In April, I contacted friends who are mineral dealers about selling the majority of our mineral collection. It wasn't about the money despite that happening; it was about getting the specimens to good homes because the members of my family who would have to deal with it when I was gone really wouldn't know who to talk to or what it's real value was. You hear horror stories of grand/parents/sibling collections just being tossed in the garbage!
At that time we made arrangements for them to be here in Texas after the Northeast Summer shows were over, in August as they would then be heading back to California and would detour south.
As the time grew closer I started looking at what I wanted to keep and set some of them aside. These were minerals we had bought on special trips or occasions or had collected ourselves during the various road trips we took around the west. Erich loved certain minerals and we had many multiples of them - garnets, fluorite, stilbite and more so I figured I would only keep one or two of each of those as well.
Mid-August rolled around and I cleared my schedule for the weekend they would be here. I gathered boxes, bubble wrap, original labels, receipts, tape, pen and paper so we could get to work. They arrived late Friday afternoon so we just sat and caught up with our lives and during this time John started to look at and in the cabinets. His evaluation was it was a very good collection; he could see that we had over time we acquired better quality specimens and we had some that were excellent but that overall we had a wide range that would appeal to all collectors. This was very good news and so at this point we decided to go into New Braunfels and have an early dinner and get them back to the the cabin they were staying in so they could rest and get a good night's sleep after driving for 3 days and being on the road for over 2 months. After dinner I told them where to go for a good inexpensive breakfast and to just call me before they were to arrive Saturday morning.
John and Cathy arrived around 10 am and we got to work. Because they had their truck full of show stuff they had said that they could NOT take all of what they were interested in purchasing but would be able to take some as the Denver show was at the start of September and they wanted some specimens for that to start. John would select a mineral, look at the label on the bottom, I would look for the original paperwork, Cathy would document the mineral and then we discussed how much John would offer and even possibly sell it for and then Cathy would record the price and we wrap it up and mark it. We stopped for the day around 5pm and went to dinner and planned on repeating the days events on Sunday.
One mineral that John was VERY interested in was a Rhodochrosite rhombohedron that's gem quality - he did not take it (yet) he took pictures and measurements and sent it to a friend who could give him a more accurate valuation.
Sunday I woke up around my usual time due to the Boots alarm clock at 7-ish. John and Cathy arrived again around 10 am. We selected a few more minerals and John made arrangements to meet another dealer, in San Antonio in the late afternoon. I suggested that due to a late start to getting on the road home, they stop in Fort Stockton which is a 4-5 hour drive then on Monday get to Tucson which is a 12 hour drive and then Tuesday they could get back to So. Cal in 7 hours (which they did). Eventually we taped up the boxes, loaded the truck and I was handed a check.
Now for the rest of the story:
John called me the following week and said that the Rhodochrosite was worth A LOT!! and he wanted to sell it as a commission (80/20) at the Denver show and so could I box it, insure it, and get it mailed to him. I jokingly said that maybe I should hand deliver it to which he said SURE! and to bring some more minerals if I wanted. Which I said I would and few days after I had second thoughts because of all that I would have to do - stop the mail, get hotels, put Boots in the kennel, and more. Then a few days later I changed my mind again and went for it. Going to the Denver show was on our list of things to do this year because the pandemic canceled those plans. In 2 days I had my plans made and started selecting more minerals.
The plan was to leave on Tuesday and stop in Amarillo and then arrive in Denver Wednesday afternoon. Setup was on Thursday and I would help and make labels for what I brought. The show would open on Friday and I would assist in the booth but NOT make any actual sales. In the afternoon I wandered the rooms for the location were we were. Saturday I helped open and close and in between went to the other locations to peruse the wares. Sunday morning I helped open and at noon, I headed home again via Amarillo.
There is no major Interstate to get from San Antonio to Denver so it was some Interstate and State highways most of which were 2 lane with passing sections or 2 lane passing sections. There were State highways marked as 75 mph then 55, 45, 35 and suddenly you are in a very small town of 2 - 6 - 12 blocks with maybe a single gas station and a fast food restaurant and many boarded up store fronts. Northwest Texas is FLAT with lots of wind farms, cotton farms, sorghum farms, corn farms and lines of power poles that go on for ever. After Amarillo I did a quick pass through Oklahoma and into Colorado which added cattle, donkeys, goats, and corn to the mix. On my way home I did take the I-25 and cut through New Mexico before getting back to Texas and the State Highways.