"Wonderful things, gold, everywhere the glint of gold!"

That's what Friend Carter was supposed to have answered when he was asked what he could see on first peering into the undisturbed tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun, in 1922. A far cry from Albert Steptoe's exclamations on seeing what his poor son, 'Arold, brought home on the back of his ragman's cart, after a weary day tramping the streets of old London town! (Young people and the non-English can check out the Steptoe family here.)

The point being, that people have wildly different reactions when confronted with old stuff, or other folk's cast-offs. I'm, almost always, intrigued! I thoroughly enjoy sifting through the things which someone, in days gone by, cherished. Some of the detritus of other generation's lives can be truly fascinating, or so I find. Rooting around scrapyards, or re-cycling depots, or junk shops and auction houses, could easily be my full-time occupation, I just love it!

So, here we are in Luxor, where anything old (and I do mean ANYTHING) is immediately deemed to have high monetary value. e.g. A neighbour (and friend) approached me one day, to tell me that he had a "very old" English one pound note, and that he was sure that I could sell it for him. There'd be enough to give us both a tidy sum, or so he thought. It turned out to be about 20 years old, no longer legal tender, and torn into the bargain! This sort of "opportunity" often comes my way, via some acquaintance or other, and turns out to be a complete waste of time. Freda says that I should just say "No" in the first instance, but I find it very difficult to disappoint people without letting them properly present their latest fortune-making plan first.

But never mind all that, which is only leading up to my own Luxor "Howard Carter" moment. I've found a real junk shop here in Luxor, Dear Reader, and it's wonderful! I cannot claim to have seen gold everywhere, but I certainly did see "wonderful things"! Other than lunatic utterances of; one thousand pounds; three thousand pounds, and the like, the shop man had very little English. So, I asked my caleche driving friend to ask him if I could take some pictures of his stock. You can imagine my surprise when he answered in the affirmative, with no baksheesh asked for.

Here is what I class as "Wonderful things":

OK, I'll admit that it's mainly a load of old junk, I mean, what do you expect to find in a junk shop?! But look more closely, if you will............

I see a Bakelite telephone, and a more ancient looking telephone, there are quite a number of potentially very interesting vintage radios, and a nice set of old shop scales sitting on top of a modern oil-filled radiator. I can also see a brass Egret (or is it an Ibis) and an end fitting for a fire-hose, not to mention electric toasters, table lamps and a computer monitor, an electric fan and a butane gas cylinder!!!! And so far, I'm only two paces into the shop.

Turning around to venture farther in, my way is almost blocked by stock! Boxes galore, stacked on top of a display case. What's in them, if anything? I immediately recognise some as mother-of-pearl games boxes; fancy chequer boards on the outside and plush backgammon boards on the inside, lovely workmanship. Others are more intriguing, but I don't feel able to ask the man for a look, as we both know that I'm not going to actually buy anything! How about a grey wall safe or two, any takers, anyone....? Perhaps a walking stick, or a flashy walking cane; to impress the ladies? A kemenger (a stringed instrument, which imitates the death-throes of a strangled cat) or an attache case, ideal for the discerning business man?

One or two very interesting chests here (no, not that sort, you stupid boy!) and a miniature pool table without its slate bed; very useful! Or perhaps you'd rather buy some genuine old camel saddles?

This is what I like about junk shops, you never know what you're going to find! See the remains of a model ship, near the bottom, and the ancient electric fire, next to it?

I'm no expert, Dear Reader, as you well know. But after having a look at the sword on the right, out of the soft scabbard, I wouldn't take any convincing that it had been wielded in battle on several occasions!

As for the sabre on the left, I didn't ask the man to take it down, but what's left of its scabbard is only the lower metal part, which is quite intricately figured. I've no reason to suppose that it is a reproduction, either.

I'll post a few more pictures, without explanation, which you can look at till your heart's content.

They contain such disparate items as (I think) a key-cutting machine, a very collectible table-fan, rubbishy old luggage, and dated hi-fi equipment.

If anything really takes your fancy, let me know, and I'll check the price for you, or, better still; you could come to Luxor, stay with us, and I'll introduce you to the man himself!

Don't forget, you can click any picture in order to have a better look at them all.



  1. Interesting photo's and reminds me of a second hand junk shop I visited a couple of times and which people called,Steptoes.This place could be found if you walk up Television Street go past the International Hospital and turn left down the first wide road on the left.At the very bottom is a railway crossing and the junk shop was about half way down on the left.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I know the shop to which you are referring, although just about all of his stock is either ex hotel or ex cruiseboat nowadays. I wrote about it on here on March 13th 2010.
    The shop in this blog, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish! It's like all those TV "hoarders" programmes rolled into one; fabulous!

  3. Manyx10 thanks for your reply.The last time I walked past the junk shop I refer to I did get the impression that a lot of the stock he had were from hotels or cruise ships.It made me feel sad to see it all as it gave a clear indication as to how bad things were in Luxor.
    If I manage to make it to Luxor this coming winter I will just have to get directions from you as I sure would like to have a wander round.I did spot a few things of interest and they were the two huge ghetto blasters and what looks like a graphic equalizer. Regards Gordon, Chester.

  4. Hi Gordon, and welcome back. Thankfully, it isn't an indication that things are bad here; it's rather an indication that owners are either modernising or otherwise refurbishing their hotels and boats! We're currently on our second Nile cruise aboard the Royal Viking, which has been extensively refurbished since our May jaunt. It's lovely.
    Just now, there are 27 cruisers sailing the Nile, as well as a few dahabiyas. The RV has about 20 other British guests and a few foreigners, and we're all having a great time.