View Full Version : Ebay cures MAS: long post

Tom Mylet
Jan-09-2009, 4:13pm
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.

Jan-09-2009, 4:34pm
Well Tom, as much as that's a bummer, how great is it to have the mandolin restored to the original family. That's wonderful news and... at least you had a few moments with it.


Steve Ostrander
Jan-09-2009, 4:44pm
Tom, you did the right thing. Perhaps you will find a better one in the future.

Eddie Sheehy
Jan-09-2009, 5:07pm
That was the mando we were all trying to trade our teeth for....

Bernie Daniel
Jan-09-2009, 5:15pm
Amazing story and sad, for you, Tom. You HEAR about those kind of things but.........

Anyway, as already noted it is great that it was returned to the rightful owner and that the money was refunded to Tom.

In a situation like this will the eBay seller then in turn get his money back from the pawnshop?

And then what happens to the pawnshop owner? Can he expect to recover his loses from insurance then? Obviously, the shop owner must have shelled out money to the theif in the first place.

Jan-09-2009, 5:16pm
Tom, very sorry about the way your transaction turned out, but you, ARE a standup guy.

Jan-09-2009, 5:28pm
The rightful owners owe you a handsome reward, IMO. Good for you for doing the right thing.

Jan-09-2009, 5:54pm
The rightful owners owe you a handsome reward, IMO. Good for you for doing the right thing.

Dito on that... You are a stand up guy Tom. You'll find you a better one. Good luck.

Tom Mylet
Jan-10-2009, 9:52am
Thank to all for the compliments and condolences. I'm surprised at how good I feel about the whole thing. It was really much easier than I would have guessed.

I must confess though, I did put a note in the case to the owner suggesting that if he ever gets tired of being the mandolin's caretaker to let me know.

Tracy Tucker
Jan-10-2009, 10:06am
Well, GOL-LEE! With a story like that I have no recourse but to revoke my 'finder's rights'... at least I still got all my teeth! You did the honourable thing, and I applaud you for that. What a relief it must be to the family to have that beautiful mandolin back!


Jan-10-2009, 1:12pm
Well done, Tom! Thanks for the good deed and the good story.

Jan-10-2009, 2:48pm
Tom you did the right thing, but what a crazy situation to be in. So how did it sound?

Jan-10-2009, 3:16pm

Been there...only maybe worse. Bought a guitar on eBay (a rare and valuable David Russell Young dreadnaught). Had it for a while; took it to my friend's shop in L.A. for some minor repairs. While in the shop, Severin Browne (Jackson's brother) comes into the store for the first time in years, and tells my friend about how his DRY guitar had been stolen more than a year before and he was heartbroken. Oh, coincidentally, my friend had originally sold the DRY to Severin more than 20 years before!! (We both knew he originally sold the guitar...he just couldn't recall who the original owner was after I received it from the eBay seller.)

So, I'm at home one morning and my phone rings and its my buddy saying "Hey, there's this God-thing happening in the store right now. Here's Severin Browne...he's got a story you need to hear."

Yep, my "dream guitar" went away that day. It was/is the only thing to do.

Tom, you got some karma points. Well done.

Jan-12-2009, 11:42am
Tom, glad you got your money back.

Jan-13-2009, 5:36am
I thought, from the pictures, that this was an exceptionally fine looking mandolin for its type.

Particularly lovely wood color to the maple parts, and a tastefully ornate instrument.

Eddie Sheehy
Jan-13-2009, 4:16pm
Here's a question that you can feel free to ignore Tom:
After playing it and checking it out, do feel it was worth the price you paid for it? Or do you think it was bid too high - could have gone higher?

Tom C
Jan-13-2009, 4:24pm
If you had not returned it, the police would be knocking on your door....around now. for possession of stolen property

Jim MacDaniel
Jan-13-2009, 4:29pm
Hi Tom,

My condolences to you, as well as congratulations, as you behaved admirably under unfortunate circumstances (as did the seller it would appear).

However, even if you no longer shop on eBay, is your MAS really cured, or just in remission? ;) (After all, one can always keep a close eye on the mandolincafe classifieds for their next dream instrument.)


Tom Mylet
Jan-15-2009, 1:53pm
In answer to some of the questions and comments:

Mandolinmyster: I really didn't have it long enough to give much of a review. I just tuned it up with the old strings that were on it. It had (I'm guessing here) a scale length like a Lyon and Healy or Vega cylinder back and had a somewhat similar sound but more robust, if that makes sense.

Eddie Sheehy: Worth it? I'm sure I could find a instrument for less money that sounded as good. Buying it was more about two other things for me: 1) my interaction with the makers son and long term regrets of not getting the guitar I mentioned and 2) The "hunt." I'm sure other sufferers of MAS would agree, finding and "bagging" the instrument is a big part of the attraction. I'd definitely buy that particular instrument for the same price.

Jim McDaniel: Cure MAS? I probably posted then went straight to the classifieds. I've since traded mandolins and am waiting for a guitar to arrive that I bought from another instrument sight. I'm afraid I have a terminal case.

Tom C: Once I realized the seller was telling the truth, I too knew I had no choice but to send it straight to the police. I did however, picture the rightful owner and their state of mind. I once had my house robbed and was really unsettled by the fact that someone had violated my space and took things that had sentimental as well as monetary value.

Thanks again to all for the support.

Tom Mylet

Capt. E
Jan-15-2009, 3:20pm
Then there was a friend of mine who bought a 1965 Fender Stratocaster at a pawn shop for $165.00 The Fender label had fallen off the front and the pawn shop didn't really know what they had, just wanted the pawn profit. My friend researched around town and discovered the owner's ex-wife. It seems the owner had pawned it not knowing the pawn shop had changed pawn term policy from 3 months to 2 months. He had needed some money for rent. The soon to be ex-wife didn't know where the guy was now. Apparently, there had also been a matching Fender amp and a 1956 Gibson J45 as well that some other lucky guy snatched up. My friend did ample work trying to find the owner to no avail.

Ken Feil
Jan-16-2009, 1:08am

You have made the mandolin community proud. I'm sure you will find another.


Sandy Beckler
Jan-16-2009, 2:57am
You're a Cafe member Tom....we would have expected nothing less.
Karma Brother Karma....what goes around comes around.


Jan-20-2009, 4:17pm
The rightful owners owe you a handsome reward, IMO. Good for you for doing the right thing.

"Owe" is funny word there. I mean, we are owed rewards for doing the right thing, obeying the law, not keeping someone else's stolen property?

Certainly IF a reward is offered, it would be a nice...well...reward...but 'owe' is a funny word there.