Why do some antique collectors, like Mozuzu, express their passion in pieces? Why do they allow social trends dictate what pieces they collected? And why do they display so much attachment to those pieces, and invest them with significant emotion? The likes of Mozuzu were perpetually waiting for moments when a customer would walk through their doors, express serious interests in any of their pieces and pay a premium before leaving with them.
One day a customer walked into Mozuzu’s store and expressed interest in a ventilator! Mozuzu could not hide his excitement as the customer delicately handled the ventilator as if caressing it. He had been waiting for such a moment. Suddenly it looked like the customer was taking forever to make up his mind. So Mozuzu interrupted him: ‘Sir, you seemed very interested in my ventilator?’ ‘Yes, I am’ the customer replied. Then added, ‘How much is it, please?’
‘It’s N75,000, sir. It is a very special piece. It came into my possession only a few weeks ago. I should tell you the story behind it sometime.’
‘Thank you. N75,000 is a good amount for it. I will take it. You saw how I was looking at it. It’s a special piece indeed. What makes it really special is that it was made in a pair. That is, only two of its kind were ever produced. If anyone finds the other pair both pieces could go for as high as N700,000.’
‘You can’t be serious,’ Mozuzu exclaimed.
‘I am, my friend. Here’s your N75,000 and my address just in case the other piece comes into your possession.’
As soon as the customer walked out of the door with the ventilator, Mozuzu broke into a dance. He needn’t worry about making another sale that day. He had just got a windfall. How much did he get the ventilator for, once again? A mere N7,500. Wow! This was certainly the way to go, he told himself. As for that missing piece, there was only one task left for him to do – he must begin a combing operation of the entire antiquity routes to look for the prized piece!
Imagine his joy one week later when a gentleman walked in and showed him a ventilator that looked very much like the piece he sold previously, and told him the piece was only half of a pair. Very unique pieces, he tried to convince him further. Mozuzu did not need any further convincing. He could barely restrain himself from showing his excitement. He would dance later. For now, he would focus on the life-changing moment unfolding in front of him.
‘How much is it?’ Mozuzu blurted out.
‘The market value is N700,000 but I would take N400,000 from you.’
‘Please give me a moment.’ Mozuzu quickly opened his drawers, counted the cash and handed it over to the man. Moments later, the transaction concluded, Mozuzu closed his store and rushed to the address the buyer of the first piece had given him last week. Alas, there was no building on the site. It was a refuse dump!