With Ted in Indiana Joe and I unboxed and began setting up the display wall— the display wall is made up of your top tier books, some of them multiple thousands of dollars worth— so you don’t leave them in the hall when you close up— you box them up and secure them. This means that each morning you have to rebuild the wall but it’s well worth it if it means reduced theft. As we put up the books we noticed something was missing.
An X-Men #1 from 1963 valued at about $5k.
We finished putting up the rest of the wall and then started tearing through all the other boxes— boxes with hundreds of books in them, boxes that were items “on hold” for regular customers, boxes and boxes but no sign of the X-Men #1. We pulled up the photos we shot throughout the show. It’s a two fold reason; we can post to social media what we have for sale and we can also see what is missing if someone is looking through the booth. Everything is arranged alphabetically and by period so it’s not hard to find something looking at the pics. We scrolled through a bunch of photos and found one of Ted with a regular customer taken late the previous afternoon— and right behind him was the X-Men #1. So the book disappeared after this was taken. We text Ted a state away looking at a potential collection to buy to see if there’s a chance he took it with him— he did not.
We ended up filing a police report and then learned several other vendors were getting hit. Chicago Wizard is a tough show for theft. While it hurt to lose a $5k book (and Ted took it extremely well, much better than I would have) another dealer lost close to $70k in a pile of books brazenly taken off his wall from behind a curtained area while he was talking to a likely accomplice who distracted him.
Theft is a horrible thing, and I feel for the thieves if ever they get caught red handed because these dealers are pretty worked up about it— and rightfully so.
That night we went to KINGS for dinner— it’s a chain type of place but I had a nice Chicken wrap and the area was fun.
After dinner Joe and I shot some pool in the hotel lobby. Joe won two and lost one. He’s a pool shark. While we were playing a drunken bachelor party stumbled in and took root at the nearby bar, and they were getting pretty loud and rowdy. The hotel manager came over several times and warned them to keep it down.
It didn’t seem to help. They would soften up, apologize with glassy eyes and then get worked up all over again. I noticed the manager, who was about 6’4” and maybe 230lbs and several other employees watching them intently from the front desk. His irritation was clear.
As I turned in the pool balls at the desk I walked over to the manager and pointed to Joe. “I just want to make sure that when the cops come and break up whatever melee is coming that you’re clear that me and that guy over there are NOT part of the group, right?”
The manager looked at me and laughed. “Duly noted.”
The last thing I needed was for Joe and I to be hauled away by Chicago PD when the lobby erupted into a bar fight.
We spent a few more minutes in the lobby, finished our drinks and then headed upstairs. We heard the shouting just as we got in the elevator.
NEXT; Gibson’s Steak House