the garbage, or perhaps an entire cache of goodies that can be sanitized, disinfected, and resold. For Marvin, everything else is equal before the blade of his shovel.

The work, we learn, is grinding and monotonous, and falls into two basic categories—ankle-deep or knee-high—referring to the height of the plastic garbage bags that Marvin wraps tightly around his legs to protect himself from the worst filth. At some point, most serious collectors and dealers have their own hoarder moment, in which they consider, if only as a passing thought, whether their collection of porcelain signs , candlestick telephones , comic books , or sofas has become a hoard. Where does one draw the line? I really need to use the bathroom.

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He actually blindfolded him before he let him walk through his home, it was that crammed with stuff. Short of that line are the obsessives. How does it come to this? The reasons for an obsessive collection are as varied as the stuff available to collect. Often there were multiple versions of the same monkey thing, because maybe the second one the person bought was in better condition than the first. The minutia of an obsession like that depends only on how far the collector is willing to go. And it all may have started very innocently; maybe somebody gave the person a monkey figurine as a gift, they loved it, and immediately started looking for more.

The stuff itself is interchangeable. This feather hat is from Broadway Antique Market. What aboutthe malerial artefacts oreglptb NutronurArchive, household 'trash'- isn't this the real, and an endeavourthat saw documentsboth carefully or indeedanyoneelse in them?

Memoirs of an Antique/Junk Dealer

Producedby for history through the its 'doubles' safely stored in the prism of the 'archival turn' valorisesthe physical tracesof its use, such material,unlike use of diaries, retters,iri. The work of tear - the thing that libraries are meant AntoinetteBurton is particularlyusefulfor conceptualizing evidence,or historical narrative. This 9 See the detailed discussion in Di-capua, Garekeepers,chapter'3. I believethis is lessan ethical issue collectors,whoserecyclingactivitiesarethe thana methodologicalone.

It might well for history too. In both caseswhat as is at stakeis not so much the verificatronofeach and every piece of information or each and every materiaritem in one,s colrection writing House, Home and the way in which this information is but 10 Antoinette Burton, Dwelling in the Archive llonten used and unpackedin genresof disciplinary writing.

Oxford' ' The rnaterialmust urtimatelymake Hislon in ColctnialIndia senseto other scholarsworking on similar issues. The Transformation of cairo's Refuse the multiplicity of analyticatpersplctirres ; Ragui Assaad, 'Formalizing the Tllryh in a given discipline. It may be said of Plaiing Education and Research, ' There is also tnat accuracyemergesmore from Collection System'Journal the 'checLsund burun.. However, nJtazabbal,r areChristiansand as suchareoften inscribed I am arsoawarethat the questionof what we collections remains unresolved, do with.

Carbage Dreams , Dir. The zabbalin, the sarrih makessure that the information about a family archive, a discontinued garbagecollectors,are in fact peripheralto the used-papermarket as I discussit library collection, or perhapsan antique mashrabiyyafrom an old mosqueor a here,becausewhateverendsup with them typically alsoendswith them: it goesto stained-glasswindow from an ItalianateDowntown building reachesthe earsof a paper-recyclingfacility and becomespulp. And if any of it does,it is by mistake.

Zabbatin areprimarily in While the zabbal's merchandiseendsup in recycling and, in the caseof food cl.

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The largestand best-knownmarket for the that is meant to penetrateinto domestic spacesand catch the attentionof those resaleof second-handmerchandisecoming from households,but also commercial within. They trade in 6rrysjunk. Each computers,or animals , it ought to be understoodin the context of many other neighbourhoodhas its own group or family of bikiya dealers. Another channel through which lrerethat the bikiva dealer but sometimesalso individual owners brings whatever disusedrnerchandiseentersthe variousmarketsis through thesaruihs.

Sarrihs are old paper- books,newspapers,magazinesor other paperephemera- they collect like neighbourhoodpeddlers often having otherjobs as their principal activity from their respectiveneighbourhoods. Also, Sur al-Ezbekilya is specialized. Most who 'walk' or 'cover' specificneighbourhoods, and 'coilectnews on what'sup'. For a commission,the literature againusedprimarily by university students ,foreign books and foreign languagemanuals.

Many also sell periodicalsof all kinds, Egyptianand foreign. A handful of vintage paper. I 3 [n upscaleneighbourhoods, this invisibility ofthe trashcollectorsis inscribedinto l6 The more upscaledealershave their agents sarrihs atthe suq al-Gom'a, who dornesticarchitecture.

Memoirs of an Antique/Junk Dealer

The zabbalin do not use the main staircase;rather,they use a small make surethat anything 'interesting'is retumedback to the urban market. Typically, kitchensare designedto have windows, and, most importantry, mean that it is necessarilywithout 'value'' doors. Foreignersmight read rhemqnv'ar asa fire escape, though its main 17 It is very likely that rnany bikiya dealers and suq al-Gom'a retailers are purposeis ratherfor accommodatingthe circulationof refusewhile keepingit invisible.

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  7. The term 'Friday Market' 14 More precisely, the bikiva boy stays in the kitchen as he too comes through the is just a name pointing to the day when most businesstakes place; but most parts of the mqnrilar; in houseslacking the manwar, he stays at the apartmentdoor. As for t!. They arepaid to collecthousehold trash,but they often 18 There are smaller all-purpose markets in various peripheral areas of Cairo, pay for collecting'valuable'trash valuablerecyclables from institutionsand busrnesses.

    Building surplus,including whole parts of old l5 I'he professioncertainlydatesto the colonial period, ifnot earlier,and its origins buildings, have their market in Sabtilya, and old clothes have their market aI Wikalat can perhapsbe tracedto the changesin consumerpracticesthrough the nineteenthcentury.

    There are, certainly,many parallelsin provincial towns, and there is Seethe film Asmar wa Gomir Dir. Jews or Greeks for political reasons,lemost moments of alienationare of a more mundaneand everydaynature. Apartmentsare sold without being completely empty; sometimesthey pass from one branch of a family to another;sometimespeopleclearup a flat wholesalebeforean impending wedding; othersseekresidencein newer neighbourhoodsand simply purge their old flats of all of their contentsbefore they put them up for rent. Also, as I will discusslater, some items were meantto be kept hidden,and hencebecame forgotten,which makestheir alienationeasier.

    The merchantsof Ezbekiyyarun ads in papersthat read along the lines of 'we buy yourjunk', or'we clearyour attic'. Like their colleaguesdealingwith antiques, furniture or variousobjetsd'art, being calledto clear an apartmentrepresentsthe most appealing business opportunity for the Ezbekiyya dealers. There are also mazadat,or auctions,at regular intervals where variegatedjunk, d6cor,or antiques Figure 4.

    I emphasizethat secrecyis essentialto this business,as has been observedalso by on occasion'various paper ephemeraincluding photographs,posters and private ethnographersof the art businessin the West. These can usually be spottedby a more careful arrangement of vintage copewith secrecy,andmazqdatand wholesaleclearances,and in many casesany cinemapostersand spectacularmagazinecoverson the storefronts.

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    If most carefully guardedsecretof this trade. Such a hierarchy Collectors: Pure, Dirty and the Hybrids is reflectedin prices, naturaily,but also in the quality and rarity of material, its level of preservation,and in the styles and venuesin which the exchangetakes Who buys? The threemain categoriesofbuyers of vintagepaperincludecollectors place.

    At the middle and upper end of the retail chain are dealerswho operate or 'pure' collectors ,academics almost exclusivelyWesternacademics ,and a either from their own premises,vintageand antiquestores,or entirely by fnone. Ezbekiyya or even slrq al-Gom 'a , a number of specializeddealers wiil most likery see it.

    But the everyday circulation of householdjunk Levantineelites especiallythe Greeks and that'contain jewels', if oral tradition among representsonly the smaller portion of the turnout of historicallyvaluable dealersis to be believed. This might have beenthe caseearlier,but increasinglyrepresents material. More commonly,old paper t1t: during special clearanceoccasions;notably, estatesales, an urbanmyth.

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    For instance, lots of apartmentsare currently being cleared in Heliopolis, whose here,the key elementin the release of historically valuable material to the market middle-classinhabitantsare relocatingto new, often gated communitiesaround Cairo. I is its arienationfrom the original thank JamieFurnis for this infomration. The emphasison dispray,usuaily coupled expertiseregardingtheir own collections,is key to their collecting are no 'pure' collectorsin Egypt, as far as I am aware, who diaries,lettersorphotographs.

    Such material is the domain of with serective activities. But the Arabian Gulf, where oil wealth has sparkeda fashion for private libraries and there certainly is a vibrant market for collectibles,the value of wtrictr is widely collectionsof objectsfeaturing'Arab heritage'.

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    Theseincludepostcards,stamps,and royal memorabilia, suchaspress clients buy in Cairo's used-papermarketsis virtually limitless. They range from coverage particularly speciar'Royal' issuesof ilustrated magazrnes or images, books on the history of their region to the above-mentionedroyal and popular letters and photographsfeaturing, or pertaining to, the. Another culture memorabilia,to old Egyptian popular magazrnesthat they are said to be substantialcollectors'marketexistsfor artefactsof popular culture;someof them buying 'in bulk'.

    A prominent exampleis the wholesalepurchaseof an Egyptian straddlethe boundaryof 'art', such as vintagecinemaposters, cinemaartefactsor cinema archive bought in by Prince al-Walid Ibn Talal of Saudi Arabia. They arethe and many others. Some coilectors focus on the popularity of major icons of subjectofderision among dealers,and anecdotesabound- such as a story about Egyptian modernism,such as superstarsingersumm Kulthum and Muhammad one of their agentsreadingan English documentupsidedown and then paying an 'Abd al-wahhab,but also including memorabilia letters, images,personalitems exorbitantsum for it.

    Smiling, he explainedhe had been adult life abroad. For all of these elites, collecting. Egyptian' objects is a key planning to sell the portrait to his Gulfi clients by presenting the portrait as a meansofenactingan 'Egyptianness'thatcan,rrom ottrer ciasspositiJns,be seenas certain Saudi Prince, but since I had bought the portrait instead, I 'deserved the problematic,lacking in 'authenticity'or in various ways culturally compromised. Certainly,such storiesought to be understoodin the contextof the collecting 'Egyptian' objects allows such elites to claim auihenticity while spectacularbuying power of clients from the Gulf comparedto the poor stateof maintaining class distanceor denying the rearities of crassaltogether:it ailows Egypt's nationalheritageinstitutionsandprogrammes.

    For Egyptiandealers,Gulfi them to virtuaily 'possess' or appropriate 'Egyptianness' f. But of coursethe indeedof the memorabiriaassociatedwith iconsof Egyptiarimodernism,many of samesalestactic might well be appliedto the Gulfi clients:perhapsthey are I'aced whom have attainedthe. There was much public outcry at the time of the sa1e, u, urn.