Well isn’t that something. No sooner do I post my musings on the whereabouts of Balloon Boy Falcon Heene and his atrocious family on July 21st, when suddenly I start seeing news updates that the current owner of the hoax balloon is touting his wares.
Initially I posted that “After Richard’s release from prison, he made another bid for publicity when he attempted to auction off the original balloon for a cool $1,000,000, claiming the proceeds would be donated to help with the Japanese Tsunami relief work with the vague assurance that, “…the money would definitely go to the right charities.” The balloon ended up being sold for a more realistic $2,500 and was purchased by a Denver sporting goods store owner, who planned to display it for a while before chopping it up and selling the pieces to idiots.“
The truth is actually a lot more interesting than that: the balloon purchaser (going for the princely sum of $2,502) is a gentleman by the name of Michael Fruitman, describing himself on Twitter under the moniker @MikesStadiumSC as “I hope you enjoy the ramblings of Colorado’s best used cardboard salesman.” The surprisingly charming Mike is the owner of Mike’s Stadium Sports Cards, which does a fairly brisk trade dealing in collectable sports cards.
What makes it interesting is the fact that Mike is located in Aurora CO (specifically at 4022 S. Parker Road), the now infamous City which unwittingly hit headlines last week with the Batman cinema shootings by the University of Colorado student James Holmes. Mike has been the recipient of numerous thoughtful inquiries into his well-being with regard to the shootings, and is thankfully ok.
Anyhow, Mike has teamed up with a New York company called Topps who deal with sports and entertainment cards, and they have released the cards complete with a small piece of the aforementioned balloon in their 2012 Topps Baseball Allen & Ginter Relics Set. Mike has a realistic view of his purchase, commenting that, “If this was the Mona Lisa I would not send it to them to be cut up, but I understand what this is, I figured this was a way that any number of people are able to own a piece of Colorado history.”
Topp’s only needed to cut up about 5% of the huge balloon in order to collect enough samples to adorn their cards, leaving behind a still magnificent 95% which can still be found hanging from the ceiling in Mike’s shop.
In a nice little side note, the Heene family were legally forbidden from in any way cashing in on the sale of the balloon and were forced to donate the proceeds to charity (let’s hope Richard Heene used it for a good cause and not for the Heene Boyz music fund).