When I was a student, like most, I had to be a little more conscious of where I spent my money. This restriction doesn’t sit well with those of us who collect things, any things. It meant that from my student years, there were three things that I wish I’d bought but didn’t. And now that I have a little more disposable income, I have been trying to track them down. Yesterday, the second of the three items was delivered to my door.
Now these things that I seek aren’t items of great value. They have some collector interest and enough value that you will see them occasionally but not enough that I’m going to blow my son’s college fund on purchasing them. Not that some sellers aren’t asking for the entire college fund, just that most are more sensible.
I found the first of the three items, a boxed Grendel mask from the original Matt Wagner run at Comico, about fifteen years ago. I had seen one, but just one, years ago upstairs in the comic department at the Virgin Record Store on Oxford Street in London. I did not have the funds back then to pay the asking price that I think was £100. Just as communities were starting to evolve on the web, Dan Homer put together a forum for those interested in Matt Wagner’s work. An archive of that site still exists. I think it was Dan who mentioned that he had tracked down the original manufacturer of the masks and that he (the manufacturer) still had some. Following Dan’s lead, a few weeks later I had four of the masks in my possession; two to trade and two (one a signed, limited edition) for myself. And the final price? Free, after selling off the duplicates. The first of the trinity had been acquired.
The second item, the one I just received, was a CD single by the group Dire Straits. I’m still a huge Mark Knopfler fan and have a good collection of singles, albums, CDs and the like. But the one I didn’t have was a copy of the first CD single ever release, the Live in ’85 version of Brothersin Arms. Again, I had seen one in a record store in Harrogate, North Yorkshire some years back but didn’t buy it. This time, the reason was not the lack of funds but that I didn’t own a CD player at the time. I was and still am a huge fan of vinyl so didn’t make the switch back then. By the time I did buy a CD player, the single was long-since out-of-print. I found a copy of the CD single on e-bay a couple of weeks ago and had it shipped to my home in the US from Sweden. The final price this time? A little more than the original £20 at $80, but still not too unreasonable. The second of the trinity had been delivered.
And what’s left?
The final item I am looking for is the boxed set of fourspinners (toy cars for the uninitiated) from the movie Blade Runner. The set was released by ERTL. I had originally seen them in a store off Oxford Circus, again while I was a student in London. I passed this store for weeks and they just sat there, of course until the Saturday when they didn’t. I’ve never seen one since, other than online where I see them pop up every now and again on e-bay but for silly money. Anyone can throw money at a problem; I want to add these items to my collection for a reasonable cost. So the final “holy grail” to my collection still sits out there, elusive. But I’ll get it one day.
Just like I will the bronze Grendel statue.
And the Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first appearance of Spider-man).
Collecting is an addiction and there’ll always be that one other thing out there to get.