Ok I know I'm a jerk for keeping all 10 of you that actually read these in suspense for Mike's answer, so here it is.
To bring anyone up to speed that didn't catch our last post, I began a story earlier in the week about a collection that I was looking to buy. The seller's name is Mike, I've asked him about the collection and where he got it or how he acquired it over time as it was several thousand books, which were all pretty old, but not old enough to be books he would have collected as a kid. I ended the last segment by saying that I normally hear people tell me that the collection was picked up issue by issue over the years, or received through a divorce, they were found, inherited, etc. But Mike's answer to the question was a first for me.
So here it is...
He told me the books had belonged to his wife's sister's son, in short, his nephew. And that they were in his possession because his nephew had passed away in the Gulf War in 1990. The books had been kept in storage for about 23 years, and finally his wife's sister could no longer afford the storage bill, and didn't have anywhere to put them, so the family moved the collection from Tennessee down to Atlanta to Mike & his wife's house.
He explained to me that the family wasn't really sure about what to do with the books, as no one really knew the value of them, and his wife's sister didn't really want to get rid of them as they had belonged to her son. So more than anything, at this point (which was around Thanksgiving 2014 for those of you that missed the earlier post), they were more interested in finding out if they were worth anything, more so than necessarily selling them.
The answer was heavier than I'd anticipated. I try not to take what I do too seriously, but this was a first for me. I was essentially being entrusted with telling this family to either move on from these 20 boxes of books they'd been hanging onto for almost 25 years, that had belonged to the family's fallen son, or keep the books as some type of tribute or memory to their nephew. Which puts me in an odd spot as the stuff was REALLY good. So naturally I'd prefer to buy it rather than just tell this nice man that his nephew had great stuff and they needed to protect it for their grandkids or something.
Predictably, after I did the right thing and told Mike that the books were really valuable, and made it clear that I'd love to buy them, he told me they'd probably just keep them. Like I mentioned previously, Mike's sister in law didn't really want to let go of them, and no one needed the money that I offered, so they politely declined my offer, told me they'd talk to the sister and see what she wanted to do, but again, it probably wasn't likely. So I left Mike my card, and went on my way. I tried to call to follow up a couple of times a month or so later, but never was able to get back in touch, I even saved Mike's # in my phone as "MIKE AWESOME COLLECTION THAT I COULDN'T BUY", "that I couldn't buy" being his last name of course, but nothing ever came of it, until last week.
One thing to know about me is that I'm a night owl. For some reason I prefer to keep a vampire's hours, routinely working until 3:00AM or later. The trade off for this is that I'm not the earliest riser. So, it's super common for me to wake up to a phone full of notifications, missed calls, texts, etc. Well, last Wednesday morning I saw an interesting thing when I looked at my phone. I saw the one that got away, MIKE AWESOME COLLECTION THAT I COULDN'T BUY, with 3 missed calls. My first thought was, "I know exactly who this is, and I hope he's ready to sell" second thought, "why the heck did he call me 3 times within 3 minutes". Turns out he just wasn't great at leaving me a voicemail, so it took 3 calls to get the message right.
It had been over 2 years since I'd met Mike, and aside from my clever reminder to myself that he had awesome stuff, I really didn't remember how awesome, or even what specifically he had. I thought I remembered an ASM # 129, or an Iron Man # 55 or some big key issue, and then there was obviously the bulk aspect, but I couldn't put my finger on what led me to punch in that number with such a descriptive description.
I called him back and he explained that they were now ready to sell and we set up a time to meet up later in the week. Mike lives way out in the middle of nowhere, and I kept having the same thought pop up on my drive out to him, "why now? Why sell now?"
I got an answer pretty quick once I got to Mike's house, and again it was far from what I was expecting. But I'll save the finale for this epic for tomorrow, because even vampire's have to sleep sometime.
To be concluded...