Up at 8.00 a.m. ( O.K. - 9.30 a.m. for one nameless auctioneer). Nevertheless, we are on time at the Museum (Claudio's garage) at 10.00 a.m. Some 980 non-pictorial tins line the walls and 20 filing cabinets hold 150,000 packs. Some 140,000 appear to be flat flip tops although the countries, republics and islands covered appears to be very comprehensive. We all favour the hull and slides and while G.B. has nearly 10,000 packs in total the hull and slides represent about 10%. I saw about 20 packets not in my own collection.
Chad further enhances Anglo/Italian relations when he accidentally demolishes Claudio's chair. Claudio wants 80,000 Euros for the collection including 3000 Euros for 20 ageing filing cabinets. The delegates withdraw to a bar to discuss the proposition. Valuations range from low - to even lower. We conclude the price is rather optimistic! Graham is more impressed with the latest unisex porcelain toilet. This has no pedestal or urinal, but lovely raised footpads and minute waste opening. Let us return to the collection. We feel the benchmark is gauged by the price of the 20 aged filing cabinets at 3.000 Euros (£2100). Each member can probably determine his own valuation of the whole collection by this indicator.
An early exit followed Claudio's homely hospitality and this allows Chad to demonstrate his well honed linguistic and social graces. Rejected by a Co-Op as he was not a member he soon set off the alarms by attempting to exit the wrong door. Rejected by the barmaid who twice declined his offer of marriage he was eventually consoled by his expensive duty free bottle of wine at 69 cents (49p).
This was certainly Mission Impossible given the price of the collection, but an experience nonetheless.
Ed. Note: For those who are thinking they missed out on a 'jolly' I should say that each member of the delegation was self funding, with no club funds used.
Two of the members who stayed longest in the bar came home to be struck down by an Italian 'flu bug', which put them out of action for a while.