I recently spotted a mandolin on Ebay listed as being made by Vincenzo DeLuccia. I could hardly contain my excitement. Vincenzo and his brother learned violin and mandolin making from their father and grandfather in Italy and came to Philadelphia and set up shop in the 1920s. This looked like a great example in very good condition.
In the early 70s I regularly stopped by the DeLuccia music store. By that time Vincenzo had passed away and the shop was being run by his son Emile. At some point Emile promised he'd sell me a guitar his father had made. Somehow it never happened. Now here was my big chance... I checked the Cafe message board to see if the auction was being discussed. I checked the listing several times a day. My wife cancelled plans so I could be home at the time the auction ended.
I made my best and final, hit refresh dozens of times and bingo! I won. I immediately paid via PayPal. The next day I received the shipping info. It was scheduled to arrive yesterday.
Around lunch, I received a call from the seller. He's checked the tracking number and it's been delivered but he has a "situation." It turns out he bought it from a pawnshop and the mandolin was stolen.
He goes onto say that he's returning my money and asks if it's ok that he give my phone number to the police. I'm baffled...this can't be right. What kind of scam is this? I check my PayPal account and sure enough, he's not only returned the price of the mandolin but the shipping and insurance charges.
I call the police in Pennsylvania and yep it's true. They're thrilled. A residence was robbed of more than $10,000 worth of belongs. The only thing the family is upset about is the mandolin. It's been in the family for generations.
I left work early, played the mandolin for a while and repacked it. It's now on its way to the police and then onto the rightful owner. It's a wonderful mandolin but what an emotional roller coaster. I'm sitting here considering swearing off Ebay and buying a gun safe for my instruments.
Hopefully the other serious bidder is a Cafe member and will have a laugh or two at this post.