What to do with thousands of camels?
July 3, 2014 3:37 PM   Subscribe

My mother passed away earlier this year and left behind a large camel collection. Very large. (We're talking 10000+ objects.) After keeping a few to remember her by, what do I do with it?

Originally, the plan was that the Wild Camel Protection Foundation was going to take them and auction them off as a fundraiser for their organization, but they seem to have fallen through on that. I've tried and failed to find other collectors.
posted by dmd to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
See if the fine folks bringing us Humpday might be interested in it as a promotion.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:59 PM on July 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Find an artist who can turn them into art. Maybe ask around local galleries?
posted by girlgenius at 4:09 PM on July 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Start a Camel Etsy?
posted by kythuen at 4:31 PM on July 3, 2014 [10 favorites]

Museum(s)? Or contact the local universities' middle eastern studies department.
posted by Gorgik at 4:32 PM on July 3, 2014

Donate them to the local zoo to use them in a fund raiser to maintain their own camels?

(Donate $5 Win a random camel!)
posted by Jane the Brown at 4:40 PM on July 3, 2014 [12 favorites]

Send pictures & a price list to all Middle Eastern-themed restaurants in the area.
posted by invisible ink at 5:11 PM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another possible lead (Facebook)
posted by rhizome at 5:20 PM on July 3, 2014

Sorry about your mom. That sucks. My condolences.

I envy you on the camels though. Seriously, I would start a blog.

Camel a Day (.com). It's open.

Then I would post a picture of each camel, one at a time, with a story about your mom, and a dumb camel fact. I would include a link to an eBay posting for that figurine. And I would have fun. This is the sort of thing you can do in 5 minutes or in an hour and no one would expect you to quit your day job.

I have a lot of get rich slow schemes. This one will work. I know it! You have 30 years of posts.

Send me a camel when you make your first million.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:28 PM on July 3, 2014 [59 favorites]

You need to speak with a good, reputable auctioneer who can widely advertise an auction of this "important collection". I'll wager there are a couple of other camel collectors out there who will fight to take a large portion of it off your hands. (I presume you've had it appraised....)

Find an Auctioneer
posted by anastasiav at 5:43 PM on July 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Check in with Connecticut College...?
posted by nkknkk at 6:15 PM on July 3, 2014

This is pretty amazing.

I think you need either an auctioneer, or an online auctioneer (like a person who will handle the ebay/etsy/whatever for a fee).
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:43 PM on July 3, 2014

I am very sorry for your loss.

What fun taste your mother had! Her home is amazing. If you do a camel Etsy or a blog about this, I'd love a link.

One suggestion might be to sell them in lots of say, 10 or 50 or 100 on Ebay. A camel collector's dream, no doubt.

Or you might try holding an estate sale. Collectors and people who sell collectibles for a living would probably take a fair number of these off your hands. Definitely mention "10,000 Camels" in the headline of your ads, that will certainly get some people's attention!

A couple of years ago, I was browsing at my favorite Goodwill thrift store, looking for offbeat knicknacks and whatnot, when I spied an employee walking out from the back room carrying two very large (about 4 ft. tall) wooden camels. I immediately buzzed over to the spot where he set the camels down, and grabbed the nicer of the two to bring home. A minute later I saw another woman grab his twin and head for the checkout.

I mention this because, if you can't find someone who wants to take the entire collection and you find you have leftovers after you sell what you can, I don't want you to feel bad if you decide to donate the leftovers to someplace like Goodwill or the Salvation Army thrift stores. I think some people view "giving it to the Goodwill" as little better than throwing something in the trash. But I guarantee you there are casual collectors and knicknack junkies who would be thrilled to come across a few of your mom's camels during one of their thrift store treasure hunts and who would take it home to decorate their place or add to a collection and get as much joy out of it as your mom did.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:57 AM on July 4, 2014

Yes, contact an auctioneer (auctioneers.org) or a local antiques place to see if they know anyone who could appraise the collection. A lot of it might be junk, but there could be some nice things that might be easy to sell - and collections of things are often more valuable than the individual pieces. They could also tell you where to get rid of them and just auction them off in lots. If you'd like to donate them, and don't know any other groups, I'd take some of the pictures and put them up on Instagram or Facebook and search around for camel keywords to find some groups that are camel-ish and tag them in the description, so they see it.

Also this chandelier is genius.
posted by bluefly at 8:51 AM on July 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Some of the camels may be quite valuable, others not at all. A good auction house can provide an appraisal. You could sell valuable ones on ebay, or have an auction. They'd probably only auction off the valuable ones; the rest might go to a thrift shop.

Sorry about your Mom.
posted by theora55 at 8:02 AM on July 5, 2014

Response by poster: Update: they're going to a camel museum in Western Australia run by an amazing woman who my mom would have adored. She's been trekking around with camels her whole life and runs a camel farm.

Photos here
posted by dmd at 6:04 AM on July 17, 2014 [5 favorites]

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