Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Nancy Drew Canister Puzzle

The Nancy Drew canister puzzle is an unbelievably scarce item that is scarce enough to be called rare, which is a word I typically do not use ever.  It has not been up for sale in around 15 to 20 years, to anyone's knowledge.

The canister puzzle is so scarce that I listed it in my post, Ten Rarest Nancy Drew Books and Collectibles.

Sometime in the 2000s, an eBay seller listed a Nancy Drew canister puzzle along with a Hardy Boys canister puzzle together in the same listing.  As I recall, the listing had a Buy It Now of $25.  Naturally, the first person who saw the listing purchased it.  The listing was discussed in the Nancy Drew Sleuths Yahoo! group, and everyone agreed that the seller made a huge mistake in placing the Buy It Now on the listing.  It was great, however, for the person who saw the listing first.

Below is a screen cap from the above linked post.  I am pretty certain that the photo came from the listing for the two canister puzzles.

A Nancy Drew canister puzzle coming up for sale is pretty much unheard of and a rather exciting experience.  As I already mentioned, I do not believe one has sold since the one eBay listing of many years ago.  That is... until this month in which two canister puzzles have sold on eBay.

The first one was listed for auction on April 5 and closed on April 12.  Click on the image to see a larger version.

I saw the listing right after it was listed, and I intended to bid.  I did enter an aggressive bid, a good bit higher than the final closing bid, into eSnipe which was set to be placed at the very end of the auction.  For reasons that I cannot effectively articulate, I changed my mind and canceled the eSnipe bid seven minutes before the end of the auction.

I just decided that I didn't really need it that much, but I can't really explain why.  I was baffled, however, when the listing closed at $693.00.  I personally thought that it would close at above $1,000 due to how very few people have ever seen one.  Most major Nancy Drew collectors do not own this canister puzzle.  So I'm not sure what happened.  Perhaps I just think the canister puzzle is worth more than others do.

I didn't regret canceling my bid, although I felt like I probably shouldn't have canceled it.  I was happy for the winner of the auction.

So four days went by, and then another canister puzzle was listed on eBay.

I also saw this listing right after it was listed.  (The eBay feed is a beautiful thing.  I keep telling people to use it.  Hopefully, some of you do.)  The listing had a Buy It Now.  It was like a tasty snack placed right in front of me.  Oh, dear.

I was so tempted.  I looked at the pictures.  I decided to look at the one that had sold four days before.  I noticed that the first puzzle is white around the title while the second listing is yellow around the title.  I looked at the image from the old listing of years ago, and it is yellow.  This intrigued me.  The puzzle with white does not appear to be faded, since I would expect that the rest of the puzzle would show evidence of fading.  Just knowing that two variants appear to exist piqued my interest that much more.  You know where this is going, right?

Of course I bought it!

The price is more than I would have liked to have paid.  After all, I did back out on my bid for the first listing.  I'm okay with the purchase because I see this as being paid for by my stimulus payment of $1,200.  And I still have a little to spare.  It's all good.

This story has a good ending.  I must reassure you of that because of what comes next.

I opened my mailbox today to see the envelope with the canister puzzle in it.

I will tell you exactly what I thought when I saw the envelope.  What kind of a freaking idiot mails a $900 item in a bubble-lined envelope?  That doesn't sound nice, but it is what I thought.  This defies logic.  The seller has received positive feedback praising him for his packaging.  I am baffled.

I am the person who quarantines my packages for a few days.  No quarantine for this one!  I only delayed long enough to snap the above photos, then I cut the envelope open.  Fortunately, the puzzle is fine.  I snapped additional photos, seen below.  I did have to wash my hands several times during the process, because I am extremely careful with anything new that comes into the house due to the pandemic.

At least the canister did not get damaged.  I just noticed while finishing this post that the delivery confirmation requires a signature.  This package was left in my mailbox, and I didn't have to sign for it.  I checked the tracking, and it still says "out for delivery."  So the carrier didn't scan the tracking at all.  Now do you understand why I refuse to sell books online right now, why I refuse to use carrier pickup since I am not willing to walk into the post office?  I don't trust my mail carrier due to his many mistakes.

The canister is pretty small.  I expected it to be a little bigger.  I am not disappointed at all; I just didn't know the size.  The canister measures 5 1/2 inches tall by 4 inches in diameter.  It's a cute little canister.

It turned out that I did myself a favor in canceling my bid for the first puzzle auction.  By not bidding on that auction, I caused the auction to close lower than it would have, possibly by hundreds of dollars.  If I had bid higher on that auction, the seller of the second puzzle probably would have priced his puzzle higher.  Therefore, both puzzles would have cost more in the end.  Either way, I probably paid less, whether I would have won the first auction or not.

My final cost for the canister puzzle was $927.30.  I have to pay a hefty 9.1% local sales tax on my purchases.

But why was it mailed in an envelope?

Edited to add:  The seller finally listed his Hardy Boys canister puzzle today with a Buy It Now of $149.95.  It has sold.  The seller had offered it to me, but I declined since I am not interested in Hardy Boys collectibles.  The canister is red instead of blue like the one from the old auction.  It's interesting that there are two versions of each of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys canisters.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Padded envelopes are the bane of book collecting--but even worse are the thin, vinyl envelopes without any padding whatsoever that some sellers use for shipping. I'm glad it worked out OK for you with this puzzle.

Also, I think you came out way ahead with your purchase of the second auction. Photos of the first auction with the white can makes me very suspicious that it is sun bleached. I recall something similar on some books I have bought, where the yellow color on the DJ spine is faded but other colors have not. I suspect this is what happened with the first canister puzzle. In any case, if I could only have one, I would definitely prefer the second, yellow canister.