Every collector dreams of "scoring" a big lot of what he collects. So when I saw an ad about "tons and tons" of marbles for sale locally, marble fever overtook my mind and I dropped everything to get to those marbles first. It was quite an adventure which I shall summarize like so:
- Day one (morning): I email the seller hoping they still have the marbles.
- Day one (afternoon): Seller emails me back saying they still have them and they all appear to be hand made except for a few machine made ones from the 50s and 60s. Wow! I email them back attempting to arrange a meeting.
- Day one (evening): I can't sleep. Visions of onionskins the size of onions fill my head. I'm literally shaking from anticipation, not to mention terror that maybe some more savvy collector with a faster car and fatter wallet will get there first.
- Day two (morning): They reply. With a phone number. I arrange to meet them as soon as possible. After speaking with them, it becomes clear that giant onion skins or sulphides will not to be found in this lot. But I still must make the journey.
- Day two (afternoon): I leave work three hours early and bring a lot of cash, just in case. I drive almost 90 minutes and there they are. A lot of marbles. 54 pounds worth in fact, or more than 4000. And unfortunately a whole lot of catseyes and clearies. Like maybe 85%. Not a handmade swirl to be found except one sad, chipped little guy.
Nevertheless, I spotted a couple of agates and quite a few machine made swirls. Nothing obviously spectacular but there simply wasn't time to go through them all there, so I offered the sellers $200 for everything, around .5 cents a marble. They accepted. As I lifted the heavy boxes I knew this was going to be fun. And it was fun. I'm still going through them.
As I reflect on it, the $200 was darn near worth the price of admission. The whole adventure of wondering, hoping, waiting and discovering was worth $100 at least. And going through them is priceless, as any marble collector will tell you.
By the looks of things so far I haven't done bad at all. Condition varies from pathetic to mint. This is what I've set aside so far with more to come hopefully: