Years ago, I wrote a four-page article explaining all of the lessons I learned as a child about money and investing from Scrooge McDuck and my life is a testament that they worked. It sounds almost comical (sorry – couldn’t help it) but it’s true. A fictional duck was one of my earliest childhood financial advisors.
I finally have it – Scrooge McDuck’s Evening Adventure is mine! After more than 9 years of waiting, searching, and trying to find it, again, it is mine!
To understand how much this means, you need the back story. Here’s the tale of seeking and lost treasure. Collectors will understand it well. I know about half a dozen of the other big Carl Barks and Scrooge McDuck collectors out there still lurk on this blog several times a week so I’m sharing the victory. Although this piece is relatively inconsequential, it is the one that has evaded my grasp for far too long. To my fellow Barks -inspired buyers, you know the drill: I wasn’t going to invite competition by talking about it before it was in my possession.
Generally speaking, I don’t often talk about my Scrooge obsession or other collections very much now that the blog has grown larger but this one is too good not to shout from the mountaintops.
Back in 2004 or so, I attended the birthday party of a college friend, Jocelyn, at an Italian restaurant in Central New Jersey. Several other college friends were with us and we were walking into the restaurant for our reservations when we passed a gift shop. In the window, there was a new, limited Edition 24k gold accented Scrooge McDuck figurine for something like $120 to $150. It was made by Lenox and went under the title Scrooge McDuck’s Evening Adventure.
I got excited, turned to find Aaron and tell him where I was going, but he was busy talking to one of the girls in the group. I began to pivot, hoping to pop into the store quickly. I knew I could catch up with the party in under three minutes. As I made it about 45 degrees to my left, I felt someone hook my arm and jerk me down the sidewalk before exclaiming irritatingly, “No. You’re not buying that.”
It was so violent and unexpected that I was confused. No one talked to me like that (no one should talk to anyone like that), let alone told me how to spend my money. The behavior was so rude, so bizarre, and such an overstep of appropriate boundaries that I didn’t even react, trying to analyze what had just happened, when Aaron must have seen my face. He gave me a look like, “What’s wrong?” but before I could say anything, we were standing at the door of the restaurant, where the hostess immediately began seating us. The rest of the group that was joining us for dinner was already there and running away at this point would have been inconsiderate. Had it not been Jocelyn’s birthday and her family there, I, who only raise my voice in anger about once every five or ten years, would have thrown down in the middle of the sidewalk.
Finally sitting at the table, Aaron leaned over to me and whispered, “What just happened?”. I told him and then explained what I had found. I had planned on excusing myself to go to the restroom to run next door and buy the Scrooge McDuck piece while no one was looking, but between the multiple courses and the birthday festivities, there was never a good chance. The moment dinner had concluded, I looked at Aaron and he got the signal. After saying my goodbyes, he ran interference for me as I made it out the door. We met up and jogged next door … to find the store had closed.
“What were you thinking? You never let anyone tell you what to do; I’m surprised you didn’t break out of a 2×4 and start pulling wrestling moves to stop anyone who was between you and that thing. It looks like it was designed for you.” Aaron asked. “I know.”
We decided to return later that week to buy Scrooge, but with only a small supply of the statues in existence, it had been sold. I couldn’t find it anywhere.
For the past almost-decade, I have checked auctions, private collectors, collectible stores, and specialty retailers for one of those Scrooge McDuck figurines. I never mention it to anyone who might be competing with me given the limited supply; it’s been the single most sought after item on my personal collection list and I didn’t want to create competitors for it for those of you who have collections of your own.
The Search Continued for Scrooge McDuck’s Evening Adventure Nearly a Decade with No Luck
From time to time, I’d barely miss an auction or a listing. They would sell for anywhere between $50 and $400 depending on how many people saw it before the auction ended. In two cases, I didn’t notice an auction until mere days after it had concluded. By this point, I was willing to pay whatever it took, regardless of price. The utility of finally adding the sought after piece to my collection far exceeded the nominal cost of the cash I’d have to give up in the transaction. This relatively affordable Lenox Evening Adventure had become my Great White Whale; elusive and always on the horizon.
But now? I won! It’s mine.
This afternoon, I was staring out the window, looking at the dark skies and wind storm. It reminded me of the windy night when I passed Scrooge all those years ago on Jocelyn’s birthday so I thought I might as well do a quick search. It had been about a month since I last looked.
And there he was. An auction in California on eBay. Someone had one in a display case for years, decided to sell it, and listed it at $82 plus $5 in shipping.
Not only did I end up getting it, I am going to pay the equivalent of 43¢ on the dollar for the inflation-adjusted initial purchase price. Of course, I had to give up 9 years of enjoying it so it would have been better to pay for the figurine back then but all things considered, it makes up for some of the wait time.
I’ve never hit the “buy it now” button faster. Scrooge McDuck’s Evening Adventure on its way from San Francisco to Kansas City and will soon join the others in the display cases.
Now, I need to figure out where he will go in the pantheon of Scrooge McDuck collectibles …
If this is how the big game hunters or treasure hunters felt back in the 19th century, I almost can’t blame them for their singular obsession. I haven’t been this excited about something for as long as I can remember. My screams of victory were so over the top and uncontrolled I probably sounded like Latrice Royale, who has one of the most famous laughs in the world.
This is the only thing that remained on my list from my early twenties; the only loose end from my college days not tied up. Now it’s done. Closed. I am ecstatic.