Readers’ Letters: Auction company mischief; eBay spoof; Rare milk glass unidentified

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Welcome to the fairytale land of Sellbay

This creative letter is in response to’s recent decision to change how sellers are charged for auction-style listings. –Editor

Once there was a great land on the edge of the beautiful green Profit Sea. This land was called Sellbay and was ruled by two wonderful kings named Omi and Koll.

It was a wonderful kingdom made up of two types of Surfs. There were SellerSurfs and BuyerSurfs; both Surfs were equally important in the eyes of the two wonderful kings. Many wonderful years of Surfing on the Profit Sea were had by both types of Surfs.

2011 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards

Then the two kings decided to adopt a queen; her name was Wit. She brought many advisors from other lands to help her rule over the land of Sellbay. They did not understand the land of Sellbay but they wanted it to be like the large neighbor to the north called Bigazon.

These advisors counseled the queen to change the ways the SellerSurfs and BuyerSurfs Surfed on the Profit Sea. They told her to raise the Surfing Fees, they told her the BuyerSurfs were unhappy, they told her the SellerSurfs used Surf Boards that were far too large. Then they told her the SellerSurfs should not talk but the BuyerSurfs could criticize the SellerSurfs.

Slowly the SellerSurfs became sad. They went to the Queen’s staff and they begged to be equal again; but the staff turned away.

The SellerSurfs became sadder; they Surfed less and less on the Profit Sea. They sent out scouts to find new waves to Surf and they found there were other waves in other ‘bays’ on the Profit Sea.
As the waves were emptied of the Good Honest SellerSurfs, each wave soon filled with a rabble of Listers from the land of FakeandRepro.

Soon the BuyerSurfs realized there was little Honest Surfing left on the Profit Sea and they too began to leave.

In the meantime Queen Wit left the land of Sellbay to seek other lands to rule over. She has not found that Kingdom yet, even though her travels have been very expensive.

Now the adopted advisors begin to panic: the Good Honest SellerSurfs had left, the BuyerSurfs were unhappy and few fees were on the waves of the Profit Sea. They said they were sorry, they changed the rules, they lowered the fees but only the gods of the Profit Sea know if it is too late to save the once-happy land called Sellbay.

The Moral to this Fable: Never Make your Surfs look for better waves – they will find them.
This Fable was told to me by a Bald Old Seer who had lived in Sellbay for more than 15 years. He had thousands of 100 percent positive feedback ratings but in the end he had to leave his beloved Sellbay, too.

Now sad, unshaven, his mouse batteries dead, he sits in Starbucks and mumbles about some street named Ruby Lane.

Ken Heuermann
Sheridan, Wyo.

An enigma in glass

milk glass noveltyI enclose a picture of milk glass that I own, which might cause a minor controversy. Also enclosed are copies of pages from “Encyclopedia of Victorian Colored Pattern Glass, Book 2 – Opalescent Glass from A-Z” (2nd edition, 1977) by William Heacock.

This small vase is heavy for its size, 5 1/2 inches tall and 3 1/2 inches wide at its base.

This white milkglass is what I call a “dead-white” as in the look of bone china.

My vase might be the No. 403 “Leaf Chalice” in [Heacock’s guide] because the leafs bow-out sharp, as in elbows. Also, the top of my vase looks just like a tulip, but I don’t know why a glass worker coulnd’t “pull” out the edges as in No. 403.

Some people might think it is more likely the other pic – No. 458. The maker of both of the book references is said to be the Northwood Glass Company, circa 1903 and is probably considered scarce.

Would any knowledgeable milk glass collector among your readers have an opinion?

Gail Ledbetter
Glen Carbon, Ill.

If you can identify this pattern and would like to help Gail, please contact the Antique Trader staff and we’ll gladly pass the information along. Photos courtesy “Encyclopedia of Victorian Colored Pattern Glass, Book 2 – Opalescent Glass from A-Z” Editor

Honest mistake or auction company mischief?

The other day when I received my invoice from one of the leading auction  houses in the nation, I noticed a $50 shipping charge for my $205 purchase. Two letters, 30 plastic tokens, and a check protector the size and weight of a hand-held stapler was hardly the justification for a shipping charge including $5 handling of $50. A half of a shoe box would have been adequate to suit the bill.

I sent a check for the full amount with a letter complaining of the excess charge. Two days later, I telephoned and talked with the shipping person who stated, “I estimated the cost of shipping. I was responsible. I am sorry.”

To add fuel to the fire, she advised me that only the letters were available because the other two items were withdrawn by the owners prior to the auction. She further stated the letters would be sent to me shipping free of charge. I advised her to cancel the purchase of the letters and return my check. She agreed.

Just prior to 5 p.m. she telephoned when I was not home but stated to my wife, “We found one of the two lots, it was apparently lost within the building and we expect to find the other item. At 7 p.m. I telephoned and left a message to cancel my order and return my check. The next day at 9 a.m. she telephoned and stated the other missing item was found and all were shipped to me. For the third time I advised her to cancel the order, re-route it back to her, which she did and now, I anxiously await return of my check.

I mailed a letter to the law enforcement agency in the city where the auction house is located, asking for an investigation of unethical business practices regarding the shipping based on estimates.

It would take only 50 customers overcharged $20 each to provide the auction house with $1,000 extra profit.

In addition to my utility bills, I will continue to check my auction invoices.

Tal Kanigher,
Burbank, Calif.

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