Feast your eyes on this splendid old Stan Laurel money box. Yes, I know it's a bit damaged and it's been glued back together at some point, but it's still a fine item, is it not? I reckon it's 1950s, and it has an Italian look about it to my eyes - Stanlio - what do you think? I've cleaned it up a bit, but didn't want to rub it too hard - for fear that the paint might come off.
I picked this up at a car boot sale. When I saw it on the stall - standing proud and incongruous in the middle of a grimy wallpaper pasting table otherwise adorned with what seemed to the randomly scattered contents of a kitchen dustbin - I was momentarily fearful that the vendor would ask a high price for this, the only thing there that he could possibly hope to sell in a million years.
Feigning careless disinterest I stepped forward.
"How much is the money box?"
I eagerly handed over my 50p.
"You want another? I got another. Just like this. Fifty."
Enthusiastic in the hope that further large sums of money might be exchanged, the man proceeded to rummage among some dirty pieces of screwed up paper under the table. Did he have Olio down there? Sadly not: he emerged with some kind of small ornament shaped like an owl.
Smiling and nodding, I noted that it was indeed a fine piece, and undeniably the ideal complement to the item which I had already acquired, but ultimately declined to make the purchase. This seemed to puzzle him somewhat. I made my excuses and left.
As I scudded away chuckling idiotically over my prize, an important and troubling thought suddenly occurred to me: that bloke has no idea that this money box is supposed to look like the famous comedian Stan Laurel...in fact, he has never heard of Laurel and Hardy at all.
Which makes you think, doesn't it? On the one hand, it's a sad, sad world where people don't know who Laurel and Hardy are; on the other, it's not such an unhappy one if it means that, even in these post-Bargain Hunt times, nerds like me can snap up delightful grimy old Stan Laurel money boxes for 50p. I guess it's all part of the great design.
You will find Stanlio in THE HOUSE OF COBWEBS.