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Thread: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques      Share

  1. #1
    Administrator Pete's Avatar
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    Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    OK, I'll start off this forum. Nothing like a success story to keep us motivated, right?

    In 1998, not too long after I started collecting, I saw a post on a forum hosted by Bob Block (author of numereous marble books). It was posted by a man in California who said that he had found a box of marbles in the basement of a hospital that his brother had bought, and that he was helping to clean out.

    Whenever a post like this appeared, half a dozen forum regulars jumped on the opportunity, hoping to score a nice find. I usually didn't play that game, but for some reason, I contacted the man and asked him to tell me more.

    He described the marbles as swirled in different colors and said the box contained 97 of them, and was labeled "Christensen Agate Co." I figured he had a box of CAC slags, so I offered him $700 sight unseen. I figured this was a safe amount to offer for a CAC box. He was thrilled with my offer and said he'd send them right to me.

    I was very surprised a few days later to get this in the mail (packed in popcorn no less - the kind you eat!):



    I didn't recognize them at all - the box contained approximately equal #'s of purple, pink, light blue, sage green, cream and orange marbles. I brought a purple one with me to the 1998 N.E. Marble Show and showed it to Bob Block. Here is the marble:



    He told me it was a rare hand-gathered, early-production example of a CAC marble called a Pastel Opaque. I told him I had a full box, and he was very eager to see it and so I brought the box with me to the N.E. Marble meet in 1999. Bob photographed it, and many others oohed and ahed over them. He said they were Christensen Agate Co. "Pastel Opaques." At first, I thought they would be of little interest because the looked like Chinese Checker marbles, But Bob said they weren't Chinese Checker Marbles because the CAC predated the game of Chinese Checkers, which was invented in the late 30's. He called it "one of the rarest boxes I have ever seen," which made me super happy!

    Bob asked if he could use pictures of the box in an upcoming book on Christensen Agate Co. marbles. "Yes!" I said - I felt like I was making marble history!! Months went by, and I decided to consign the box to Bob to sell at auction. He told me it would probably bring a better price if I waited for the book to come out, so I waited, and waited, and waited. But the book seemed to take forever.

    My wife and I wanted to buy a house, so eventually I decided to consign the box before the book came out to raise a little cash. I met Bob at a diner and gave him the box (but I kept the purple marble I had brought to the show) and he gave me a pre-sale estimate of $15,000!! I was floored!!

    The box was offered in a "Chip Off the Old Block" auction on Friday, December 15, 2000 and went for a final bid of $4,600. Quite a bit short of the pre-sale estimate, but as Bob pointed out, this was a previously unheard of box (and it is still the only example known, to my knowledge) and was not shown in any book. Essentially, it was so rare, that it's rarity hurt it's chances of bringing in a higher bid

    But still, that money helped my wife and I achieve the American Dream! Every penny went towards a down payment on our house, which we bought in July of 2001.

    A couple of years later, in 2003, I was pleasantly surprised to find my box in Block's book "Collecting Early Machine-made Marbles" on pages 149 and 150 with a declared value of "Too Rare To Value!" (This means there are so few examples known, and they come to market for resale so infrequently, that it is not possible to assign a value.) The picture was credited to me! How exciting was that?

    So that's my find of a lifetime - so far! I've had lots of other great finds through the years, but this was the best by far. Marble hunting is a numbers game, and you got to be in it to win it. If you don't look for marbles, you won't find any. If you look for marbles, you *will* find some! And if you look for marbles a lot, you'll find even more!!

    Your find of a lifetime could happen tomorrow! There are still good finds to be had for those willing to put in the effort.

    If anyone wants to see more pics and info re: this box, click this link:

    http://www.landofmarbles.com/marbles-pastels.html

    Now let's hear about your best find! I know this one is hard to beat, but don't let that discourage you. If you have had a find that excited you, please tell us about it!

    Sometimes marble hunting doesn't go so well, I've gone for long periods where I couldn't find anything good. I'm sure other members of this forum have had the same experience, maybe they are in a slump right now. Won't you share a success story and inspire us to keep hunting?
    Last edited by Pete; 02-01-2007 at 02:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Nadine
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    Re: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    Amazing story Pete, a thrill in a lifetime!

  3. #3
    Senior Member coolspecs4u's Avatar
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    Re: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    That is awesome Pete. You still made one heck of a profit. I have a couple of one of Bottles. I'm gonna keep those.
    Road Dog

  4. #4
    Administrator Pete's Avatar
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    Re: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    Quote Originally Posted by coolspecs4u View Post
    I have a couple of one of Bottles. I'm gonna keep those.
    Say that again?

    I'm eager to read about some other finds, I know I'm not the only one!!

    Start a new thread with another find story somebody!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member coolspecs4u's Avatar
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    Re: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    Two bottles .A Sapphire colored open pontilled Dr. E.C. Balm and a E. Anthony with a open pontil. Both are 1 of a kind as I haven't seen any others for over 30 years.
    Road Dog

  6. #6
    Registered User bluesulfide's Avatar
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    Re: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    Great Storyand even a greater box!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How cool is that! Mike

  7. #7
    Administrator Pete's Avatar
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    Re: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    nice road dog! I collect antique bottles too, but all are clear. My favorite is a Holy Water bottle, but I really want a poison bottle with skull and crossbones!

    I have some pretty cool ones I've collected over the years - I mostly look for unusual shapes. Whenever I go on vacation, I collect some sand and each bottle holds different sand from a different vacation. One of my favorites is a red sand from the Garden of the Gods in Colorado.

    I'm a collector at heart - it can be anything...through the years it's been shells, coins of all denominations, foreign currency, stamps, postcard, bottlecaps, butterflies, bird's eggs, feathers, rocks and minerals, bicentennial quarters, bonsai, and these days cowries, Smurfs and marbles.

    Marbles have been my favorite, hands down!!!

  8. #8
    Almost done with marbles catfish's Avatar
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    Re: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    That box is out of this world Pete. It would have been very hard for me to part with it. Of course it did go for a good reason, the house that Christensen helped buy!

  9. #9
    Senior Member coolspecs4u's Avatar
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    Re: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    Boy Pete you don't want much. I believe a fella on the antique bottle site dug one of those Cobalt Skull Poisons up last year. I think the large one.
    Road Dog

  10. #10
    Administrator Pete's Avatar
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    Re: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    [QUOTE=coolspecs4u;48934]Boy Pete you don't want much. [QUOTE]

    Does this mean the poison bottles are not that rare? I thought they were. I never saw one, but I don't hunt bottles like I hunt marbles. I just look through them when I bump into some, but I never asked for it...

  11. #11
    Senior Member coolspecs4u's Avatar
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    Re: Box of CAC Pastel Opaques

    I'd put them in the scarce category. High Demand and valuable though.
    Road Dog

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