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Share In My Woes (Short Story)

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Valued Member
United States
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Posted 01/16/2019   11:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add fini32 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I recently came upon this stamp lot on Craigslist. It was what some may call the perfect situation: someone had found a box of old stamps at an estate collection and wasn't interested in stamps. The box had over 300 glassine envelopes loaded with stamps- he was selling it for 50 bucks. It looked like they were labeled with the scott number too, but the pictures were taken too far away to be clear on what the numbers were. So I called the man up, asked him if he could take more pictures, specifically of envelopes with numbers below 500. Well, turns out that as a result of this, he did a little more digging around in the box, found a glassine envelope in the back with the scott number 356, looked it up and found out the stamp was over 4000 dollars, took it to a dealer where it was confirmed genuine, and called me back to tell me he's not selling the box. What's worse, he proceeded to hang up the phone on me after telling me he wasn't selling it without so much as a response from my end. This guy found his gold and now he's keeping it. Meanwhile, I'll sit here and keep thinking about why I led this man to the pot....


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350 Posts
Posted 01/16/2019   11:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Louise411 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hard lesson but a good lesson.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1189 Posts
Posted 01/16/2019   11:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
By the same token, you could have purchased the lot at the price asked and have found there was nothing.

Anytime you look at a lot of stamps offered it will always be a chance that what is offered is not worth the price asked.

I guess it all depends upon the level of risk you are willing to take.
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United States
42 Posts
Posted 01/16/2019   11:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add fini32 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
True. I'll be kicking myself for a few days, but it is indeed a lesson to be learned. I will definitely keep things to myself more often when buying lots. Also, I learned to be careful with retired sellers who have too much time on their hands, as they might get bored and look into things they previously never cared about.
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Edited by fini32 - 01/16/2019 11:58 pm
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Posted 01/17/2019   04:02 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
No worries.
Without a certification the stamp was worth nothing. Odds it was a uncertified 356 are millions to one (the odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000.)
So please do not loose any sleep over this.
Don
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United States
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Posted 01/17/2019   09:30 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dudley to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
i agree with Don. "Took it to a dealer where it was confirmed genuine" is no guarantee it was actually genuine. The owner probably knows as little about dealers as he does about stamps.
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Posted 01/17/2019   09:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
So there was one glassine out of hundreds that was marked with the number of a rare stamp and stuffed away unceremoniously in the box. I would not be going out on a limb to say that it is nothing to lose sleep over. I cannot tell you how many times that I go through large lots and the previous owner had squirreled away an item or two or three marked as rare that was/were actually not. They probably thought that it was but found out at some point that it was not and thus the reason it was not safely stored by itself. Sleep well.
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Posted 01/17/2019   09:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add CanadaStamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
rogdccam - my experience exactly. I've bought lifetime collections and spent many hours going through them - only to find there was nothing there to speak of. Now that's not to say I didn't come up with some catalogue value - but that measure is - as we all know - essentially meaningless.
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Canada
952 Posts
Posted 01/17/2019   09:56 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmot to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When I first inherited the family collection, I got excited many times by finding something "rare". And then 99% of the time after a bit of research turned out to be common/forgery. Now I assume I have the most common variety and I end up pleasantly surprised in a few instances.

And since I've been hit by lighting twice, my odds of finding something truly rare must be even lower than the norm :)
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Posted 01/17/2019   11:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add archerg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
More likely it was not a 356 but the dealer bought the lot.

If the dealer passed, today you could be the proud owner of $50 of hamster cage bedding.

Best to move on. It was not meant to be, thanks for the story.
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Posted 01/17/2019   12:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Boxcar1954 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the story, fini32.

For me the same principle governs whether in your situation, or at a show, auction or where ever the 'near miss' occured... There is ALWAYS more material out there.
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United States
270 Posts
Posted 01/17/2019   12:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add craigk to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A $4k 356 tossed haphazard in a cigar box? As stated earlier, probably not the real deal. High possibility of a faulty 338 with perfs trimmed.
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Posted 01/17/2019   1:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hmmm...wasn't the recently recovered missing Jenny in a cigar box?

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Posted 01/17/2019   2:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
No. I found it in my sock drawer.
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Posted 01/17/2019   8:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ClassicPhilatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think one of the bigger lessons is also being missed here.
$50 for a box of roughly 300 glassiness isn't a giant risk. The 356 is probably not genuine just on the balance of probability (and the volume of fakes in coil stamps that exist), but it's possible. With 300 glassines, it would seem that in the worst case scenario if you valued all the stamps at an average price then you'd only need to have a value of 17c per item for it to be a "break even" deal. Doesn't sound like a giant risk to me. fini32's point, he called attention to the stuff, so one stamp worth a potential $4000, but what about the other 299 envelopes. And what if there is more than 1 stamp in each? $50... Worst case is you wind up with a box of stuff that has nominal value, and that's the probability, but we take bigger risks are larger collections and on one occasion that yielded a 5A on a lot we paid $2,000 for... It doesn't always pay to be too conservative.
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Rest in Peace
United States
4052 Posts
Posted 01/17/2019   9:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
.
You can throw a fifty dollar bill at a mystery lot ten times, and then spend hours recovering some portion of your U$D 500.

Or, you can do some careful shopping, buy one U$D 500 stamp and, if you ever sell it, recover some portion of your U$D 500.

In the meanwhile, you get to own a pretty good stamp.

I am an awful sucker for the thrill of the hunt, but its no way to build a collection.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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