Well, my lovely girlfriend landed it, but what's a magician but someone who constantly takes credit for other people's moves? :P
So, let's get the big reveal out of the way, then we can move on to the story of how I got them. These are a sealed deck of Eleven Madison Park Monarchs:
So, what makes them such a white whale? Well...
A while back I posted a video to Instagram in which I color changed through a bunch of rare Monarch decks. There was conspicuously one absent that I highlighted in a picture I sent to a friend who asked me to price the decks I used on ebay:
Again, at the time there was one EMP Monarch listed on Ebay and this was it:
This is not uncommon. This deck is extremely rare. The cheapest I've seen a sealed one sell for is $1,200. In fact, out of curiosity, I just checked Ebay and there are two for sale (I've never seen more than one):
To give you an idea as to their rarity, here is Theory11's VP of Operations Lyle Borders in 2019 saying, in the Theory11 forums, that not even he has one of these decks.
I've also seen Theory11's CEO, Johnathan Bayme, say he does not have an EMP Monarch deck, though I couldn't find where I read that.
One becomes a magician because they love magic, not to become rich. So how is it that I have come to hold something that costs more than some used cars?
Liz (my smokin' hawt gf) supports my obsession/hobby, so she often checks Ebay and other sites for decks I want. She and some of my friends all got together and pitched in to get me one listed for $1,950 as a congratulatory gift for becoming a full-time magician. She paid for it even.
The next day the seller messaged her to say he'd changed his mind. She had to sit on hold with her bank to do a stop payment to the jerk. The jerk then re-listed it for $3,000 the next day (and still has it listed).
(That account is matttthewm. I'd recommend not buying from him or even messaging him to tell him he smells like mangy dog farts)
Liz proceeded to leave him a strongly-worded negative review (which was still kinder than he deserved). Among the things for which she railed on him was the fact that people invest a lot of time into hunting things like this down -- they're not just paper and cardboard.
After leaving this review, Liz got a private message. The person said he'd seen her review and subsequently looked at her purchasing history. He noted that it was obvious she was a collector or knew a collector. Liz told him about how she wanted to get her boyfriend, who collects cards, something special for committing to his dream of doing magic professionally and all the work she'd gone through to make it happen.
He wrote this back:
Liz asked him how much she needed to send him. He simply asked for the address and stated that he wished to remain anonymous.
The account no longer exists, but he made good on his word. They now have a place within my Theory11 collection.
I don't know what to say to Liz, to anonymous983...it's the next day and I'm still overwhelmed. Nothing I can say seems appropriate and no amount of "thank you" seems adequate. No man deserves to be as lucky in love or profession as I.
And to anonymous983...thanks. I wish there was something I could do to show my gratitude. The next time I get down on the world, I'll remember there are people like you in it.
And any time I begin to feel complacent in my new vocation, I'll look at my deck of EMP Monarchs and remember that people believe in me.
***** EDIT *****
Here's our little card club meeting for the first time in well over a year thanks to the pandemic. This is where I was given the EMP deck. We're all posed with the main collection.
Video of me receiving the EMP Monarchs is posted on my Patreon. Consider supporting my work there to get cool behind-the-scenes stuff like that. :)