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mrmando
Dec-27-2008, 4:30am
Interesting Craig's List posting here (http://tulsa.craigslist.org/msg/970323675.html) ... apparently someone in Tulsa almost let an "old Gibson mandolin" go for an undervalued price. Anyone see the original ad? Know what it was?

Tom Mullen
Dec-27-2008, 11:03pm
I did not see the original ad, but am making my queries with the original poster. I have sent him 2 e mails, but no response. I will keep the board informed.
Tom in Tulsa.

goaty76
Dec-28-2008, 12:04am
From the Craigslist ad......"And to all of you who knew what this mandolin was worth and tried to buy it anyhow....Shame on You. "

I think this is B.S. It is not the obligation of the buyer to educate the seller as to what they have and how much it is worth (unless the buyer is someone who is hired to do an appraisal).

Phil

gibson mandoman
Dec-28-2008, 2:48am
One would think the seller of the mandolin would have done a little research regarding the value of the instrument before listing it for $100!

allenhopkins
Dec-28-2008, 11:21am
Yeah, caveat vendor and all that, but wouldn't one of us have had some compunctions if we'd found someone selling a '30's Fern F-5 for $250? I for one would have had a bit of a hard time giving the seller a price that was 2% of the current market value.

There was a thread not long ago about a Loar that was brought into the Denver Folklore Center; I don't have details in front of me, and am too lazy to do the search, but I seem to remember that rather than saying, "Ah, yes, nice ol' mandolin, give you $1,000 for it," they arranged to broker a deal with Elderly so that the owner will get the market value of the instrument. I have no regrets about getting an occasional "bargain" -- my $150 Howe-Orme mandolinetto probably qualifies -- but I do get the occasional attack of scruples when it seems like taking advantage of the uninformed.

On the other hand, I've seen many uninformed sellers who set their prices 'way too high, so perhaps it evens out...

markishandsome
Dec-28-2008, 1:53pm
Whenever I go to a yard sale I think "wouldn't it be great to bag a Loar for $100?" Then I think what I would tell my grandkids when they asked how I got it: "oh, I cheated some old lady who needed money for her heart pills"

Odds are the mando the craigslist guy was selling was not too valuable; there are a lot more busted A50s out there than minty F5s. But if the seller thinks any old gibson mandolin is worth $100, I doubt he's had much contact with stringed instruments in his life and probably inherited the mando, ie, he was getting money for nothing anyway so if he can't be bothered to do a google search before pawning his family heirlooms I wouldn't lose much sleep over bilking him a few hundred bucks. I don't know where I'd draw the line and tell the guy he was cheating himself. I think that's the bottom line though, he listed it for $100, so if that's what he sold it for he would have cheated himself, not the buyer.

mrmando
Dec-28-2008, 9:11pm
There's no way of knowing what he originally listed it for, since we haven't seen the original ad.

David Newton
Dec-29-2008, 12:37pm
I thought the "shame on you" comment was way over the top, and arrogant.
How does he know the people who responded to his original ad were out to make a "fast" deal?
Just another un-knowledgeable seller who was saved before he made a mistake.

I watched a whole segment of "Antiques Roadshow" where they put together clips of folks who pull stuff out of dumpsters and trash piles on streets, yard sales, etc. One lady even tells an estate auction dealer not to throw out a painting, she will bid on it. No one else bids, and she gets a $10k painting (or some such amt) for $10.

I don't buy much "stuff", but I also don't think it's my mission to inform people what they are selling is priced too low. Maybe a Loar at yardsale prices, but this one hardly qualifies in that catagory.

JeffD
Dec-29-2008, 1:56pm
Ithey put together clips of folks who pull stuff out of dumpsters and trash piles on streets, yard sales, etc..

They only track the "finds".

It is exceedingly rare that any of this stuff is worth anything. Oh, sure there are examples of exceptions, but be carefull, you have as likely a chance of being hit by lightning on the way to the dumpster. And if you are not preparing for the latter, I have to wonder why you expect the former.


And the general public, the same public that is otherwise entirely ignorant about things mandolin, the general public seems to think that any old found mandolin may be worth enough to retire on. I must have gotten 15 or 20 odd calls from friends and friends of friends, in the last few years that run like this: "I found (inherited, bought for real cheap at a yard sale) a mandolin. Didn't someone find (didn't you tell me about, didn't I read somewhere about) one like this worth a quarter million dollars?"

I am confident that sellers are savvy, and know the general public's mandolin lust, and nobody anywhere is selling a mandolin for a whole lot less than it is worth. There are plenty of deals, but probably no "finds" anymore.

As for me, I'm gonna stick to the lottery. Better odds.:grin:

woodwizard
Dec-29-2008, 2:44pm
I don't feel guity in the least about buying a 1947 Gibson L7 archtop in a yard sale about 30 years ago for $20 bucks. Still have the guitar today too and it's in a much better home now. The guitar was in pretty ruff shape when I got it. It's much better now. I feel like I saved it it from distruction.

markishandsome
Dec-30-2008, 3:22pm
"It is exceedingly rare that any of this stuff is worth anything. Oh, sure there are examples of exceptions, but be carefull, you have as likely a chance of being hit by lightning on the way to the dumpster. And if you are not preparing for the latter, I have to wonder why you expect the former."

Depends on what you mean by "worth anything". Even run of the mill antiques can be flipped for a profit. I could double my investment on any of the old Stanley planes I've picked up at yard sales if I wanted to. We're not talking about huge amounts of money, but considering that most people lose money on their hobbies (eg mandolins) it doesn't seem like such a foolish pursuit. Your lightening strike analogy is good though: I can significantly increase my chance of being struck by running around outside during a storm with a lightening rod. Similarly I can increase my chance of finding valuable antiques by going to lots of yard sales.

JeffD
Dec-31-2008, 11:10am
Even run of the mill antiques can be flipped for a profit. I could double my investment on any of the old Stanley planes I've picked up at yard sales if I wanted to.

I was referring to those great life changing finds you hear about or see sometimes on TV, where you no longer have to work for a living.

In general you are correct, but my experience with hard core (albeit amateur) antiquers is that yes they can make a modest amount on some things, especially things they know more about than the general public. But in general even these folks generally can't make a profitable hobby out of it, either because they have bought too much for love rather than sober reflection of resale value, (and then only count the "wins" as part of the "business") or because they spent so much on the resale (gasoline, lodging, display space, lighting, etc.) they ate up all the profit.

To which I reply - enjoy it. Its fun. Nothing wrong with that. Don't try and justify it on any basis but that its fun, and keep yer day job.

TomTyrrell
Dec-31-2008, 12:56pm
Most states have laws on the books that are intended to protect people from unscrupulous dealers. Basically, if you take a mandolin to a dealer and he tells you he can sell it for $500 and will give you $250 and then he sells the mandolin for $10,000 (or some other large amount) the courts will award you damages of the amount the dealer should have paid. A smart unscrupulous dealer would "sell" that $10,000 mandolin for $500 just to avoid these lawsuits.

These protections do not affect sales between private parties unless the seller can show that the buyer is an expert and was fully aware of the true value of the item in question.

I never feel guilty about paying less for something than it is actually worth. I always feel foolish when I pay more than it is worth. But if I do ever run across that yard sale Loar I will probably have to tell the folks what they really have. I do need to sleep.

Michael Gowell
Jan-04-2009, 3:11pm
What something is "worth" is a social negotiation influenced by many factors. Find an nice old postcard and it's worth (let's say) $1. Take it to an antique shop close to where the old photo on the postcard was taken 100+ years ago and suddenly it's "worth" at least $5, maybe $10. "Worth" is not necessarily - or even often - the highest market price which can be realized.

Jim Broyles
Jan-04-2009, 10:02pm
What something is "worth" is a social negotiation influenced by many factors. Find an nice old postcard and it's worth (let's say) $1. Take it to an antique shop close to where the old photo on the postcard was taken 100+ years ago and suddenly it's "worth" at least $5, maybe $10. "Worth" is not necessarily - or even often - the highest market price which can be realized.

Sure it is. If the price can be realized, it was worth that price to at least one buyer. That postcard is worth whatever someone will pay for it and no more. In the case of this guy's mandolin, I would have no sympathy at all if he had let it go for $100.00 because he didn't do his research. It does not behoove a buyer to tell a seller that he should charge more for an item.

Michael Gowell
Jan-06-2009, 11:22pm
Jim, my point was that worth is negotiated and prices are fixed...but never mind...off point.

EdSherry
Jan-07-2009, 3:54pm
Tom -- To my knowledge (I'm a lawyer, but haven't researched the issue in detail), no law prevents a dealer from simply offering to buy an item at a low price, even if the seller knows that he/she intends to resell it for a much higher price. But the dealer cannot affirmatively misrepresent things.

That's why many dealers will ask "how much are you looking to get for this?" rather than making affirmatively-false statements ("I plan to sell this for $500, so I can only offer you $250" when they know they plan to sell it for $10k).

This doesn't protect the public from "unscrupulous" dealers so much as it protects the public from dealers who affirmatively lie.

LVH
Jan-07-2009, 10:11pm
Tell me if i am wrong, but even if it was a verbal agreement they can not put a law on something that not stated in a contract, signed by the dealer. Even if he tells them he'll sell it for 500 he can still sell for 10,000 unless he signs a contract.

Mike Herlihy
Jan-08-2009, 2:42pm
http://tulsa.craigslist.org/grd/963414344.html

Forget that, check this out! Damn, I wish I had a Gibson Mandolin to trade!!!

EdSherry
Jan-08-2009, 3:57pm
Luke -- the (very) short answer is that the law can impose duties on dealers even without a written contract. If the dealer lies to you and says that he thinks the item will sell for $500 when he knows that he intends to sell it for $10k, that's fraud. One does not need a written contract to prevent dealers from misrepresenting things. And oral contracts can be binding. (It's just that it's often difficult to prove what the parties did or did not agree to in the absence of a written contract.)

allenhopkins
Jan-08-2009, 4:13pm
One does not need a written contract to prevent dealers from misrepresenting things. And oral contracts can be binding. (It's just that it's often difficult to prove what the parties did or did not agree to in the absence of a written contract.)

"A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Django Fret
Jan-08-2009, 6:12pm
Shouldn't that quote really be "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it isn't written on"?

allenhopkins
Jan-08-2009, 10:38pm
Shouldn't that quote really be "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it isn't written on"?

Not if you knew Mr. Goldwyn, who was the "G" of MGM -- Metro Goldwyn Mayer. He was famous for his misguided quotations, like "I'll give you a definite 'maybe,'" and "Spare no expense to save money on this one," and "Any man who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined."

If you'd like to sample these and a few dozen others, here's a link. (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/samuel_goldwyn.html) And if you don't finish the sampling, you can say as Mr. Goldwyn apparently did, "I read part of it all the way through."

mrmando
Jan-08-2009, 11:01pm
When it comes to discussions about Samuel Goldwyn, include me out.