The deal went bad!!
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Posted (edited)

This is a story about heartbreak. I’m looking for others. I did not mention the artwork involved in this deal gone bad. Use your imagination.

Anyone care to share a time a deal you were working on went bad? I have one. Last year at the LA Con my buddy and I saw a guy asking about talking to a dealer to find out what his art might be worth. The guy at the booth was covering for the dealer who was at lunch and knew nothing about the art. So the guy was walking away and I approached him. I asked if I could see what he had and he pulled out two pages.

When. I saw them I almost dropped dead. They were pages from a book I've wanted for years. Almost as if this was a candid camera prank.

He bought them from a comic store 30 years ago for $20 and $15. “I’m thinking they are worth more now.” “What $150 maybe?”he asked me.

I shook my head.

“No those are much more highly valued today.”

My mind raced as I tried to find the right price but I couldn’t bring myself to rob him. 

“So what, like $500 for both of them?” he asked me.

“Would you sell them?“ I asked

I don’t know. I don’t need the money but my kids have no interest in them. If I die they won’t know what to do with them.”

I had $2000 cash on me so I made him an offer on the spot. He looked stunned but he didn’t take the money. I decided to be magnanimous and I introduced him to a dealer friend I thought would give him the most for the pages. I introduced them and they talked but the guy decided to hold on to them.

Before he left I chatted with him and we exchanged phone numbers. I said,”if you decide to sell would you give me a chance?” He agreed.

Come the new year I reached out and he said he had decided to sell. 
“Because you didn’t take advantage of me and made me an offer well over what I thought they were worth, I think I should  give you a chance.”

So we went back and forth and he decided on $4000. I agreed and we live 2 hours apart. I offered to ride up and pay him cash in a safe pubic place and he agreed.

”I just want to know, are these for you or are you looking to resell them for more money?”

I told him honestly that they were for my personal collection.

He told me “I’m glad to sell them to you.”

”You were honest, you offered me a fair price when we met.” “You even tried to help me make more with the dealers when I wasn’t sure I wanted to sell.” “Your honesty means a lot to me.”

”I’ll see you at 11am tomorrow.”

I went and got the cash and told the wife we were taking a drive Saturday. We’d make a day out of it. Later that night I got a call from the seller.

”I feel bad but I have to back out of our agreement.” “My wife thinks they might be worth more.” “We really don’t need the money.”

I was devastated. The deal was done save for the exchange of cash for art. He backed out. I bit my lip and wished him well. 
To get to the $4000 valuation during negotiations I had told the seller in my opinion that if he took them to auction he might get between 5-6K or he might get less. I explained he’d pay 10-28% BP and then 10% California sales tax so....

Well the pages sold for $5500

less 20% BP = $4400

less sales tax $550 on price with BP or $440 on price less BP

= either $3,850 or $3,960

It’s not a lot but poetic they he took less money by breaking our agreement.
 

I did not bid. No matter how much I had originally wanted them his decision to break our deal soured me on them.

I know a lot of interesting comments may be coming for or against the seller.

Im sure some of you think I’m a great guy for being honest and some will call me a chump.

Me I’m just sad I didn’t get the art I desired.

Has anything like this ever happened to you?

asks grapeape, already knowing the answer.

 

Edited by grapeape

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Posted (edited)

Not too sure why the seller would be paying the sales tax as opposed to the buyer.

The seller, if selling at a public auction, would be very wise to pay capital gains tax when the time comes...the sale is a matter of public record.

You and the owner had an agreement and he backed out.  In fact, it sounds like an oral contract to me but then again, I'm not a lawyer.

You did have a chance to bid so you really can't lament not getting the pages if they meant that much to you  2c

 

Edited by pemart1966

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Anyone with a Kirby Chair is rich in what matters, yes?

I haven't had quite the same sour deal experience but I have failed to cut out the middleman on at least one occasion.

 

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See what happens when you offer someone money in a safe pubic place?

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Posted (edited)

My heart screams that I should do exactly what you did, and then, I remembered someone else who posted something similar a few months back. So, I have re-thought about it.

In a situation like this, I would have to tell myself not to do it. He knew he didn’t know what it was worth. He did not try to look it up, and you are not a dealer with whom he should have a legitimate reason to expect a fair price. He also did not operate under a mistaken factual belief, for example, getting the artist’s attribution wrong, which you took advantage of. In a sense, he played you— you did his homework for him and suffered for it. Once he made an offer of $500 of his own free will, you should have paid him in cash, gotten a receipt, and left. He would have been happy with it and so would you. Yes, hard to do, I agree.

And yes, you probably did have a binding oral agreement at $4k. But you would be stunned to hear what he would actually say at trial after he spoke to a lawyer about it. 

Edited by Rick2you2

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This goes back to 2005/2006. A collector/dealer had a piece I loved and I was working out a deal for it. 
I was speaking to someone I considered a friend and told him about the piece and how I was trying to get it. Two days passed and I contacted to the dealer to discuss further. He told me it sold. My “friend” drove down and bought the piece the day before. Needless to say I was stunned. Lesson learned. That “friend” is now a dealer and I refuse to deal with. 

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4 hours ago, pemart1966 said:

Not too sure why the seller would be paying the sales tax as opposed to the buyer.

The seller, if selling at a public auction, would be very wise to pay capital gains tax when the time comes...the sale is a matter of public record.

You and the owner had an agreement and he backed out.  In fact, it sounds like an oral contract to me but then again, I'm not a lawyer.

You did have a chance to bid so you really can't lament not getting the pages if they meant that much to you  2c

 

There isn't a page in the world worth rewarding an unscrupulous person who was hell bent on making sure you were worthy of dealing with only to turn out to not be worthy of trust himself. 

If you or I or anyone finds themselves in the position of saying "well, you know, it was verbal, and well, you know, I know we had a deal, but technically....." you can stop right there because the person uttering those words is a butthole. If someone has to get to "technically" to let themselves out of keeping their word, or maintaining their integrity, or honoring the deal to which they agreed then their word, their integrity, their honor may have never really existed or been anything to rely upon in any tangible form to begin with. 

Another term for "oral contract" is " A Deal " as in "A Deal's A Deal". 

Because, in the end, I don't think he's really lamenting not "getting the pages" I think he's lamenting someone who he trusted turned out to be dishonest and lacked integrity to the point that any good feelings or joy he would have received from owning and holding those pages was forever tainted. 

Being that this is artwork and not some utilitarian item a big part of wanting to own it is the joy surrounding the nostalgia for the work, and the chase of the item, and eventually owning something you've appreciated for a long time. It's the aesthetics tied to the emotion. I can completely understand how the desire to own is destroyed when someone lies to you and breaks trust. 

To me, and I've had people do this to me, these pieces might as well have been destroyed in a fire because it wouldn't matter to me if I ever owned them again. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, glendgold said:

You'd think, but I can see grapeape's position.  Once upon a time there was a piece of art that I wanted - the seller and I were close to a price that was a little above market on it, which was fine.  Then he doubled the price because he'd googled me and decided I was rich.  "You can afford it," as he said.  Well, needless to say...no.  And that thing has kicked around auctions ever since, never close to the higher price, often just around what I would have paid for it, and I have never had any interest in it since.

PS No, I'm not rich.  You'd have to have a pretty optimistic viewpoint on novel-writing to think that.

Two Things: 

1) Effin-A right about losing interest in a piece when someone pulls that kind of garbage.

and

B) Maybe he meant famous...because you're famous....the size of your entourage (ok, it's a bunch of comic art geeks eating really bad seafood in a mysteriously abandoned looking seaside restaurant) in San Diego was too impressive for a non-influencer. 

Edited by comix4fun

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Posted (edited)

Can't think of a deal gone bad yet.  Never dealt with anyone whose feedback isn't visible/proven.

Grape + Ape, you deserved better, m'friend!

Edited by exitmusicblue

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1 hour ago, AnkurJ said:

This goes back to 2005/2006. A collector/dealer had a piece I loved and I was working out a deal for it. 
I was speaking to someone I considered a friend and told him about the piece and how I was trying to get it. Two days passed and I contacted to the dealer to discuss further. He told me it sold. My “friend” drove down and bought the piece the day before. Needless to say I was stunned. Lesson learned. That “friend” is now a dealer and I refuse to deal with. 

Raw. Did he also try to sell it to you? Ever explain his behavior? 

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8 minutes ago, Rick2you2 said:

Raw. Did he also try to sell it to you? Ever explain his behavior? 

Nope and said it was fair game.

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It's amazing how many of these deal breaker guys throw their wife under the bus in the process...

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6 hours ago, pemart1966 said:

Not too sure why the seller would be paying the sales tax as opposed to the buyer.

The seller, if selling at a public auction, would be very wise to pay capital gains tax when the time comes...the sale is a matter of public record.

You and the owner had an agreement and he backed out.  In fact, it sounds like an oral contract to me but then again, I'm not a lawyer.

You did have a chance to bid so you really can't lament not getting the pages if they meant that much to you  2c

 

I’ll give you that one. He probably doesn’t pay sales tax as the seller.

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6 hours ago, pemart1966 said:

Not too sure why the seller would be paying the sales tax as opposed to the buyer.

The seller, if selling at a public auction, would be very wise to pay capital gains tax when the time comes...the sale is a matter of public record.

You and the owner had an agreement and he backed out.  In fact, it sounds like an oral contract to me but then again, I'm not a lawyer.

You did have a chance to bid so you really can't lament not getting the pages if they meant that much to you  2c

 

I agree that I could have bid. It was the principle. We had a deal. It wasn’t spite. I weighed how much I wanted the pages vs. how I felt about him breaking the deal. In the end I didn’t want them.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Rick2you2 said:

My heart screams that I should do exactly what you did, and then, I remembered someone else who posted something similar a few months back. So, I have re-thought about it.

In a situation like this, I would have to tell myself not to do it. He knew he didn’t know what it was worth. He did not try to look it up, and you are not a dealer with whom he should have a legitimate reason to expect a fair price. He also did not operate under a mistaken factual belief, for example, getting the artist’s attribution wrong, which you took advantage of. In a sense, he played you— you did his homework for him and suffered for it. Once he made an offer of $500 of his own free will, you should have paid him in cash, gotten a receipt, and left. He would have been happy with it and so would you. Yes, hard to do, I agree.

And yes, you probably did have a binding oral agreement at $4k. But you would be stunned to hear what he would actually say at trial after he spoke to a lawyer about it. 

He was trying to figure out what they were worth when he said $150, $500....My gut told me he was going to ask a dealer before making a final decision. If I was too eager and a dealer quoted higher I would lose credibility so I went for the win at $2 K.

These things are delicate. I’m at peace other then I wish he’d kept his word. That means something to me.

Edited by grapeape

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2 hours ago, AnkurJ said:

This goes back to 2005/2006. A collector/dealer had a piece I loved and I was working out a deal for it. 
I was speaking to someone I considered a friend and told him about the piece and how I was trying to get it. Two days passed and I contacted to the dealer to discuss further. He told me it sold. My “friend” drove down and bought the piece the day before. Needless to say I was stunned. Lesson learned. That “friend” is now a dealer and I refuse to deal with. 

I’m sorry 

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2 hours ago, comix4fun said:

There isn't a page in the world worth rewarding an unscrupulous person who was hell bent on making sure you were worthy of dealing with only to turn out to not be worthy of trust himself. 

If you or I or anyone finds themselves in the position of saying "well, you know, it was verbal, and well, you know, I know we had a deal, but technically....." you can stop right there because the person uttering those words is a butthole. If someone has to get to "technically" to let themselves out of keeping their word, or maintaining their integrity, or honoring the deal to which they agreed then their word, their integrity, their honor may have never really existed or been anything to rely upon in any tangible form to begin with. 

Another term for "oral contract" is " A Deal " as in "A Deal's A Deal". 

Because, in the end, I don't think he's really lamenting not "getting the pages" I think he's lamenting someone who he trusted turned out to be dishonest and lacked integrity to the point that any good feelings or joy he would have received from owning and holding those pages was forever tainted. 

Being that this is artwork and not some utilitarian item a big part of wanting to own it is the joy surrounding the nostalgia for the work, and the chase of the item, and eventually owning something you've appreciated for a long time. It's the aesthetics tied to the emotion. I can completely understand how the desire to own is destroyed when someone lies to you and breaks trust. 

To me, and I've had people do this to me, these pieces might as well have been destroyed in a fire because it wouldn't matter to me if I ever owned them again. 

That’s exactly it. He said he was glad the pages were going to someone like me who would appreciate them. He said money didn’t mean that much because he didn’t need it.

When we agreed on the price I was proud that I had kept my integrity. It had won me the pages. I didn’t tell him they were cheap pages just to get them. I made a fair offer and later agreed to the price he said he could live with.

I shared the story with my wife and family. They don’t have a desire for art. But seeing my persistence and hearing an example of:

making him a very fair offer at the con

introducing him to a dealer who couldn’t make a deal. Why not? If I couldn’t have them at least help another human being

finally getting a deal done made my family feel good.

The seller backing out, well, not just for me but for my family I couldn’t buy them after that.

Funny thing is I expect to see these pages come up for sale soon at double, something the original seller swore up and down would make him cringe more then anything.

 

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