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Cyberauction #1104 Is Posted


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CyberAuction #1104 is up on my website and on icollector.

The full catalogue and how to participate are at http://www.blocksite.com/marble-auctions/block-s-marble-cyberauctions/

This is the start of the Joe Rocco collection. Here's a little writeup that is in the catalogue about Joe.

Joe owned Strider Records in Greenwich Village and began collecting in the 1960s. (Go to http://jazzcollector.com/guest-columns/guest-column-more-tales-of-the-hunt/#more-3520 to see a great story about a record deal Joe was involved in. All the marbles in this auction came out of the basement described at the end of the story). He was known in The Village (and throughout the metropolitan area) to be a marble collector. Customers would often bring marbles into the store in the 70s and 80s and trade them for records. He also frequented the Manhattan flea markets. Can you imagine what it must have been like to go to flea markets back in the 1970s and 1980s? I can still remember Joe and his wife, Marie, coming to the marble shows that my dad held in Fairfield and Westport Connecticut in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Joe passed away in 1993 and Marie packed the entire collection into boxes and put them in the basement of their house. Nothing was touched in the intervening 19 years. I found the boxes still stacked the way they were back in 1993. When I started unpacking boxes I found a number of marbles that we had auctioned back in the late 1980s and early 1990s in Block’s Box Absentee Marble Auctions 1 through 9.

This collection offers a unique window into marble collecting habits prior to the explosion of interest in marbles in the 1990s. Back in the 70s and 80s, marble collecting was still in its infancy as a hobby. Many antique dealers considered them a novelty and didn't take the hobby seriously. This stage of the hobby was prior to the point where the really colorful and Mint handmades were coming over from Europe, and before the Berlin Wall came down. It was very difficult to find quality handmade marbles at that time. Large Mint handmades were especially rare, and many collectors bought damaged handmades and had them polished. In addition, virtually no one was collecting machine made marbles. The Larry Castle/Marlow Peterson book did not come out until 1989 and knowledge of machine made companies and product lines was very limited.

Joe was a true collector. He bought what he liked and what appealed to him. He wasn't in the hobby as an investment, he reveled in the sheer joy of having beautiful marbles to look at. Many of the large handmades, as is typical of this period, are polished so that you can see the internal design. There are a lot of handmade rarities in this collection, although all are not Mint. On the machine made side, Joe liked colors and patterns, so there is an interesting predominance of Christensen Agates and very early Alleys. There are also the more typical Akros and Peltiers. Joe also bought contemporaries that he liked. Since his collection froze at 1993, there are not many contemporaries, and only very early artists are represented. In addition, most of the contemporaries are not signed, as this did not become the norm until later in the 1990s.

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Aren't those something!

I spent the 60's in Greenwich Village, but wasn't quite old

enough to frequent record shops until the start of the 70's.

Apparently I never found his place.

Would have enjoyed the marbles, if I'd known.

Thanks for the interesting and fun history. ( :

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  • 3 weeks later...

Couldn't find any photos from those early shows :-(

Just a reminder

Marble CyberAuction #1104 is this Sunday night at 8PM NYC time. This is a live chat room auction with prior absentee bidding. The catalogue can be viewed at http://www.icollector.com/auction.aspx?as=24641 . You can also register to bid at that site, as well as leave absentee bids or watch/bid live on Sunday night. I have also set up a page at http://www.marblecyberauction.com for auction night that has the icollector live page on the left side of the screen and the auction chat room on the right hand side. It's pretty ugly.

The auction is part of the collection of Joe Rocco of Brooklyn. The history of the collection is appended to the beginning of the PDF version of the catalogue, which you can find at http://www.marblecollecting.com/marble-auctions/block-s-marble-cyberauctions/ , I'll give a short synopsis here.

Joe began collecting in the 1960s. He was owner of Strider Records in Greenwich Village, and customers would bring marbles to trade to him for records. Go figure! Joe was an avid collector until his death in 1993. I remember him coming to the first marble shows my Dad ran in Connecticut back in the 1970s. Joe's collection was packed away into the basement by his widow immediately following his death and has sat there ever since. She sold the house recently, so that was the impetus for moving the collection out of the basement. It consists of handmades and machine mades, with some very early contemporaries thrown in.

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