A small taste...
'In the early 80’s, I purchased a house across the street from my home in Phoenix, Arizona. The place I bought was a “beater.” The carpet was about 20 years old, the paint was peeling and the plumbing as in serious need of repair. I worked on the house for several months, adding paint, making repairs and just generally bringing it into the Twentieth Century. Then I put it up for sale.
Among the first to look at the house was a couple from Florida. They had just moved to town and were looking a for place to buy. Although they liked what they saw in the house, they didn’t have enough cash for the full down payment.
I thought that would be the end of dealings but it wasn’t. The couple put their heads together and came back with an offer that would change my life. They owned an antiquities store, they said, a place where a person could buy a piece of history. They had antiques, jewelry, old documents and signatures from many of the world’s most famous and interesting people. Would I, they asked, take $30,000 in trade from the store as part of the down payment? I thought about the offer overnight. The real estate market wasn’t that great at the time. There was a glut of houses on the market and if I turned the offer down I could count on owning the property for a long time before I unloaded it. And besides, owning a piece of history didn’t seem like such a bad idea.
The next morning I took the trade.
At the store I was astonished at what I saw. Historic documents were framed beautifully, signed baseballs occupied their own little cubby holes, signed basketball jerseys filled picture frames as large as Shaq’s torso. There were cancelled checks from the rich and famous, signed letters, manuscript pages, basketballs, footballs, boxing gloves, playing cards. Some of the names represented where Charles Darwin, Frank Sinatra, Magic Johnson, Farrah Fawcett, Mick Jagger, President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jackie. The infamous were there, too, including Adolph Hitler, and Evel Knievel. I remember thinking that this was like walking through a museum where you could actually buy the exhibits.
I was hooked....'