The box that held the Orange B3's
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:15 pm 
 

deimos3428 wrote:
Adam Shultz wrote:I agree with Al. Everyone just send me your copies and I will get a good tally together on this worthless item. :D

Ok, they're on their way. We were supposed to shred them first, right? 8O 8O 8O Right?


Of course, I mean thats what I did with mine too. :twisted:


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:26 pm 
 

I've never doubted that at LEAST 200 copies made it out, and I suspect more. There are just far too many out there.


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 10:17 pm 
 

Another small point. It is clear that copies got past the first level of distribution. That is the large distributors who supply the individual hobby shops. You can bet that TSR did not ship those modules in those small boxes to distributors. Most likely, the "box" pictured here was packaged in larger crates then split open at the distributor who sent them down to the next level and so on. The problem is that it is extremely unlikely an individual hobby shop would receive a "box" of them.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 2:14 am 
 

Firstly, as I read the B3 page information again, there's a bit of a mis-statement there.  From the info that I've received over the years, the module never made it out of the TSR warehouse.  Thus, there really wasn't a "recall", just a "destruction order".  I need to change the word "recall" there.

Secondly, I dug up the e-mail I received about four years ago from an ex-TSR staffer.  I left out a line or two which identifies him, since he wished to remain anonymous (he's afraid of possible legal action -- a paranoia probably induced from working for TSR during those crazy 1980's....

Sorry to take a bit in replying. And I saw the updates on your site. The answer to the question about how did one box make it is now somewhat awkward. When I worked in the warehouse and the order came to destroy the B3's, there was no idea that they would become valuable. We were all curious as to what was in there. You see, most of us were aware of Jean Wells and her taste in literature. I can't remember the name of the popular series of fantasy/sci-fi paperbacks at the time, but she was really into them. So, of course, a box of 9044's (72, the smallest bulk quantity in the warehouse) was lifted from the trash later that evening. I won't say who did it, and I certainly don't want to implicate myself. Still, there were several copies floating around, and not in the editorial or creative offices. I had about a dozen at one time.

I read elsewhere the comments on whether the stuff inside was really all that controvertial, and it would be good to remember that there was a LOT of controversy about D&D to at that time in the late 70's and early 80's. Remember that kid in Texas that went down in the steam tunnels, and all the right-wing christian Moral Majority concern? When B3 made it back from the printer and there was this sado-imagery inside, the s**t hit the fan.

It wasn't really Day 1 that this item became valuable. It was later at GenCon in 1982, one of the other warehouse workers sold a copy at the auction for something over $100. I can't remember the exact amount. We were all flabbergasted. You have to understand that was a bold move and certainly could've been risky for that person. They were supposed to be destroyed. And, here several of us were sitting on copies. I actually gave several copies to friends when I was later working at Mayfair Games in exchange for some other game items including Dragon #'s 1-6.

BTW, I left TSR in May of 1983 on "Black Friday". There were about 50 or more of us in the first wave of layoffs. The company had some serious financial difficulties due to the inabilitiy to forecast its sales curve at the peak of popular D&D mania. There were two or three more layoffs over the next few months.


As to the veracity of all of this, I leave that up to future investigation.  I believe the guy is telling the truth, but he (or several people) may be misremembering certain pertinent details.

Personally, I'd guess that two boxes of 72 (or four of 36, or whatever) have survived.  I don't believe the market has seen more than a hundred of these change hands (probably less than 72, actually), and even assuming that another 72 copies have never been out of collectors' hands, that only leaves you with 144.  Certainly, the number of orange B3's that are sitting forgotten in someone's closet is minimal.  These were collector's items from the day they were made public, and known as such.

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:03 am 
 

Thanks for the additional details, Scott.  Here's what gets me:

FoulFoot wrote:
So, of course, a box of 9044's (72, the smallest bulk quantity in the warehouse) was lifted from the trash later that evening.


That alludes to one individual salvaging one box, apparently on the very evening of the day the disposal was ordered.  Surely, that can't have been the only instance.  I wonder how long the "trash" sat there before it was removed.  Once word got around among the guys working in the warehouse that someone had lifted a box, it's almost a certainty that others would have done the same.

  


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:15 am 
 

afoolandhis$ wrote:Thanks for the additional details, Scott. Here's what gets me:

FoulFoot wrote:
So, of course, a box of 9044's (72, the smallest bulk quantity in the warehouse) was lifted from the trash later that evening.


That alludes to one individual salvaging one box, apparently on the very evening of the day the disposal was ordered. Surely, that can't have been the only instance. I wonder how long the "trash" sat there before it was removed. Once word got around among the guys working in the warehouse that someone had lifted a box, it's almost a certainty that others would have done the same.


Agreed there. :)   I think Jeff's box finding also kind of disproves that as a possibility as well.  For one if the smallest box holds 72, than how come Jeff's box only holds ~ 36.


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:53 pm 
 

Agreed as well -- multiple boxes were probably lifted. However, a2jeff stated his box is 2.25 inches tall... I doubt you could fit 36 modules in that. More like 18, or even less. So perhaps four or more of these boxes were originally in an even larger box, which was the "smallest bulk size in the warehouse".

Jeff, could you stack some modules in there and see how many actually fit?

In any case, I *do* doubt that there's anywhere near 1,000 of these modules out there. There simply hasn't been that many changing hands. In the last few years, there's maybe been 5 or 6 a year (on average) being sold? With the speculative worth of these things approaching (or exceeding) $1,000, many collectors have already put theirs up for sale. Several of the same copies seem to recirculate, too. I don't see 900+ modules lying forgotten, or locked in collectors' vaults.

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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:53 am 
 

FoulFoot wrote:Jeff, could you stack some modules in there and see how many actually fit?
Foul


I'll take another look at this.

My original estimate was based on an attempt at what you described.  I measured the inside of the box height, and the thickness of the module.  36 OB3 mods @ 1/16 each gets you 2.25 inches.   The OB3 is definitely smaller than 1/8 thick and closer to 1/16 but may be a little thicker than that.  

If everyone would send me their OB3, I'd gladly stack them up and see where we land.   :wink:

  


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:07 am 
 

a2jeff wrote:If everyone would send me their OB3, I'd gladly stack them up and see where we land. :wink:


Sorry Jeff, I already shredded all of mine and mailed them to Adam. 8O {j/k}(I wish that I had some to shred)

a2jeff wrote:
FoulFoot wrote:Jeff, could you stack some modules in there and see how many actually fit?
Foul


I'll take another look at this.

My original estimate was based on an attempt at what you described. I measured the inside of the box height, and the thickness of the module. 36 OB3 mods @ 1/16 each gets you 2.25 inches. The OB3 is definitely smaller than 1/8 thick and closer to 1/16 but may be a little thicker than that.



On a more serious note though, I just measured 36(21 of the aforementioned A3s BTW) shrinked modules stacked together and it comes to ~ 4 1/4 inches. :) However when I stack 24 together, it comes out to be almost exactly 2 1/2 inches. So assuming that they are packed in that box pretty tight, I would have to say that the box that you have Jeff originally contained 24.

<edit> When thinking of this further and doing the math, 3 boxes of 24 insode of a case would in fact be 72, which could account for the box the former TSR employee mentioned. With that being said though, I still think that there are more than that floating around. Too much evidence to indicate otherwise. Thoughts??


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:41 am 
 

Brian, even though I agree with your math, for some reason a crate of three boxes of 24 modules each doesn't make sense to me.  I used to work in a bookstore in WI, and unpacked many shipping boxes loaded with books, including AD&D books and modules.  Granted, those boxes came from distributors, not printers, so the basis for comparison is a bit weak.  Still, quantities tended to come in round numbers.  It's just a heck of a lot easier pack things and to square the stock with the invoices when you deal in multiples of 2 or 5.

If I had to guess, I would say 4 boxes of 24 modules in a crate.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:47 am 
 

I have been thinking about this further and ther more I think about it the more I am beliving that not all OB3s where trashed in the dumpster of TSR. Here is why I think this. If you all remember back in May when Toymom auction off that opened copy, she mentioned that this was part of a large gaming lot that she purchased from a large collection in souther Wisconsin. From the auction:
toymom wrote:That being said... this item does have a few minor flaws, but appears to me to be in excellent shape. I purchased it as part of a collection here in southern, WI... not far from where D&D got it's start. I understand that you would all like to hold and look over this item before bidding. Since that is not an option, I have taken the time to take additional photos of this item for you to look over. I have taken close-ups of the exteriors and have photographed every interior page. I have supersized photos available through links from the regular sized images. I highly encourage you to look over the photos before placing your bid. I am sure you will be happy with this item, but I want you to be sure as well.


Here is the link to the auction for reference:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 36052&rd=1

On the site here back in May, she also posted the names on some of the other books from the collection, none of which appear to be anyone affiliated with TSR:

toymom wrote:There is a name on one of the books.... let me find it.... ok found it. There are actually a couple different names. So far I found Chuck Mann and Bruce Wallin. These were on the rules books.




This too me alomost indicates that this was a copy not from a collector, but from a gamer. If everyone at the time who worked for TSR knew that this was going to be a collectible that, in most circumstances all copies would have been left unopened, particularyl if only 1 box of 72 was saved. This would leave room for a few random spares that were opened for editiorial use like the one Adam has. However, being that this copy appears to be from a gamers collection, this could be evidence of it being purchased by someone ignorant of its collectablity and was used as a game copy. Any thoughts on this??


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:12 am 
 

Brian,
See the 2 PMs I just sent you about the names in those auction items, and let me know what you think.
:wink:

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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:25 am 
 

bclarkie wrote:On a more serious note though, I just measured 36(21 of the aforementioned A3s BTW) shrinked modules stacked together and it comes to ~ 4 1/4 inches. :) However when I stack 24 together, it comes out to be almost exactly 2 1/2 inches. So assuming that they are packed in that box pretty tight, I would have to say that the box that you have Jeff originally contained 24.


If A3 is the same thickness as OB3 then I agree with you.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:36 am 
 

a2jeff wrote:
bclarkie wrote:On a more serious note though, I just measured 36(21 of the aforementioned A3s BTW) shrinked modules stacked together and it comes to ~ 4 1/4 inches. :) However when I stack 24 together, it comes out to be almost exactly 2 1/2 inches. So assuming that they are packed in that box pretty tight, I would have to say that the box that you have Jeff originally contained 24.


If A3 is the same thickness as OB3 then I agree with you.


I would have to say that it is pretty close. I will check the page count when I get home from work in a few hours.  IIRC the OB3 has 28 pages, so if the A3 has 28-30 pages, it should be accurate. :)


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:01 pm 
 

I am thinking that it is possible the OB3 box pictured was placed inside of another box that was shipped.

Here is what I mean, say the pictured box holds 24 modules. These are what the modules are packed in. 3 boxes of 24 modules go into one larger box for shipment which is where you go a Box of 72.

The reason I think this is a possibility is this: Think how unorganized it would be to have one box holding 72 individual modules! And that was the smallest quantity? What about someone who got a box of 144 - I can't believe these would arrive, be opened and 144 loose modules would be there.

No, I think that these wholesale orders went out to distributors and it wouldn't do for them to have large quantities of loose modules. A distributor would get a box of 72, out of which they could further distribute the smaller boxes of 24 to local gamestores, KB toys or whatever.



Just a thought . . .


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:32 pm 
 

a2jeff wrote:
bclarkie wrote:On a more serious note though, I just measured 36(21 of the aforementioned A3s BTW) shrinked modules stacked together and it comes to ~ 4 1/4 inches. :) However when I stack 24 together, it comes out to be almost exactly 2 1/2 inches. So assuming that they are packed in that box pretty tight, I would have to say that the box that you have Jeff originally contained 24.


If A3 is the same thickness as OB3 then I agree with you.


Well, I just checked one of my opened A3s and sure enough it has exactly 28 pages, the same amount as the OB3.  With that, I think we can safely say that Jeff's box had 24 OB3s originally in it.  Question is where do we go from here?


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:56 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:Well, I just checked one of my opened A3s and sure enough it has exactly 28 pages, the same amount as the OB3. With that, I think we can safely say that Jeff's box had 24 OB3s originally in it. Question is where do we go from here?


I agree, I got out a caliper and remeasured, and OB3 is larger than 1/16 and smaller than 1/8. At 3/32, you get 24 copies = 2.25 inches of box space.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:31 pm 
 

I know we are fixated on that 72 number, but I have to with afoolandhis$. It is just bizarre to think they shipped anything from the manufacturer in odd numbers like that. Instead of 24 per box, it would make much more sense if there were 20, 25 or 30.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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