More often than not – actually, WAY more often than not, when I agree to come to someone’s home to look at a collection, it turns out being a waste of time and gas. I try to lessen those incidents by explaining what I’m looking for on the phone and in my Craigslist ad; but everyone believes they have a small fortune, and some do, which keeps me going out there.
Whenever I have to let the owner down, I try to be kind and educate them as to why I could not make an offer. Who knows? They might know others who DO have some decent stuff!
This past week, I went 0 for 4 in my travels. Sunday, I set up a time to meet a caller at his home, going on the impression that even those though he had comics from the 80′s – 90′s, there were lots of them. Perhaps I could make sets and runs and it wouldn’t be a waste – but only if I could get them cheap enough. When I knocked on the door, I could hear Cujo and his big brother on the other side. Stepping back, I waited as the owner sneaked by them and came outside. Pitbulls! (Where are they all coming from? Years ago, they were not this common! Check the percentage of these at your local SPCA!) Anyway, the owner gets a small tote with about 20 – 25 comics out of his truck. He couldn’t find the rest of them at his Mom’s house! A fairly quick “Thanks, but No Thanks” speech and I’m on my way back home.
Thursday, I get a call at the shop and the caller (let’s call him “Mark”) said that he had a bunch of comics from the early 70′s, including a number of undergrounds. He mentioned Wonder WartHog and others. This sounded interesting and we set up a time for me to meet him the next day. He wanted me to come by after 2:00 PM. Within a minute, he calls back, asking if I would be writing a check. I told him, “Yes”, that it would be a little foolish and dangerous on my part to go to a strange place with cash. I was especially leery, since the address he had given me was near a crime-ridden area. I told him that it would be written on a Wilmington Trust/M&T account and that they had branches all over. His problem was that he did not have a bank account and did not have any ID!? He sounded in his twenties to me and I said that we could work something out; but now I’m wondering – who doesn’t have any ID or a bank account? There are several possibilities, all of which are a little shaky, but he was asking his Mom in the background where the banks in the area were. I was still going to make that meeting. I arrive at the address and was pleasantly surprised and relieved to see that this neighborhood was decent and well maintained, even though a few blocks away is a different story (my wife retired from the criminal division of the Attorney General’s Office and knows the rough areas). As I pulled up, about ten after two, a gentleman is backing out of the driveway. I go up to him, he stops, and I state that I was looking for “Mark”. In an agitated way, he asks, “Who are you?” I explain that Mark called and asked me to come over to look at some comic books. This explanation obviously did not please him, as he got out of the car and went back into the house. I did not hear anything from inside, but he emerged within a minute, and simply said, “He was mistaken.” I never met Mark.
When I got home, my message light was blinking on the phone. It was Mark and according to the time stamp, he called immediately after my visit and left a short message – apologizing, and telling me that the man was his step-father and that his step-father hates him! I guess he expected step-dad to be gone before 2:00 that day. Mark – if you’re reading this – sorry, but I’m not getting into the middle of that situation.
Since I was near the Delaware Memorial Bridge anyway (Oops, did I give away something?), I decided to go early to my Friday night auction and check out the offerings. Turns out, there was nothing worth waiting around for, so I wasted the $4 toll, time and gas – BUT, I did get home in time to see the Phils stop their losing streak.
Racine’s Auction, near Cecil County Dragway, showed some 10 cent comics up for grabs in its Saturday sale. It was to begin at 9:00 AM. Arriving just in time, I had to sit and wait in the shoulder of the road to turn into the entrance due to a young woman who was in the center of the entrance, making it impossible for me to turn. When she pulled out, I pulled in, only to hear a loud thud behind me. She had pulled out in front of an oncoming van. Turns out it was relatively minor, I saw that no one was hurt, and went in and registered. Looking all over to find the comics in the two rooms, they were no where to be seen. I went back and forth between the two rooms several times, not sure if they were about to come up. With people standing and crowded around the particular area where the items are, it’s difficult to see. Finally, I spy a customer in the crowd with the comics. They must have sold almost at the very beginning, while I was checking on the accident. Yep, there was the one pictured on the site. And, Nope, I wouldn’t have bought them – real rough and nothing significant. Two hours of my time and 50+ miles of gas. A nice day, though.
No segue here, so I’ll just mention – MEMBERS! You get first dibs on signing up for our 4th of July Collectibles Show & Flea Market, but you must sign up by 6/20. After that, we open it up to the general public. Consider this: this year, it falls on a Wednesday, as in New Comic Book Day, and we should have a decent crowd here as our Wednesdays are always our busiest. And again, a special to those who read our blogs, if you were a vendor at our Memorial Day event and sign up for this one, you get a $5.00 discount!
Flea market cartoon from Apropos of Something