I was scouring out the cupboard in my old bedroom, and what do you think I found? Smurfs! The little blue bastards had somehow infested my wardrobe! No! Where's my mallet?!

Actually, these were the little figures you used to be able to buy everywhere - and by everywhere, I mean that in New Zealand they were only available at BP service stations. My grandfather used to send them to me, my father bought them for me, and mum bought me Alchemist Smurf one day… and then I turned seven and didn't care about them any more. I had about thirty or so of them. They were buried in a box through several moves and forgotten.

I took the remains of the Smurf collection out and said "Do you know anyone who would want these?" to my mother, assuming she would have some idea who to pass them on to. She decided to see what happened if she put them on TradeMe, which is the New Zealand version of eBay. They sold for $12, which is pretty good considering they were mostly boring ones and I was going to throw them out if no-one wanted them.

Then I found out about Smurf collectors. Apparently all the Smurfs I had were re-issues from the original two lines. I used to have Astro Smurf, which is possibly worth its weight in gold providing the goldfish bowl helmet is still intact. I'm damned if I know what happened to the bulk of my Smurf collection, but I'm wondering if it's buried in another box somewhere. Possibly they all got lost, or were appropriated by my siblings. Anyway, the moral of the story is: If you have a pile of Smurfs in a box somewhere and don't want them, you can actually sell them online despite all reservations you may have about how much someone will want a pile of worn novelty figurines of little blue thieves from your childhood. Make the buyer pay for shipping if you can - they're probably fanatical lunatics, so of course they'll pay.

The purpose of this rather obvious story is to point out that life imitates art: You can turn Smurfs into gold. Gargamel would be pleased.