Today an Oz treasure arrived to make its new home in my collection. But it wouldn’t have happened without Oz friends. I often explain to people that one of the great benefits I’ve experienced as an Oz Club member is the chance to network with other collectors. My collection absolutely would not be the same if I were in this hobby alone.
Last Saturday Facebook friend, John Merinsky, spotted a boxed set of the Little Oz Books with Jig-Saw Puzzles in a New Jersey thrift shop and posted a photo asking if it was worth the price. We all have our preferences, and this 1932 box happens to be the sort of thing that fills my dreams. Forty-five years and counting as an Oz collector, and never have I had a real shot at this piece.
I messaged John asking, if he wasn’t going to get them himself, could I have contact info for the seller to call?
He wasn’t. He did. I called. The seller accepted my offer. All’s good until…. They don’t take credit cards over the phone, or Paypal, or mailed checks. And they don’t ship.
I’m in Kansas City.
With my friend and fellow IWOC Board member, Dave Kelleher, in a messenger chat to help me think of people I knew in the area, I started dropping various friend’s cities into Google Maps. Visions of another Oz collector walking through that door and waltzing out with the puzzles while I frantically searched for a friend had me hyperventilating. John was a 90-minute drive, as were the first half-dozen other names we could think of in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Then Dave mentioned Melissa Tonnessen who I met at the Oz Club’s 2016 convention in Philadelphia.
To cut to the chase, within an hour Melissa was taking pictures of the store front as she pulled into the lot, swiping her credit card, and thanking the manager. She was genuinely excited to help me. (And she could take PayPal and ship.) A slight delay in the form of President’s Day meant the box didn’t head my way until Tuesday, but here it is. Mine. Thanks to John, and Dave, and Melissa.
What can be learned? Join the Oz Club. Attend conventions. Give social networking a shot. Meet other like-minded collectors. You’ll be glad you did; Oz friends are the real treasures.