Tag Archives: Ebay

Getting Better

Sorry, I’ve not been keeping up for the last few days, and have a let another deadline pass. It’s about time to get back into the swing of things but I’m going to do it in a relaxed manner. Sunday involved five hours of driving, which I don’t find as easy as I used to do, and tomorrow is going to be my first full day back at work.

Fortunately I have managed to sort of the knee problem myself. Originally I had to wait until Friday for my telephone physio appointment, so I decided I had better do something about it myself, as I couldn’t take another week of it. I’ve had a similar problem before and all the evidence was pointing to the problem being caused by having my leg elevated, even though I was being very careful to avoid straining my knee. The second part of the problem was that I couldn’t get into a decent position to push myself up, which was also putting strain on the knee.

This was easily solved. I removed the makeshift footstool and rested my foot on a rolled towel on the ground. This seemed to give me the most comfortable position to sit. It also allowed me to use the cushion from the footstool to raise my sitting position and to get a good straight push on the chair arms fro standing.

That evening I noticed a difference and two days later that part of the problem is nearly gone. I have not had the knee brace on since Sunday, which is even better news.

All this is made even better by the news that my physio “appointment” has been moved back to Friday 24th. I still have plenty to discuss but I won’t be in pain for the next two weeks as I wait.

The featured image is the one of gold-plated Buffalo Nickels that we had a complaint about several weeks ago. We supplied the customer with coins which were exactly as described, and the owner even agreed to a discount as he was taking them all. When he complained we said he was free to return them if he wasn’t happy. This was despite the fact were had done nothing wrong. He didn’t return them and instead gave us negative feedback, which is annoying. Someone else has also given us a negative because the post is taking a long time. This is not our fault, but he has decided it is. You can tell I’m getting better when I start talking about the evils of letting idiots bid on eBay.


Customer Service Part 1

Last week we put some Buffalo Nickels on eBay. They were well circulated  and they have been gold-plated. They are strange, yet decorative and, after some discussion on how yellow they needed to look in the photographs (see yesterdays post for a discussion of that) we loaded them and waited.

On Wednesday someone enquired about them and in a message using entirely capital letters, told us we had made a mistake and should correct it at once. It was my day off and i only caught the tail end of the correspondence. The shop owner, worn down by the hectoring of the customer, gave him a discount on the coins and a postage rate that was actually below cost. Sometimes he does that.

Buffalo Nickel - the obverse is an amalgam of several different people, though many claimed the honour.

Buffalo Nickel – the obverse is an amalgam of several different people, though many claimed the honour. (They are really only just 21mm in diameter

Today, the complaints started. We had got the order, packed it and had it delivered in the space of two days, but this wasn’t good enough.

The customer was unhappy because the dates were worn and they were not varied enough for him. He claims he used a 10X glass, and even then the dates are hard to read. He also says he notes we have “covered” ourselves by saying that the dates were from the 1920s and 1930s. It was in block capitals again and the use of “covered”  seems like an accusation.

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out what has happened here.

First of all someone bought something he knows little about. The Buffalo Nickel is a beautiful coin, but it is well known that the dates wear badly and that time and circulation can make it look very shabby.

Second, he didn’t read the details properly and/or thought he was getting something for nothing. We didn’t offer a date run, a variety of dates or anything like that. We offered coins of random dates which we described accurately and, in another part of the listing, said that we wouldn’t select dates, and you would get what we sent. We did this to avoid people asking for the rare dates and wanting us to spend time sorting. They are cheap coins and if I spend ten minutes sorting coins it eats into the profits. If people want specific dates we have listings that offer that, but the prices are higher to reflect the time we spend sorting.

Third, he either has problems with eyesight or a bad attitude, or both. I deduce this from the capitals, the tone and the fact that he can’t read the dates. My close-up vision isn’t great and I need a lot of light these days, but I have no difficulty with the dates.

There didn’t seem any point in arguing, and the terms and conditions are quite plain – he can return the goods and we have to pay for that return. It’s one of the ways eBay makes it difficult for sellers. So we thanked him for his feedback and promised that we would take it on board for future listings.

Supposed to be Black Diamond, but possibly just a combination of various Buffalo. Or Bison.

Supposed to be Black Diamond, but possibly just a combination of various Buffalo. Or Bison

And half an hour later, we had another reply. He is, it seems, “disgusted” with the way we do business and considers it close to “deception”. He’s also issuing vague threats about leaving us negative feedback.

The owner replied and reminded him that if he isn’t happy he can send the coins back.

The next reply said that the coins were lovely to look at and as the customer is housebound he is unable to get out of the house to return them. He concludes by telling us that the problem is back to us.

He’s actually looking for an offer of a partial refund. It’s a form of dishonesty practised by many people on eBay. It’s really just theft dressed up, and you’d be amazed how many people try it.

So where we do we go from here?

Monday’s emails are going to be  a delight . . .

A Day of Education

Today, after packing a reasonable number of parcels, I started loading a selection of maps, went on to empty coin cases and then started on some books. We have a  very interesting book at the moment – and as a result of reading it I now know what arrangements were made for pregnant women, victims of shipwreck and people who made gloves from rabbit skins as a side-line. I can also tell you what arrangements wee in place pertaining to pre-war fabric, second hand goods and fund-raising bazaars. Fascinating stuff – and I mean that sincerely. The administration must have been  a huge task, and that was just one small aspect of wartime life.

All you need to know about clothing coupons

The second book I looked at was, in some ways, more interesting, purporting to be a journalist’s evaluation of German paratroops.  He says they dropped into Poland and Holland in disguise, dressed as regionally appropriate peasants in Poland and, amongst other things, nuns and British soldiers in Holland. My view, as it always has been, is that these were just  stories. Look at it logically – you look up and see a nun on a parachute. Is your first instinct to wonder why a nun is parachuting, or wonder why the Nazi is wearing a dress? It’s bad enough jumping out of an aeroplane and being shot at without having the additional distraction of a stiff breeze blowing up your wimple.

Slightly less educational

So there you go, a day of education.

The advert in the header is from a map of Hampstead. It’s a Volvo P1800 as driven by Roger Moore in the Saint.

A Jumble of Tedium

I had a note from WP the other day congratulating me on posting three days in a row. This puzzled me as I have done more than three days in  a row on many occasions and they have never bothered to congratulate me. have any other regular writers out there had a similar message, and did you think it was strange?

They have probably been on a training course to teach them how to be empathetic. Unlike their new editing system, which as you know, I consider to be merely pathetic.

Today, in a distinct absence of orders from eBay, I put 16 more pieces of sheet music on eBay and then moved on to maps. WE now have over 1,300 items of stock on eBay and we are going through all the boxes of junk and having a push at getting rid of it. It’s a welcome break from Elvis coins, but that’s about the best you can say for it.

When I got home (it’s now taking three times as long as it did before lockdown ended) I found I had two letters. One is from the NHS, and is an example of how to use a lot of words, and create confusion. In summary, it says thank you for filling in a recent questionnaire and could I now fill in a new one as they are testing the reliability of the questionnaire design. The trouble is that I don’t think I filled the last one in. It can be confusing to a man who doesn’t concentrate.. I’ve done two online surveys too. I think I blogged about one of them. I’m doing three surveys on a regular basis, one of them monthly, and I can no longer remember who they are for.


A Day of Contrasts

First job this morning was to parcel up the Prisoner of War postcard. It appears to have gone to a collector. There were only three people in the bidding and two of them chased it up over £60. As far as I know it’s worth £20-30 as a piece of postal history so I presume it was the story they were bidding for, and that it will be well looked after from now on.

Second job was to parcel up a nice late Georgian medallion. It was struck in 1835 so it’s nearly as late as it can be whilst remaining Georgian. It has been on sale a few months and we turned down several offers because we thought it was a good piece. It commemorates the installation of the marquis of Camden as Chancellor of Cambridge University. Lovely medallion, as I say, but he’s no great looker, and it’s a dull subject. It has gone to America. A lot of our better medallions go to America or China. I feel slightly guilty about exporting our heritage, but we have an excellent stock of historical medallions which is hardly ever looked at in the shop.

Earl of Camden, Chancellor of Cambridge University and, as I said previously, no great shakes in the looks department. Roman nose, piercing stare and, doubtless, a commanding manner, but not easy on the eye.

I then spent the rest of the day beavering away at my desk loading a succession of modern coins onto eBay. They are weird modern combinations – a coin from Niue celebrates Edison and the lightbulb, one from the Cook Islands celebrates the Ascot Gold Cup and one from Somalia is part of a series called “Wildlife of North America”.  The Cook Islands coin is quite pleasant apart from that, but the Somalian coin is an abomination and the Niue coin lights up if you press it in the right place. Words fail me…

I despair of any society where people actually collect these monstrosities


Can you see the light? 

At least the design is good, even if the mis-match beggars belief.



A Piece of History

I seem to have lost all my drafts. It doesn’t really matter in most cases as I rarely actually go back and use one, despite my good intentions. On the other hand I did write half a post last night that I wanted to finish it this morning.

Instead, I will move on to the next subject I had in mind. Prepare to be saddened.

We bought 5,000 cards plus assorted ephemera last week, the stock of a retired dealer. It has been gone through and is really just the leavings of a lot of mixed lots that he bought. It’s taken us the best part of two days to sort it – work that out on an hourly rate if you are interested in the hidden costs of running a collectors’ shop. We have found a few decent cards, but it’s mainly dross. However, they all needed going through and they are all sorted into counties now, which is always a test of general knowledge.

One interesting card we found was a pre-paid card addressed to a prisoner of war in Japanese hands. It has a positive message on the back, as you can see from the photo.

The Message

It was posted nine days before VJ Day, so it looked like a happy ending was imminent. However, many people were so ill by then of the war that you can’t guarantee a happy ending, even at that point. I decided that after I checked it on the Prisoner of War roll I’d check the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, just to see if he made it home.

I didn’t need to do that, as it happened. The first POW roll I checked had all the details I needed to close the story.

The list

I suppose the “Return to Sender” stamp on the front should have alerted me to the outcome.

649850 AC1 Victor Ernest Gordon never made it home. As you can see from the print-out behind the card, he was buried at sea on 6th November 1943, a year and a half before the postcard was posted. He died of beriberi, which is a variety of thiamine deficiency brought on by existing on a diet of white rice.

Another roll narrows his place of death to “off Formosa”, about halfway between Java, where he seems to have originally been kept, and Japan, where he was probably bound.

His father would not be the only parent in this situation- the entry appears on British Page 284 of the roll entitled “Unreported Deaths of Allied Personnel”.  He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, which commemorates 24,319 British and Commonwealth Servicemen who lost their lives and are not recorded elsewhere.

The next stage is that it will be put on eBay. This is what we do, and although it seems disrespectful to consign such a sad and historical document to an auction, that is, when you think about it, exactly what his family did when they sold it. We could give it to a museum, but museums have  a habit of locking things away where they are never seen again. at least we are able to tell the story and move it on to a collector who will value and cherish it, and possibly give the story a new lease of life.

It’s a moral question I’ve often had to face in many years of collecting and dealing, but the fact to bear in mind is that nothing comes up for sale before the family, or even the recipient, decides to sell it.




Two New Sweetheart Brooches

US Navy Sweetheart Brooches – the penny is 20.3 mm in diameter. An American cent has a diameter of  19.05 mm for those of you who like to know these things.

Despite the need to spend money on the house, and to declutter, I am still browsing eBay, and still adding a few items to my collection. If you want to see other examples , I have written about  Sweetheart Brooches in a previous post,

My collecting started over 50 years ago.  I was about five or six when I started collecting badges. A few years later my Dad gave me his stamp collection (which had been untouched since he had left the Navy). I added a few to it, then went into coins, bird’s eggs (yes, I know this was bad) and military medals. I’ve carried on sporadically ever since. At times I’ve been busy or broke, so there have been long gaps between purchases. However, with eBay , a regular income and the time that comes from having no kids around the place, I have been slowly adding to the collection again.

The latest two are both American and Naval. I don’t collect Navy brooches to the same extent as I collect the army ones but I always like to add a different type when  I find one. American brooches are often sentimental/patriotic rather than military in style, though there are some more military ones. They also tend to have more bracelets than we do. Generally I don’t collect brooches from beyond the Commonwealth forces, but if I see an unusual type I can be tempted.

US Navy Sweetheart Brooch – with PO Class II badge

A couple of months ago I was tempted by the brooch with the Eagle and Chevrons. I think it is the badge of a Petty Officer Class II but I’m relying on the internet for this, as I’m not sound on US Navy badges. I have a couple of other brooches with this sort of chain set-up but this is better quality, and it’s always nice to upgrade. Collecting sweethearts, you will never get every possible type, so there’s no point trying. Compared to the tyranny of trying to collect one of every known date of a coin, this is a very relaxed way of collecting. These days I just collect things that catch my eye, and where the price is right.

A couple of weeks ago, another one caught my eye. It’s exactly the same sailor and the same set-up but the device on the chain is the medal ribbon of the American WW2 campaign medal for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It was sold by the same dealer and is out of the same collection.

US Navy Sweetheart – Europe, Africa and the Middle East campaign ribbon

I’m now checking them regularly to see if they have any other varieties. With coins and medals all the varieties are known and catalogued (with the odd rare exception) but with sweetheart brooches you can’t know everything. There might be sailors with different devices attached, or there may be marines, soldiers or airmen. You never know…


US Navy Sweetheart – fine work


Vaccination Day!

I had my vaccination this evening. The nurse promised me an aching arm lasting a couple of days and flu-like symptoms lasting around 12 hours. So fa I have had a slightly achy arm, which wore off after about twenty minutes, and absolutely no other problem.  It’s all very disappointing after the dire warnings. I was hoping to have something to complain about.

Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t need all the information they told me to take, and I did need information I hadn’t ben told to take. As I told one of the nurses, I had come equipped for a vaccination, not a quiz.

Apart from that it’s been the same sort of day as usual, and I managed to eat my sandwiches by 11.30 as I was so bored. Only four parcels to do. Several infuriating customer complaints which are nothing to do with us – if Indian customs hold things up (as they are doing in two cases) we are NOT going to give refunds. We have three others on the go, two where the customer simply changed their mind but it is costing us money, and one where the customer claims they did not get the parcel but the Post Office has a signature to show it was. At one time eBay would tell the customer to get lost, but last time it happened they gave the customer a refund and took the money off us. I sometimes think eBay has become a den of thieves, and that the biggest thieves are eBay.  I will, however, not bore you with the details.

Greek banknotes

Neck or Leg?

I’ve just had a letter which claims to be the report of my last telephone consultation with rheumatology. It took place while I was in the car by the side of the road bringing Julia home from work. They were a bit off with me, muttering something about hadn’t I realised I had a telephone consultation booked. I was a little tactless in my reply – that they were often hours late in ringing me so I wasn’t going to sit at home waiting when I had things to do.

They have had the last laugh with this letter. It claims I said my pain score was 2.5 out of 5, when I actually said it was “half”. I have a little stiffness and discomfort but no actual pain. I now look like a whining hypochondriac. Next time I will just say zero. It will be less accurate but less susceptible to mis-reporting., as in mild discomfort, with no actual pain. They have also reported that the only remaining path of psoriasis is on my neck. I actually said “legs”.

Fortunately there is nothing life-threatening about the errors, but it does make mw wonder how accurate my medical notes actually are, and if I will die one day because they apply a tourniquet to my neck instead of my leg.

We had six parcels for eBay (none of which were posted, because the Post Office is still closing on Saturdays), and two customers, so it wasn’t a particularly busy day, allowing us to get more foreign banknotes loaded onto eBay. They are selling well – one of today’s sales was a set we had put on the days before and two lots we sold on Friday had been loaded on Thursday. It feels good when that happens, particularly as they are old stock that have been at the back of a store room for years. That’s the beauty of eBay, it reaches so many people that the stock is always new to somebody.

Anyway, have to go now, Julia bought some  mistletoe this afternoon and I suppose I’d better check that it works. Ho, ho, ho, Happy Christmas…

Study Number 1 - The Idiot


For years Julia has been asking me not to put tin lids into the washing up bowl, and I have been replying that the chances of cutting yourself are (a) very small and (b) even smaller than that unless you are a complete idiot.

We had our latest round of conversation on the topic only last week, as part of a larger conversation about dangerous things she conceals in the washing up water.

After that I suppose it was inevitable that I should stick my hand in the washing up bowl last night and catch myself on the lid of the bean can I had removed at lunchtime. The wound in my finger eventually stopped bleeding, but started again when I caught it on the edge of a box of pills  whilst trying to get my Warfarin out. Yes, Warfarin, the pills that allow me to bleed more freely.

There are several levels of irony here, and possibly a whiff of kharma.

By the time I got to work today we were be in lockdown. I had checked the ebay results and knew that I was going to work after dropping Julia off, as I already had six parcels to pack. The doors were locked and the lights were off and nobody tried the door, which was a relief as I wasn’t in the mood for telling people to bugger off . Well, I was, but not in a polite and professional manner.

One person rang to see if £20 notes with the AK47 prefix was worth anything to us. They aren’t. Collectors don’t want the and the novelty prefix market never really developed, despite the reports of the tabloids.

Someone rang with a”rare” Peter rabbit 50p. He wasn’t surprised to find that it wasn’t.

One person rang to see if £20 notes with the AK47 prefix was worth anything to us. judging from the accent it was the same person or a close relative checking to see if I’d changed my mind.

Then somebody rang to see if we were open. There had to be one…

I am not convinced that this lockdown is going to be as effective as the last one. People aren’t treating it as seriously, and small businesses can’t afford another month of being closed, particularly this close to Christmas.

We will just have to wait and see.