Father and Son Reunion on eBay
But What About Dad?
When Paul Simon came out with his hit record, Mother and Child Reunion, in 1972, no one thought at the time to ask him for a sequel to that song--you know, something for dear old Dad. As I write this, heading into a Father's Day weekend forty-one years after the fact (Wow! Where did the time go?), I'm thinking that maybe we can do something about that.
I have had the privilege and pleasure of selling on eBay--arguably, the world's greatest marketplace--for the last thirteen years. In that time, I've seen or have even been part of some strange antics. A recent project of mine involving a thus far failed attempt at selling bits and pieces of roadside paraphernalia is a good example of both my quirky sense of humor and my questionable behavior.
I am convinced that the same sort of white-garbed people who jumped Jack Nicholson's character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are already plotting my capture.
Nevertheless, strange occurrences on eBay provide me with tremendous learning experiences.
I remember, for example, how I dropped in almost two years ago at The Country Store in Walla Walla. In the course of checking out the thrift and consignment store comprised of several different shops, each owned by an independent contractor, I found a couple of large boxes full of vintage National Geographic magazines from the mid-1920’s.
The original price for the two boxes had been $65, but because no one had expressed any solid interest, and because the booth owner was no longer interested in renewing her lease, the collection of old magazines was reduced by 50%. Seizing the moment like a macaque snatching a banana, I was soon hauling the boxes home where the immediate challenges were to find ample storage room for the ancient periodicals and to prove to my better half that I could sell the magazines and turn a profit.
In the ensuing months, I discovered that selling the magazines on eBay (without losing money) was surprisingly difficult. Perhaps the principal reason for this is the glut of National Geographic magazines on the eBay market.
A subsequent and related reason is a pricing war which leads to an absurd diminishing of the intrinsic value of these antique treasures. Personally, I don't understand sellers' rationale for gouging prices. It's disgraceful to the eBay tradition, disrespectful to oneself as well as competitors, and ironically perpetuates and perhaps even worsens a sluggish economy.
A third reason is that I truly didn’t know what I was doing.
Somewhat disillusioned and yet not wanting to give up on my attempts at establishing a new eBay niche, I decided one day to tear the magazines up…no, not in utter frustration and abandonment of my entrepreneurial goals, but with the strategy of selling prints, articles, and ads from the old magazines.
And—boy!—am I glad I took this fork in the road.
Almost 500 ephemera sales later, I’ve certainly realized a profit, and I’ve got lots of yesteryear National Geographic issues from The Country Store purchase to yet explore.
The challenge for me now is not having enough hours in a day to tackle all of my projects.
Please Take Just a Couple of Seconds to Respond to This Poll
Prior to reading this article, had you ever heard of the artist, PAUL GERDING?
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Looking for Dad in All the Right Places
In November of 2011, I sold the above ad for Electrol Heating Oil that I had gleaned from a 1928 National Geographic. The featured illustration was that of three women in 1920's attire lounging comfortably in a living room. What I did differently in the listing of this ad was to mention the name of the artist, Paul Gerding, in the title.
Now it isn't always easy to determine the identity of a vintage artist. For one thing, the artist's name might not be visible on a magazine print. Or, if it is visible, it often isn't legible.
In this case, both factors were in place, and so I thought, Why not? I'll put his name in both the title and description.
I was just starting out in my new eBay niche--vintage magazine ads--so my asking price was inexpensive. What I needed to do was to establish a presence, and I was willing to be patient and to pay my newbie dues.
It wasn't long before the item sold, and--boy!--was I elated! As I often did in those early days of pioneering my new niche (and still do), I ran downstairs to proudly announce to my wife the exciting news.
Somewhere between discovering the sale and packaging the item, it dawned on me that the buyer's name was hauntingly familiar.
Wait a minute! Could it be?
Customarily, I shoot off an email to thank and inform each buyer when the package is being mailed. This time, I also had a question for the buyer.
Hi (name withheld to protect individual's privacy)!
Thank you very much for your order and prompt payment. Your package will be mailed tomorrow morning at the USPS station in College Place, Washington state. Look for your item to arrive sometime later in the week.
Your delivery confirmation number is: (info withheld).
Positive feedback has been posted for you. Upon receipt of your package, kindly remember to do the same for us.
It certainly is a privilege to engage in this wonderful eBay transaction with you. Welcome back anytime!
By the way, I thought I recognized your name when I saw it in our PayPal account. As I reviewed the item title, I suddenly realized you have the same name as the talented artist who did that fine illustration for the ad. So...are you his son? My wife and I are so honored that you bought this item. Wow!What an uncanny occurrence! Only on eBay, right?
Anyway, thanks so much! Best wishes to you!
The customer promptly wrote back and confirmed that he indeed was the artist's son. At 65, he was having a ball searching eBay for his father's signature art. He reinforced the perception that a lot of artists had unreadable signatures and that he was glad that his father had signed his work in an easily identifiable way.
The son added:
I AM ALWAYS CHECKING EBAY FOR HIS WORK...I STILL DON'T HAVE AN ORIGINAL PAINTING...I'LL KEEP LOOKING...I'M 65 NOW AND THIS IS FUN AND SURPRISING...THANKS FOR THE NOTE.
My heart leaped in response to this man's unique and loving tribute to his father.
I thought of my own father and how I had only recently been reunited with him after 33 years of geographical and circumstantial separation.
I AM ALWAYS CHECKING EBAY FOR HIS WORK...I STILL DON'T HAVE AN ORIGINAL PAINTING...I'LL KEEP LOOKING...
Junior is thoroughly enjoying his cruising of the eBay waters and the occasional discovery of Senior's memorabilia.
How You Can Help in a BIG TIME Way
And so, dear reader, I now turn to you and solicit your help in making this father and son reunion complete.
Let's put our hearts and heads together in an attempt to find an original artwork of the father for this son's keepsake collection.
I mean, life is funny--it can take you on the strangest Odyssean twists and turns. What I'm holding up in faith is that it wasn't just mere coincidence that Paul Gerding, Jr., happened to order a vintage print ad bearing his father's remarkable talent from me. Perhaps I can serve as more than just an eBay seller by providing this platform as a means by which the word can go out to all interested parties:
Ladies and gentlemen, if you ever come across a painting by the famous early 20th-century artist, Paul Gerding, please contact this writer, Hawaiian Odysseus, via my HubPages profile page or in the comments section below.
Thanks, everyone, for sharing in this Hub experience. Your participation in reading, commenting, and possibly finding an original Paul Gerding painting, as well as all acts of love you engage in this coming week are dedicated as a SHOUT OUT of love to billybuc and his global movement of compassion--Humanity One World!