Sometimes part of my job is bursting somebody’s bubble. I really don’t like doing it, but I guess somebody has to. One such example was an e-mail I received the other day from a very nice couple who have been reading the blog for a long time. They are weekend campers and have a pop-up tent trailer that they have used for 10 years or so. Now they are ready to step up to a travel trailer.
They wrote that the wife’s mother had a huge collection of Avon bottles and Jim Beam decanters that she had been accumulating for as long as anybody could remember. Mom was very proud of her collection and always told people that it was worth a small fortune. She even showed them price guide books showing that some of the items in her collection were worth a couple of hundred dollars each. Now Mom has passed away and my readers have inherited her precious collection and had hoped to sell it to pay for their new trailer. They are finding out that it is worthless.
They told me they have talked to every antique shop within 75 miles of their home, and while the mother bought many of her pieces from those various shops, and apparently paid a lot of money for them based upon the receipts she saved over the years, most dealers won’t even want to talk to them, and only one made an offer for the collection, which was 25 cents per item. And he told them the only reason he was offering anything at all was because the mother had been such a good customer over the years. They also tried eBay, Craigslist, and a couple of other online sales venues, as well as a yard sale, and found it all to be a complete waste of time. They asked for my advice and if there is any way of actually figuring out how much the collection is really worth, in spite of book value.
Like anything in the world, it is worth exactly what somebody is willing to pay you at that moment. Last week, or last month, or next year it may be worth more, or less. But right now it is worth what somebody is willing to give you for it. And basically, that’s about as much as a your aunt’s commemorative plate collection or those commemorative clad coins Grandpa is so proud of. The folks selling this stuff lead people on with promises of how much it is worth or how much it will be worth in the future. They are basically scam artists taking advantage of the gullible. I suggested these folks donate the collection to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army or some such charity and get a receipt for whatever they will give them, and use it as a tax deduction.
Speaking of scam artists, it seems like every week I get at least one email and sometimes more asking me to plug somebody’s Go Fund Me page. Some of these folks want to buy an RV or are looking for funds to support their RV lifestyle so they don’t have to work. Others have some story about a sick child in need of medical care. And, of course, whenever there is a tragedy, Go Fund Me pages spring up like dandruff on a dark suit. 99% of those solicitations are pure BS. And as for the folks wanting someone to buy them an RV or pay for their travels, lots of luck with that.
A good website to help you sort through all of these online scams is http://gofraudme.com/ They do a pretty good job of identifying the scams, and telling you what to look for when you receive these sorts of requests.
Congratulations to Hank Whitney, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Slow Falling, book six in my friend George Weir’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series. We had 89 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.
Thought For The Day – I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them. – Phyllis Diller