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    Administrator Pete's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    NY, NY

    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:

    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.

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