• Notice of dispatch: 1 No. Collectors’ item.


    Above, BBC presenter and news reader, Ms Fiona Bruce aka Mrs Nigel Sharrocks.

    Regular lessons in the practise of capitalism are to be found on BBC TV on the “Antiques Roadshow”, where members of the public bring along varied artefacts for inspection and valuation by experts.

    I find the programme highly entertaining partly because it is (for me) fascinating to see what monetary values (estimates on what said item will fetch at auction) are placed on some objects. This can reveal extraordinary valuations. Some objects are obviously (to the average viewer) very valuable which is confirmed by the experts. However, there are some objects that appear to be of little artistic and intrinsic worth and yet are worth a very great deal. This is because of the basic fact of free market capitalism: An object is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it.

    When it comes to value, scarcity is a key factor. Obsession in the part of those in the market is another key factor. Combine the two (an obsessive collector) and a very scarce object and the expert will often quote a value that to all normal people seems absolutely absurd!

    Some of the most valuable objects of no intrinsic worth to a normal person are those objects that are generally thrown away. What this means is that in a decade or more after 99.999999% of the aforesaid objects have long ceased to exist, the 0.000001% of objects remaining in existence are extremely rare – and sought after by obsessive persons.

    This behaviour is often demonstrated on the programme. People of course are individuals and each of us is unique. However, there are two types of person often to be found on the programme. One is the normal person who has brought the object along to receive an explanation as to what it is, how old it is and of course how much it’s worth. Then there is the collector. These people appear on the programme to meet the experts and to show them their collection (or part of it). Often these people are as knowledgeable as the experts. Furthermore, the objects they collect comprise some of the most ordinary and mundane items where the artistic value is not only questionable but non existent!

    It is for this reason Dear Reader that we reproduce in electronic form the letter you will shortly receive through your letterbox from the Prime Minister telling you that which you already know!

    Our VERY strong advice is that you do not open the letter (it will be obvious and easily distinguishable from the other mail would might receive) and to keep it in a dry, safe place for in years to come it WILL have a value to one of those obsessive persons. It is very important that you do not open it as for these obsessive persons scarcity and condition is everything. To have a letter in pristine condition and opened envelope is one thing but to have an unopened envelope containing the letter will be extraordinarily rare and highly sought after by these strange folk!
    Herewith below the text of the letter:
    I am writing to you to update you on the steps we are taking to combat coronavirus.

    In just a few short weeks, everyday life in this country has changed dramatically. We all feel the profound impact of coronavirus not just on ourselves, but on our loved ones and our communities.

    I understand completely the difficulties this disruption has caused to your lives, businesses and jobs. But the action we have taken is absolutely necessary, for one very simple reason.

    If too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to cope. This will cost lives. We must slow the spread of the disease, and reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment in order to save as many lives as possible.

    That is why we are giving one simple instruction – you must stay at home.

    You should not meet friends or relatives who do not live in your home. You may only leave your home for very limited purposes, such as buying food and medicine, exercising once a day and seeking medical attention. You can travel to and from work but should work from home if you can.

    When you do have to leave your home, you should ensure, wherever possible, that you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

    These rules must be observed. So, if people break the rules, the police will issue fines and disperse gatherings.

    I know many of you will be deeply worried about the financial impact on you and your family. The Government will do whatever it takes to help you make ends meet and put food on the table.

    The enclosed leaflet sets out more detail about the support available and the rules you need to follow. You can also find the latest advice at gov.uk/coronavirus

    From the start, we have sought to put in the right measures at the right time. We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.

    It’s important for me to level with you – we know things will get worse before they get better. But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.

    I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus, in particular the staff in our fantastic NHS and care sector across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has been truly inspirational to see our doctors, nurses and other carers rise magnificently to the needs of the hour.

    Thousands of retired doctors and nurses are returning to the NHS – and hundreds of thousands of citizens are volunteering to help the most vulnerable. It is with that great British spirit that we will beat coronavirus and we will beat it together.

    That is why, at this moment of national emergency, I urge you, please, to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

    Boris Johnson

    Write a comment