These advertisements were first seen in the BKKS magazine in the mid 1980’s. Tony Dallas was based in the Essex area and he decided to come into the Koi business with as big a bang as possible. His stocks came from a Koi shipper based near Tokyo’s Narita airport who purchased them all from the various auction sites that were common place in several parts of Japan at the time.
Tony had numerous ponds in his garden covered with poly-tunnels; he had no idea as to varieties nor could he differentiate between fair and abject junk. He based his retail prices per Koi on his own ‘unit cost per box’, which was a big mistake. This resulted in the ‘best’ 10% being snapped up immediately whilst the rest just sat there. However, it worked in another way when the ones buying the bargains (and they were bargains) announced all this and more in the magazines of the day where you would often hear reports of a 26” Kohaku being purchased for £150.00. As an aside, Tony was not the kind of person to fall out with, as several did discover later. Deals were always cemented by a handshake after hands had first been lubricated with spit.
Realising his potential, Tony continued to buy ‘box’ after ‘box’ of Koi in all sizes from his supplier. It was reported that in summer months, in his hey-day, he was importing 200 ‘boxes’ a week. Soon afterwards he hit on a wonderful idea, which, he thought, would instantly put all other Koi outlets out of business, and he would then control the UK market for Japanese Koi. His idea was soon to be advertised in the periodicals when we later saw – ‘Buy your Koi from Dallas, each will be supplied with a certificate to confirm that all will have an airtight Six Months Guarantee with them to cover ANY eventuality at all.’ It then went on to promise ‘free replacement’ to your satisfaction should any Koi be lost for any reason at all.
As predicted, this worked as desired and Koi enthusiasts from all parts of the UK made regular pilgrimages down there to buy new stocks and get their certificates. Of course, this was wide open to abuse and some Koi enthusiasts spotted the flaw within the reasoning very quickly after they realised that their certificates had neither a picture of the Koi, there was no documentation to give the owner’s name and nor was there any mention of variety on them. They also knew that Tony had no idea or recollection of the hundreds of Koi he’d sold because they were merely units or commodities to him.
Thus ensued that many Koi that had never seen Tony’s premises but had been found dead for whatever reason, were taken back for free exchange after a certificate had been borrowed first. This escalated to great proportions with amazing speed and soon, the vast majority of Tony’s ‘sales’ consisted of free replacements.
Soon afterwards we heard no more from Tony although his son went on to take the long-line eel fishing rights on a part of the River Thames. Another brave attempt that ended in failure!