I enjoy these observational and quasi-intellectual exercises.
So after going 0fer in both Rasdale and Dutch Country auctions, with my lots going past my max targets just in pre-session bidding for the latter, I decided I wanted to buy something fun to paw through, just to feed the addiction.
Enter Apfelbaum. Not recommended for the novice or the risk-averse. That said, being a regular customer over the last 5 or so years, I haven't had any issue with returning lots I've been dissatisfied with, and have done so several times, even on a few multi-carton lots. I know that historically, quite a few people have been blacklisted by Apfelbaum for returns. I think it may depend on purchase history and dollar amounts purchased vs. returns. For example, if you return the first or second purchase from a vendor (rightly or wrongly), you're far more likely to get whammoed than if your first return is the Nth lot you've purchased. Sellers frequently want to nip "problem customers" in the bud. It's the nature of the beast.
I've got a good rapport with Apfelbaum and am always polite and professional in my communications,* so I am not afraid of getting blacklisted or the return refused.
* IMO this is a HUGE factor both with traditional vendors as well as eBay/Hipstamp/Delcampe/etc. I feel that in today's society sellers far too often get a return request like this:
This lot was awful! You lied about X and Y, you crook! I want my money back or I am going to report you to...
As opposed to:
I received lot XXX today. Thank you for the fast shipping. Unfortunately there are some problems with the lot compared to what was stated in the listing:
1. [Enumeration of specific issue]
2. [Enumeration of specific issue]
[If an undisclosed flaw on an individual item constitutes a major portion of the purported value of the lot, high-resolution images corroborating the flaws are attached.]
I would like to be able to return this lot.
Thank you for your time,
Taking the time to make a courteous and professional response, no matter how POed you might feel personally pays dividends. Starting a conversation aggressively, thus putting the seller on the defensive right out of the gate is not likely to pay dividends down the line and both parties could lose out long-term.
Sorry for the tangent... so in my case at least, the risk is actually lower than public auctions (assuming that one cannot examine lots in person), since I can return if not happy.
While there have been some Apfelbaum lots I have purchased that were no-brainers based upon contents vs. cost, at least within my areas of focus, most end up being gambles to a greater extent. I acknowledge that and I accept that level of risk; for me the unknown of what might be there is part of the thrill.
I'm going to show the original lot description and photos below. As with any Apfelbaum listing, ignore any and all claims of catalogue value or retail value that you cannot verify based upon what is shown. Everything you see below is what I used to make my decision; there was no asking questions or for more information.
The lot cost $500 net delivered, which in the current auction climate equates to roughly a $400 hammer + BP, sales tax, and shipping.
1. Would you have purchased at this price?
2. Which item or items do you feel prompted my decision to purchase and why?
3. What items do you find particularly interesting, uninteresting, or raise red flags?
3. What do you think I found and am I keeping or returning the lot?
I'll allow a couple of days for people to respond, and then I'll reply back with my thoughts and the results.
LARGE BOX WITH HUNDREDS OF STAMPS & COVERS - Very disorganized with many better including classics
Estimated Net Value: $1,250.00 – $1,500.00