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Steph

Michael Warnelis

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Just heard that we lost Mike to cancer on July 17th.

He was a member here and well-known for his marketing of Jabos.  

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I heard of this days ago and was saddened to hear the news.  I met Mike when he first came to an Ohio show to offer the (then new) Jabo Classics boxes.  Mike took a leap of faith that there would be collector appeal - and I can say that the initial reception was quizzical and cool.  Antique and vintage collectors didn't quite know what to make of mass-produced modern marbles in nicely organized boxes.  The initial asking price per box was low, and I think there were not so many early buyers of the Classics boxes - as vintage collectors tried to grapple with the very new idea.  It is one thing to have an idea - and another to make it real and navigate the myriad of challenges that go with bringing a small facet of change to an established field. 

Mike had the creative idea and the willingness to take the chance to sell into a collector market overwhelmingly dominated by antique and vintage collectors.  That took confidence and some risk-taking.  Over time - many collectors came to accept this unique idea and packaging approach as a new dimension to the marble collecting hobby.  It was a visually artistic way to showcase a modern manufacturer's production in rows reminiscent of vintage retail boxes.  It gave collectors a way to snapshot both the consistency and the diversity of one marble color type in neatly arranged rows - without needing to assemble examples from multiple sources over time.  For students of marble making, it showed glass flow, color variation and consistency over a relatively short window of time.  Mike's approach to organizing and presenting those qualities in a sealed box with a clear cover gave collectors something we hadn't had before.  They are visually appealing and yet simple in their packaging.  They tell a story.

Mike continued producing boxed sets over a span of years, giving collectors a diverse series of sets to choose from and collect.  His work in producing these boxed sets, taken as a whole, tells a story spanning years of marble production.  In one way it is a rich snapshot of modern machine-made marble production, well organized and presented.  Mike Warnelis did a great service for current and future marble collectors in bringing his idea to life and putting many of these sets in our hands.  As we have learned in collecting antique and vintage toy marbles, the significance of specific marble types, packaging and ephemera take time to be fully appreciated.  It takes multiple generations of collectors to study, discuss and appreciate collectibles to their full potential, and I believe this is true of toy marbles.  I believe that Mike's work has quite some time before it is fully appreciated for its full impact.

Marble collectors and the marble collecting hobby have benefited from Mike's creativity and willingness to take the step in producing these many boxed sets over the years.  Current and future collectors are better for his time among us and for the gifts that he has given us.

 

Alan Zimmerman

 

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I am sorry to hear that.  Mike did a great job with the Jabo Classic type boxes with different style marbles complementing each other in the boxes.  I can't remember if I met him at a WVMCC Show but I dealt with him over the years with the boxes.  Prayers to his family and friends.

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I’m so saddened to hear that news. Like Alan (nicely done Alan) I met Mike at a show in Ohio nearly 20 years ago as he was introducing a lot of us to the wonderful world of JABO. He put a lot of time and creativity into those sets - he really knew how to market the product. Mike was a lot of fun at the shows, too, I miss those days. Rest in peace Mike. 

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I always enjoyed being with Mike many times at Jabo and different shows. He was a asset for collectors and will be for many years ahead. Mike made some special box sets for me and his self. I supplied the marbles and he picked the marbles, made the boxes, and filled them.  Then we split the final box sets. More good memories. 

Rest in peace Mike

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