“Collecting” nightmares . . . Part 3 . . .

This is the third and final installment of my current series of posts dealing with “collecting” nightmares.

This third story relates to an incident that had the potential for being the most devastating of the three incidents.  In the final analysis, though, no real hard was done.

The incident occurred probably around 2002 — maybe 2001 or 2003 — and there is a remote chance that it was 2004.  I know that it occurred in a certain apartment that I was renting during the period 2001-2004.

As some of you perhaps know, I have a large collection of Frank Godwin comic-strip art — original pen-and-ink drawings from which Godwin’s Rusty Riley comic strip were printed.  The original art is much bigger than the final printed versions.  Generally, the original art for the Rusty Riley daily strips was roughly 6 inches by roughly 19 inches.

When you consider that the Rusty Riley strip ran 1948-1959, and that there were 313 or so daily strips per year, there were more than 3,600 of the daily Rusty Riley strips.  I think I probably have in the vicinity of 70 or so original Rusty Riley dailies.  I don’t know how many I had in 2002 or so — maybe half that many.

Many of them, maybe all of them, I was storing in a giant cardboard folder, almost like an artist’s portfolio.mmm

The portfolio, on the day in question, was leaning against the side of a sofa.

Now, at some time, I decided to consume a bowl of cereal — Cheerios, I believe.  I suppose that I was sitting on the couch.  I was almost done with the cereal, but there were some of the “O’s” left in the bowl, as well as quite a bit of milk.  (The bowl was probably some light, disposable type of thing.)

At this point, you might be able to guess what happened.

At some fateful moment, I bumped against the bowl, and it fell into the portfolio of original Frank Godwin art.  I don’t know how many strips were in the portfolio, but it was probably around thirty items.  (There may have ben some Sunday art in there as well — that, I don’t recall.)

Well, I immediately mobilized, and in mere instants the art was spread out on my floor.  Much of the art was unaffected — I’d say maybe five or so pieces received the brunt of the attack.  I think maybe another five were wet along the bottom edge, because the fluid tended to gather at the bottom of the portfolio.

Now India ink, which is likely the medium of the great majority, if not all, of Godwin’s comic-strip art, is often said to be insoluble in water (though I would not say so for certain), and I fully expected to be able to wipe off the milk without smearing the ink, and this turned out to be quite so.

It is possible that I even wiped some of the art with wet paper-towels, to try to remove the milk.

I worried for a few months that in time the places contacted by the milk might change color, but this never happened, and as far as I know, on normal examination, there is currently no sign whatsoever of the mishap having taken place!

By the way, I know of a few “mishaps” that have happened to other collectors, and I would guess that most collectors who have collected a while have experienced at least one or two horror stories.

—Tom Sawyer

August 7, 2013

About 568 words.

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