Not another niche! That's the last thing I need is another niche!
Just that one experience at the San Diego show opened my eyes reeeeeeeeal wide. Since then I've had conversations with several dealer friends who told me about what used to go "in the business" and...
My oh my...
I purchased that 30¢ dog at San Diego, and I didn't pay too much for it. Perhaps I paid more than I should have, but it's fine. I'd like to get a few more dogs for a little reference collection, but on the heels of my S.D. purchase, I realize that I if I bought more examples, I'd never be able to sell them in the future for more than a pittance (if I'm lucky) and certainly I wouldn't be able to get good certs for them.
So for the purpose of getting a few more examples, I've written to a few dealers on ebay, HipStamp, etc., inquiring (nicely) about their dog 38s, pointing out the issues. My pitch has been this: if they agree with my assessment, I'd still be interested in purchasing their unsound stamps for reference at a price commensurate with an unsound stamp.
One seller was an APS store consignee. They wrote back and thanked me for pointing out the issues. They dropped their price by 50%, but that only brought it down to $100 — still too much. Then they wrote back to say that they noticed that the gum was defective and that they were going to de-list it unless I wanted to buy it. They didn't respond when I asked what their lowest price would be, so I guess they felt that it was better to not sell it than take less than $100 for it.
Another seller on ebay ended up editing his listing to reflect the repairs I pointed out, but he couldn't drop his price low enough for me. In any event, it was a pleasant exchange.
I understand that sellers may have invested more in these dogs than I was offering (and I wasn't trying to lowball anyone), but it is what it is.
Two other sellers (yes, there are lots of these out there) didn't respond, and in my opinion, the most unconscionable non-response came from the seller of the stamp on ebay that I posted about above. I read through their terms of sale, and they exempt themselves from responsibility by insisting that buyers need to look at their photos and note any defects themselves.
BTW, in that listing, if you flip the view of the back of the stamp 180º, it says "Repaired" in pencil on the back.
If I end up listing all of the examples of modified #38s I've found, this thread is gonna get mi-tee long, let me tell you!
[Edited because my emoticon didn't show up the first time]