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Father and Son Reunion on eBay

Updated on September 15, 2013
1928 Vintage Print Ad for Electrol
1928 Vintage Print Ad for Electrol | Source

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.

The Dahle 18" Personal Trimmer--A Great Tool for Trimming Those Vintage Print Ads
The Dahle 18" Personal Trimmer--A Great Tool for Trimming Those Vintage Print Ads | Source

Some Background

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?

See results

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!

Hau'oli La Makuakane!                                             Happy Father's Day!!
Hau'oli La Makuakane! Happy Father's Day!! | Source

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Now, this is what I call a very intriguing human interest story, the kind I like to write about. The fascinating thing about eBay for me, Brandi, is that it fills the void vacated (at great expense and sacrifice, I might add) by destructive addictions with constructive and pro-social activity. In addition, just as I do with my walking, I love to write about this endeavor that I so passionately pursue. Thanks for your wonderful visit! Aloha, my friend!

    ~Joe

  • CraftytotheCore profile image

    CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

    Wow that is quite a story! I got chills up on my arms reading this. So cool! I took on some vintage items for a friend and tried to list them online, not on eBay though. One of the items had someone's name written in pen. So I too put the name in my listing....sure enough someone with the same name bought the item! She said that she collects vintage things she can hang in her kitchen with her name on it! I thought that was so neat.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Pearl, because we ARE a community of aspiring writers and loving human beings, it's very important to me that I share my heartfelt impressions of certain writers who move me deeply with others. You and Bill are cut from the same cloth of compassion, and it's thus an easy and understandable thing that I do...talking about you, that is! : ) Keep up your great writing and wonderful ways, my friend! The world is a better place for it!!

    Joe

  • grandmapearl profile image

    Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

    Joe, only you could do justice to this ebay sales tale! I love your 'quirky sense of humor'. It's what keeps me coming back for more! You are definitely a H.O.W. kind of person. Thank you, by the way, for your kind comment on billybuc's hub about writing with emotions. I was pleased you mentioned my love of birds and nature.

    Keep these awesome articles coming, my friend ;) Pearl

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Arun!

    Always a delight to hear from you! I'm at a coffee shop in a neighboring state, working on a hub draft while waiting for my wife to finish her appointment. Later, she and I will do some "picking" at a thrift store or two and then make the hour-long drive back to our home. I have so much writing to do today, my friend, but always have time to thank and visit with friends like you. Aloha, and have a great week!

    Joe

  • ARUN KANTI profile image

    ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

    Joe-What an interesting hub! I am getting curious to know further about the paintings of the famous artist. Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful week.

    Aloha,

    Arun Kanti

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hey, Mary!

    Good morning to you! I am enjoying a Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappucino at a Starbucks shop in Hermiston, OR, about an hour's drive from home. Waiting for inspiration to hit. Might be here for a while. Ha-ha! Actually, I'm doing a bit of research for one of my next hubs. I love your characterization of me derived from my self-deprecating meanderings. : ) Thank you always for your wonderful support, my friend. Well, back to work I go! Have a great week, lovely lady! Aloha!

    Joe

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

    Joe, where do I begin this comment? "...my quirky sense of humor and my questionable behavior...." is just what attracts people to you! Your history, I won't talk about partying in the 60's ;) has brought you here. Your followers will keep you here.

    Who else but you could turn a hub on selling on ebay into a lovely story abotu an artist and his son. I hope someone comes up with an original print. Nicely done Joe.

    Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. Shared too so we can spread the word.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Rajan!

    Hope your Father's Day was a pleasant and memorable one! Thank you for your thoughtful wishes. Looking forward to another busy week of eBaying and writing! Aloha! Joe

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    This is so touching. Such instances really touch me to the core and I hope you are able to locate more of the artist's work either yourself or through this platform.

    Aloha and have a wonderful coming week.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Dahlia! Back at you!

  • livingsta profile image

    livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

    Hi Joe, glad to hear that. I am doing good, just want a bit of sunshine :-)

    You take care and have a great week ahead my friend!

    Sending you smiles...

    Dahlia

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Good morning, Writer Fox!

    Thank you very much for joining me in the little celebrations of the bigger things in life.

    Aloha, and have a wonderful week ahead!

    Joe

  • Writer Fox profile image

    Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

    What a joy to find this on Father's Day! Cool.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Nancy!

    With the urgency of the 30/30 Challenge looming ominously over procrastinator me, I am switching gears and will be cranking out a few eBay articles over the next few days. I wanted to give you a heads up so you can prepare to either have fun while learning a few new things or grow weary of the "same old thing." LOL! Thank you so much for your loyal support and encouragement. Aloha and have a nice weekend, my friend!

    Joe

  • Nancy C Moores profile image

    Nancy C Moores 3 years ago

    Hey, Joe, am still interesting doing something with eBay. Havn't gotten myself together yet. hmmmmmm I'm wondering if that is going to happen. :~) appreciated this article also. I will keep an eye out for this artist. You have such and awesome way to look at things. Thanks Another great job.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Not a problem, Karen. I'm grateful that you pointed it out. The spelling might have been an acceptable variation, but the way I have it now removes all doubt and leaves less room for quirky jokes. LOL! God has you in the palm of His hands. Remember that! Be still and know that He is God!

    Joe

  • Karen Hellier profile image

    Karen Hellier 3 years ago from Georgia

    Believe me, I didn't intend to put egg on your face. I had just never heard of that creature. Sorry. Thanks for the surgical team good wishes! I'll report back in next week on how they did!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Dahlia! Thank you for stopping by. As far behind as I am in my Hub Challenge, I am having a surprisingly wonderful weekend thus far. A nice, long walk in the beautiful sun and yet not too high temps this morning provided me with lots of inspiration and energy for some good writing later today. How are you doing? I hope this finds you in good health and spirits, my friend! Aloha and mahalo!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Karen!

    I googled the spelling of the special monkey and found a youtube video announcement for macock, and Monkeys, so instead of going any further, I accepted and used that spelling. Now I'm learning that macock is a kind of melon. So I stand corrected...I intended all along to use a simile involving the macaque. Ha-ha! I have egg on my face. Thanks for pointing the oddity out. The only macaques in Hawai'i are in the zoo. They're from somewhere in Asia, I believe. Yeah, I am so far behind...so it's all about catching up in the second half of June. Good luck to us both! God bless you and the surgical team. Get well soon!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Ha-ha! Fortunately, the young rascal who did provide the answer 'fessed up! So you're in the clear! LOL! Yes, the response from Paul, Jr., regarding how he searches for his dad's stuff on eBay and elsewhere really touched me, and so I'll do my best to keep my eyes open for him. I can certainly identify with the son's longing to have these special remembrances of his father. Very touching, indeed! Thank you for your Father's Day wish, my friend! Happy Wetnoses Parenting Day to you as well! (I know in their special way that they miss Felix.) Aloha, WND!

    Joe

  • livingsta profile image

    livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

    Wow, Joe, how interesting. I cannot believe how things work. Such a beautiful incident. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    I have not heard of Paul Gerding before, neither about his painting. After reading your hub, I am so curious to have look at what it really is. All the best Joe. Wishing someone finds this painting!

    Voted up and sharing! Hope you are having a good weekend!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Liz, you are simply amazing! Congratulations on your your first video. I am so ON IT! Please send me a link or a clue as to how to find you via private email message, if you will. Thank you!

    My son from a first marriage--not the one featured in a recent hub--was born in 1971. So you're a Gen Xer. Very cool! But I certainly have a very difficult time seeing either you or my son as middle-aged. : ) You guys are still so very, very young.

    I'm glad I prepared just the right response for you in the polls! Isn't that cool how it turned out so apropos?

    Selling on eBay is exhilarating, exciting, and powerful! But the human interest stories...ah, there's the stuff that really moves me.

    Preview of what's coming up: A fantastic score on eBay after I develop a new niche.

    Aloha, Liz!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Yeah, that was on me, buddy! I went on a long 8.6-mile walk this morning and just got back about an hour ago. If I don't get to the comments in a timely manner, people don't see them. I didn't understand how that worked until Jaye wrote me three times last week, wondering if I was purposefully deleting her comments. She was halfway kidding, but it finally dawned on me what was going on. Sales are slow, so I'm developing a new niche or two on eBay and will be sharing one or more of them shortly on HubPages. One of the things I really had to work hard at in recovery was to quit sniveling about life being unfair and start taking responsibility. Once I turned the corner on that huge milestone, I started seeing things open up for me. Still, every now and then, the serpent rears its ugly head, and I just have to give it a swift poke with a stick and fling it back into the cow pasture. Have a good one, buddy, and I'll talk to you later!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hey, Bill!

    I'm slow on the draw with this Challenge, but I do have staying power! I write at the same pace that I ran the base paths--super slow! Ha-ha! I am the only guy to hit the ball the distance of a ground rule home run and somehow manage to get thrown out at third base because I didn't slide. Sheesh! What a plug horse! But need me to play Pony Express for you, and I'll heartily walk 10 miles to get your message where it needs to go. Which is all part of my way, just like you, my buddy from Olympia, to deflect a kind and generous compliment. Thank you so much for your uplifting words. Aloha, and continue to have a terrific weekend! Rita's treating me to a Father's Day outing at the Poplar Street Cinema downtown. The Man of Steel has an old Hawaiian comic book collector as one of his biggest fans. I love, too, the fact that the actor's a Brit! See ya around, Bill! Aloha!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Eddy! I am off to a good start this weekend and hope to play a little catch up with my delinquent Challenge hubs. Loved your poem montage this morning--what inspiration it gave me for a nice long walk minutes after. Best regards, and lots of aloha!

    Joe

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I'm sure I commented on this but I don't see it....I'll check back later to see if it finally showed up. Have a great day my friend.

    bill

  • Radcliff profile image

    Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

    Many moons ago, I worked for an Hawaiian-themed restaurant called Islands. They made the best french fries ever, so I'm really looking forward to the ones I ordered in that poll.

    I would also like to note that 1972 is the year I was born. Gen Xers were born in the 70s. Yes, we're old now. Were you saying that your son was born in 1972? If so, very cool.

    You've had some fascinating experiences on eBay! It must be rewarding to provide items with such sentimental value.

    My first video is finished and on YouTube. Now I need to finish my first eBay hub. I'd like to get it up today, but it's Sunday and I need to get some listings up!

    Aloha, Joe!

  • Karen Hellier profile image

    Karen Hellier 3 years ago from Georgia

    Okay, my first question is: What's a macock??? LOL! I am assuming it's a monkey, maybe prevalent in the Hawaiian Islands??? Great hub here and a really great idea on how to reach out to others to help the artist's son. I hope it does the trick. Great hub. You are not up to date on your hubs for this challenge I see, and I take heart in that because I am a LOT farther behind than you!!! Keep writing though...I know we can do it!

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

    It wasn't me who voted for french fries this time - LOL.

    Wow, this is something special that a son can find the joys in ebay looking for his dads' work. I will have to keep a look out.

    It is definitely a small world and grateful to achieve the notice of a name. Who knows who you will meet next.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience with us.

    Great going on your challenge. You are getting it numbered down.

    If I forget later, let me say now, Happy Father's Day.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    How very cool, Joe!

    We were thumbing through some Saturday Evening Posts last night from 1956 and I was looking at the artist's names on the ads...it is fascinating to go back in time and see what you discover...and then to have the son of one of those artists contact you....what a great connection.

    Anyway, I'm about to begin my weekend and this was a lovely way to start my day. You are a superb writer who is at the top of his game and I'm proud to be on this ride with you.

    Aloha my friend

    bill

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

    Brilliant ;so interesting and thank you so much for sharing. It is appreciated. Here's to wishing you a great weekend.

    Eddy.

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