Recently on my travels through an unfamiliar town (which will remain nameless, for reasons that will become clear) I passed a couple of antique/junk shops. Parking outside a post office, I dispatched a parcel and poked my head into the shops. Imagine my excitement when in a dark corner of the second shop I spied not one but a whole clutch of dusty wall machines tightly stacked on top of each other. It's so uncommon to find anything like this nowadays I almost had to pinch myself. The sheer quantity was impressive, although I couldn't see half the machines because of the way they were stacked. Nothing exceptionally rare or unusual was visible but I spotted a couple of really nice little allwins I'd never seen before and a Bryans Payramid. Happily everything in the shop was priced up with little white labels which made it apparent that no great bargaining skills were called for. The Payramid had a higher price but, in view of its reasonable condition, was very buyable.
I tried not to attract attention while sussing out what was in the pile but the proprietor soon came over and my non-collector friend who accompanied me started praising the stock. Silently I willed him to shut the **** up! Encouraged by these comments the proprietor enthused over a particularly distressed electric wall machine on top of the pile, while I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince her that a machine that could not easily be made to work had little value. All the while I was calculating the total asking price for the machines, deciding how much less I would offer, and looking forward to her surprise when instead of haggling over a single machine I bid for the lot. Unfortunately though, without my cheque book and nothing like the cash in hand, I would have to agree a price and return. Any collector who has been in this situation will identify with the agony. If I do get a chance to go back, I fear the machines will be gone, because before shaking hands on the deal I woke up.
Most collectors remember the day some fabulous find escaped their grasp and few can resist recounting the tale - even to the fortunate recipient of the fabulous find. But I contend that only serious collectors are tormented by near misses day and night. Does anyone else suffer dreams filled with such mundane and convincing detail?