4 Phillies Fans Walk Into A Chicago Bar…
Last week, my boys treated me to two days in the Windy City, culminating in a game at Wrigley with the Phillies in town. (to the parents out there with teenagers or those who will endure the teen years in the future–it gets better, much better).
I had never been to Chi-town before, so we spent Sunday checking out the sites, but I never dragged them to seek out comic book shops. We had a brew or two at a ‘Harry Caray’s’ at the Navy Pier and I observed a sad lesson for you autograph collectors out there. Besides the many, many pictures of celebrities who have frequented the pubs or met Harry (of course, there was a Will Ferrell pic), there were dozens and dozens of autographed baseballs on display. Unfortunately, many of those signatures are almost completely gone due to the exposure of the lighting. (check some of the ones we have on the shop walls for examples). I’m not an expert in how to preserve these, but if you have some on display at home, check into proper methods to protect before damage is done and it’s too late.
We enjoyed a brew or two, or three, at the House of Blues and I had my first-ever Chicago deep dish pizza at a Geno’s (supposedly Giodano’s is the other famous one to try). I enjoyed it and the price was quite reasonable, considering the quantity of food per slice. Still, I’m a Grotto’s guy. Never heard of breakfast nachos before, but they were fantastic at Hub51.
Monday, the day of our game, the four of us headed up to Wrigley in the morning to check out the scene. We received a couple of “welcome to Chicago” messages this day. With all of us in Phillies attire, we stood out in the crowd. Deciding to take the subway/el, we probably looked a little confused as we stared at the machines thatspit out fare tickets, so the lady behind the booth came out to help. Quite personable and friendly, and after explaining the CTA, she warned us to hide our phones, because… “They’ll punch you in the face and take your phones.” We never lost a phone, thankfully. Arriving well before noon, we strolled the streets around the ballpark, especially Waveland Ave (where bleachers are built on top of the homes situated beyond the outfield) and Clark Ave, which seemed to be the main drag. Planning on trying out a steak house while there, all we found were bars, so, we did find one open early and…
Heading back to center city, still in our Phillies garb, we checked and decided it try out a steak house with one of the best ratings. Chicago Cut and Ocean Cut (same owner) came up, so at around 4:30 we stroll in – me in a bright red Phillies jacket with a tee-shirt underneath, one son with a Phillies hoodie, and the other two with Phillies jerseys. The place is kind of ‘swanky’ and we felt that the waitress was a little taken back by our dress, but we weren’t turned away. Being the first in for the dinner session, we were swarmed by staff. One couldn’t take a sip of water without someone appearing with a pitcher to top off the glass. When two of the boys went up to pick our their particular fish (yeah, it it still had the head and tail on when served), their napkins were quickly refolded. When we finished our appetizers, the plates and utensils were replaced.I’m telling ya, this was no Mickey D’s! Then a gentleman comes over and it turns out he’s the owner. In a thick Irish brogue, he welcomes us and goes on humorously telling about his experiences in Philly, and while doing so and, in good Philly fashion, drops a dozen or so “F’s”. Finishing our meals and evidently pleasing the waitress with the size of the tip, the owner calls out to us from across the restaurant and wishes us a win – then, good naturedly says, “on second thought, go to hell” Another “Welcome to Chicago”
It seems that we brought back the Chicago weather with us, as it was 87 degrees the day before we left and we never saw the sun the two days we were there. Plus periodic rain. The game was delayed an hour and a half due to the rain and it there seemed to be a light mist throughout the night with the wind-chill factor in the low 30’s. Well worth it, as the Phils cruised to a 10- 2 win! Overall, a great visit!
Sorry for the diversion – it explains my absence those two days – now back to more comic book related adventures.
The week before my trip, Gotcha Dave and I attended an auction in Allentown, PA. Not only was there an auction with 500 lots of comics, but within the same complex, The Merchants Mall, the Philly Non-Sports Card Show was being held, which was amazing in the amount of that product and vendors specializing in this material. And, there was a comic book shop within the mall. And, I discovered that this is where the JD Smith Auction House (they have a monthly bid board – similar to a silent auction) that ends on the last Saturday of the month. Talk about one-stop shopping!
I sat through most of the comic book lots which started at 10 in the morning, but did not end until around 5:15 PM. Why so long? It was also an “live online” auction, also. Those of us in attendance had to sit and wait while online bidders made up their minds. (Sellersville, which used to be my favorite auction house – more on that later – tried the live online bidding only once and never returned to it) It seemed like they were given more time to decide than a normal ‘in person only’ auction allows. Anyway, I guess they figure it pays to do it this way for online bidders also paid an addition 24% Buyer’s premium – no exceptions for method of payment. In person bidders paid 19%, reduced to 15% if paid by cash or check. Think about, the online bidder who won the CGC 5.0 Tales of Suspense #39 for $4,000 also had to pay almost another $1,000 in buyer’s premium.
The sale had individual comics (graded and raw), small groupings, and long boxes. Some highlights (buyer’s premium is NOT included):
Hulk 181 with value stamp BUT the lower half of the right edge was chewed through all of the pages sold for $600
Another Hulk 181, CGC 8.5 $1,900
Another Hulk 181, raw, maybe F+ $950
a rough, rough copy of Hulk 102 sold for $70!?
Green Lantern 76 CGC 5.0 $325
Showcase 22 (1st SA Green Lantern) CGC 3.5 restored with top edge trimmed $750
X-Men 94 – raw with multiple creases and piece missing $300
Batman Adventures #12 CGC 7.5 $275 (guide states that an 8.0 is worth $131)
Flash Comics #7 (Golden Age) graded CGC 0.5 due to two center folds missing, piece off another page that affects the story, tape on the cover, BUT has a full page ad for All-Star Comics #1 and an ad for All-American #16 (1st ever Green Lantern!) went for $140 I chickened out!
Marvel Mystery Comics 19 – raw and trimmed edges $700
Batman 181 – raw and corner off front cover, creases $80
Amazing Spider-Man 300 raw – $200 looks nice at first glance but buyer must not have seen the 3 stains on the front cover. (Internet!)
Amazing Spider-Man 300 CBCS 8.5 $120
Amazing Spider-Man #1 CGC 3.0 $3,000
Amazing Spider-Man 14 (1st Goblin) about VG $450
X-Men #1 CGC 3.0 $1700
Amazing Spider-Man 129 CGC 8.0 $800
Another Amazing Spider-Man 129, also graded CGC 8.0 was pulled at $700
Fantastic Four #2 CGC restored 0.5, cover detached color touches, pieces added filled a hole in someone’s collection for $100
Marvel Preview #7 (1st Rocket Raccoon) CGC 8.0 $325
New Mutants 98 CGC 8.0 $160
A complete set of Vigilante 1 – 50 and both annuals – all in NM 5 Bucks!! and I just sold it for $45 on eBay!
All and all, stuff seemed to go for decent prices. I may bring items to them in the future since Sellersville appears to be gone! No new auction listings for a month now, but worst yet is that they are not answering emails or phone messages and they owe me quite a few shekels from my items sold during their February 22nd sale!! arrrgh!
Waiting for the gentleman who came in to check if I was interested possibly in the 180 boxes of comics he inherited from his Dad–’60s and up. Oh, yeah!
Last item! the Memorial Day Flea Market is almost sold out already – only 3 spots left as of 5/8. Act now if you want to set up!