“Sante Fe, New Mexico” collection:
I had a deal pretty much in place for this collection out of Santa Fe, New Mexico but when I got there and really inspected the books, they just weren’t quite as nice as they appeared in scans. Generally when you see scans you have an idea about how the books are going to grade for books from the same era. It was like the guy had handpicked all of the better books, and had inconsistent, and in this case, lower graded copies in between what was pictured. It’s extremely rare that I am not within the range of the price estimate that I give before coming out to see a collection. But, I knew in this case I couldn’t pay even the bottom of the range. So I had to just show him what was pictured vs. what was not and revised my offer accordingly. As you can imagine he wasn’t the least bit thrilled but on the other hand, I couldn’t over pay on this deal. He rejected my offer outright and as I’m heading for the door lamenting a wasted trip (and from Maryland to New Mexico no less), I hear his wife say, “Get them out of the house Frank”. Game. Set. Match. The wife always wins.
“The convention was a bust but I hit a home run anyway” buy:
I flew down to Albuquerque for the ACE convention looking to buy some stock. While I picked up a few things it wasn’t nearly enough to justify airfare and a hotel. Luckily, I had called around to some comic book stores in the area- one of whom agreed to set me up with a guy who had some vintage stock. This guy drives up to the shop and as he’s unloading tells me he dealt with Michael Carbonaro. Everyone knows that Michael is a buying legend and that he rarely leaves anything behind so my heart just sinks. Until he tells me he hasn’t seen Mike in 8 years! Boomtown.
I picked up a sweet Archie #50 that later graded a 7.0 and another 25-30 Golden Age books. But the real twist was the store, who had next to nothing in vintage, had just taken in a Brave And The Bold #28 that they thought was a Fine. Upon seeing it I concurred and purchased it. It just so happened that BB #28 blew up while I was awaiting the grade and sure enough, it graded a CGC 6.0 with white pages. This book is impossible with white pages and it had very bright inks to boot so I asked a 20% premium on top of its market price (which had moved dramatically since I purchased it). It sold within 24 hours of being listed. Lesson? Always have a plan B (and a plan C if you can).
“The Johnny Knoxville” collection:
I got a call from this dude a few months before we were going to head down to Wizard World New Orleans for the show. He lived outside of Knoxville and went by Johnny, hence the nickname for the collection. None of what he had sounded earth shattering but I felt it could be decent box stock for shows. It wasn’t worth a special trip to go see the collection by itself, so Alex and I scheduled it for when we were driving down to NOLA.
We got off of I-40 and entered another world. Let me tell you, this cat lived in the complete middle of nowhere. He was only 20 miles off of the highway but he may as well have been 2,000 miles away. We got reasonably close before our cell phones lost all signal which in turn disabled our GPS. We were headed on a one way road going up a mountain so we just kept going up and hoping for the best. Miraculously we caught a signal and I was able to call him.
“Hey Johnny, it’s Greg. Where the heck is your house”? His response: “You see that bridge with no guard rails” (remember, at this time we’re driving a heavily loaded Ford cargo van). “Cross that, there’s three houses on this side of the bridge. Mine’s the one with 4 broken lawn mowers and the growed up grass”. Well with that, we were good to go.
We get in the house and sure enough, it’s just run of the mill stock but there was more of it than he had said. So we cut the deal and started trying to make space for everything. I don’t know how we did it but we ended up getting all but 3-4 long boxes loaded. By now the van was just groaning. We were parked in the bottom of his non paved driveway, and kind of in a deep rut at that. I had to have Alex get out of the van, drop the van in low gear, and say a prayer that was answered (but just barely).
You never know where you’re going to end up in this job.