Notable Scams From Large To Small

Just to make sure that all are on a level playing field, it is worth while to know that not only the back alley and clandestine workshop scam artists are making ill gotten money.

It also happens in the antique arena with the "big boys" and well advertised as well.

Not a lot of people like to hear this, and even less have the courage to talk about it. But I feel it very important to note these type of swindles.

It is also very important to note, that this not only happens in the Civil War arena, but in all avenues of antique and collectibles.

Money can cloud and pollute some peoples visions of right and wrong. We all agree that those that are making the Pender disks, the Jesse James tintypes, the bogus swords, the bullet in accoutrement plates etc are villains through and through.

BUT, the scams do not stop there. There are scams committed daily that are just as bad, if not WORSE, as these are pulled by "people in the know".

This list of Modus Operandi supplies no names, dates or places of occurrence. But all the following have happened, and continue to happen. And most importantly, are fully documented.

There is absolutely no immunity from this type of activity. Be careful of the waters you choose to swim.

  1. Market Control - A situation that happens when large investors try to corner the market on particular items by purchasing unknown or little known items in hopes of gaining a monopoly and removing the items from circulation. It is the first step in Price Manipulation. See the following.
  2. Price Manipulation - This tactic runs hand in hand with Market Control. Once a commodity is sufficiently amassed, then the person who has the most toys dictates the price. Often times a price guide on that subject is written to manipulate the items and their values. And then the vast stores of these items are sold off at large prices. Soon, the market is flooded, and the value plummets.
  3. Shadow Appraisals - A technique that occurs when unknowing or uneducated people bring or send an item to a dealer for appraisal. A fair market value price is intentionally NOT quoted, and then a pittance of the value is offered to the person by the appraiser. Once purchased, the item is sold for an exponential profit versus the investment. Some of these shadow appraisals have made their way into Federal Court. And, the appraisers have been judged to return the large sums of money to the victims which were stung by the shadow appraising. It is such a shame that some people are not satisfied with making a fair profit. Most of them feel they have a right to scalp the unwitting. These people often prey upon the weak and innocent with no regard to honor, ethics or decency.
  4. Dealer Fornication - This happens when knowledgeable dealers add, modify, change or otherwise alter an item so as to present a better specimen for larger sums of money. Done very often with guns, swords uniforms, accoutrement plates, buttons etc. Even the smallest of changes can make the price tag go up astronomically. But in reality, to the educated collector, the modification weakens the piece both monetarily as well as historically.
  5. Swap Shop - This is when a person sells an item to a dealer or collector, and then the buyer wants to return the item for a refund using the excuse of dissatisfaction. But, a swap occurs when the item returned is different that the item originally sent. An inferior item or sometimes even a counterfeit item is returned. A few people use this technique to upgrade their collections with only a temporary minimal monetary investment. If this tactic works, all the buyer pays for is shipping expenses. Thereby, upgrading their item for pennies.
  6. Hostage & Ransom - Occurs when a dealer is interested in buying an item from an individual or another dealer. The buyer wants a courtesy "hands on" examine of the item before making an offer. If a price can not be negotiated, or another party offers more money, the potential buyer that was afforded the courtesy examination then sends the item back with a sizable C.O. D. (Cash On Delivery) affixed to the item. These people are very careful NOT to use the US Postal Service for their ransom, as they could be in BIG trouble for mail fraud. They use UPS and other services for their "hostage ransom". Be VERY, VERY careful here. It is usually best to get a contract in writing before sending items.
  7. Horse Traders - Happens when a person will belittle and dump all over an item for sale. Often times saying it is commom, inferior, an unknown or unproven specimen or can be purchased elsewhere cheaper. THEN, they offer to buy the item at a price far under your price!! Always makes me wonder why if an item is pronounced so terrible by a potential buyer, why they would want to buy it!?!? One of the oldest scams in the book. Don't fall prey to this tactic. Some are very slick and are a master of rhetoric. Horse Traders know full well what they are doing and would like nothing better than to take your item home with them for a "song".

SO YOU SEE that there are all kinds of scams in all kinds of places. We have to learn of the fakes on the marketplace as well as the other scams, fraud and fluff that occur.

It is so very sad that a person has to be on such a heightened state of alert, but it is a cold and plain truth of collecting.

Not only does the buyer have to be aware, but often times the seller does to.

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