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One day in the early 1970's I was in a gunshop in Lexington KY that I frequented on a regular basis.

In walks a well dressed elderly lady with a prewar Colt Police Positive that was in the box, mint and had mother of pearl grips that had the masonic emblem inlaid in gold. She said "This was my deceased husband's revolver and I don't want to keep it around so I'm going to donate it to my church's charity auction. Could you please give me a value so I can deduct the donation on my taxes." The owner of the shop said " I'd be happy to; these guns sell for about $35.00. If I can make a suggestion, I'll give you $35.00 & you can give the money to your church & you won't have to worry about transporting that revolver" which the lady accepted.

Some people have absolutely no shame when it comes to dealing with the uninformed.

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Originally Posted By: Brittany Man
Some people have absolutely no shame when it comes to dealing with the uninformed.


There is a common reason that we frequent this and other "gun forums" and that we read and research the guns we are interested in. That reason is that we wish to be among the "informed" when it comes to our doubleguns.

I use that informed status every time I buy or sell a gun. Sometimes I get a good deal and sometimes I get cheated; either way I freely admit to having no shame about what little knowledge of the subject I do possess...Geo

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It is one thing get a great deal from a seller who has (presumably intentionally) chosen not to inform themselves, and a whole 'nother thing to steal from someone who asked for assistance.

I hope you did not buy any guns from that dealer after that - I am sure everything he sold was "orginal condition, unmolested" mad

Last edited by Doverham; 06/21/12 02:18 PM.

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If we can take the story at face value as told, the widow is reasonably well off, living in a relatively wealthy enclave. Her husband had the wherewithal to have a Perazzi and a pair of Purdey's cased. She didn't ask either the friend in the story or the couple for any advice about what the guns were worth. The price was set. Household articles had been being sold for a while and this sale took place near the end, implying others before these three had looked at the guns.

The woman, widow and aged or not, chose not to get the guns valued. She set her own price. She had them for sale in front of numerous people (we can infer) before a deal was struck by the couple. I suspect, although not part of the story, that there were other household articles of fine quality she was selling.

While I would not have attempted to haggle over price with her had it been me, I see nothing wrong with the transaction as it was described. Certainly nothing that warrants the purchaser being labeled a GD thief.

I think Mr Lomas and Mr Newbern have it right. There was no theft and no one was misled. Unless she was suffering from Alzheimer's, she would have had the knowledge and resources to get a proper appraisal. She chose not to.

Being female or being widowed is no excuse for not making some effort to be informed.

Last edited by canvasback; 06/21/12 02:38 PM.

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In the case of the Purdeys & the Perazzi it's simply a moral issue as the widow didn't ask a person who we would expect to be informed as to fair market value.

In the case of the Colt Police Positive it is both a legal and a moral issue since the lady asked for help from someone we would expect to be informed.

That said, I have several times paid much more than the asking price because I knew the seller had no idea of market value of an item even though I was under no obligation to inform them.

I do like to sleep well at night & I do care about my reputation as an honest person as opposed to being an opportunist!

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Originally Posted By: Brittany Man
In the case of the Purdeys & the Perazzi it's simply a moral issue as the widow didn't ask a person who we would expect to be informed as to fair market value. I do like to sleep well at night & I do care about my reputation as an honest person as opposed to being an opportunist!


I'll go along with that. I guess the "devil" is in making the decision in every given situation. Natural jealousy may have a lot to do with the judgementalness of others. It seems to me that one's own personal code is the best and only real guide we have...Geo

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If something is offered for sale by another dealer, however woefully cheap, it's completely fair to buy it because someone who purports to be a dealer, even a regular at a flea market, is assumed to be knowledgeable.

However (and a big "however") a non-dealer does not represent as having that specialized knowledge.

It is a moral and potentially a legal issue to take advantage of someone in so flagrant a manner.

C'mon, Canvas- does the supposition that the 80-year-old widow was affluent have any bearing on the transaction?

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If I had a few things around that I wanted to get rid of, for example recently we gave away some furniture. I wouldn't want someone pulling it off the truck because they felt guilty for not paying for it.

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Gnomon, I'm listening to you and others and I must confess I'm not sure I would behave as the purchaser did but I'm also not sure I am prepare to pass judgement on him (which I'm usually quite happy to LOL).

My point about the widow's background wasn't that she was affluent and so could afford being ripped off but that she likely had the resources and knowledge to properly be informed as to the guns value and she chose not to. That's part of freedom. The freedom to choose what do do, whether the result is in your favour or not.

Stealing is stealing regardless of the item or the relative wealth of the victim.

There is a man in California. At a garage sale he bought several boxes of photographs and negatives. He knew enough about photography and photographers to see they were all by the same artist and they were reminiscent of Ansel Adams work. He paid under $200 if I remember correctly. After over a decade of study and research this collection was declared several years ago to represent the entire output of Adams over about a decade, work that had been thought to have been lost in a warehouse fire 60-70 years ago.

The collection was valued at around 180 million dollars. Was the man who paid $200 for those photos a thief or even morally lacking? He could have informed the seller of his suspicions.

I also have difficulty with the female widow thing. Would the judgement passed be different if it was a 25 year old male black gun enthusiast who sold the guns?

Last edited by canvasback; 06/21/12 07:24 PM. Reason: Spelling

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We were speaking about this event again today back at my office. We had much argument about if we were there whether or not there existed an ethical duty to inform the lady owner of the potential value in the guns. Everyone agreed that had they purchased the guns they would have very quuickly tried to resell them at huge financial gain. Interestingly, most were of the opinion they had no duty to inform her of the potential value. What convinced many (for better or worse) was:

1. She and her husband obviously were of means.
2. They were or should be informed as to the value, and
3. She likely did not save the guns for last (in presenting them for sale only on that day at that moment) and so others had ample opportunity to point it out to her (Tragedy at The Commons?)...
I note that my friend said that she had a back room of "stuff" (I didn't ask more about that) which the lady owner told everyone that if they wanted anything back there it was for free. She obviously just wanted to rid herself of as much "stuff" on that final day as possible.

Many felt that since she was sticking to that asking price, then the asking price it shall be. I, myself, was conflicted. I would have offered her more, although my motivation may well have darkly been to ensure that she would never come back at me for not having offered her a "fair" price. I told my friends that i would have gladly sold my car for the Purdeys. But I want to believe that i would not have just paid the $2000 and skidaddled, that I would have given her a larger gift if I had it.

This did happen. I refrain from giving additional particulars such as her name and address, albeit it was loosely publicized amongst those who hit these estate sales.

Some four years ago or so, one of my co-worker's neighbor's was moving and asked her to take some "dirty brown guns." She's not a gun person and asked if I wanted them. I said i really wasn't too interested, having assumed they were low quality. She called me later and said the guy was going to throw them in the back canal because he wasn't particularly fond to have anyone "bad" get them, and couldn't be bothered to take them to the police station. He merely wanted to have her take them since she was in law enforcement. She addeed that he said they belonged to his deceased father, who upon death his son just kept them under the bed and never took them out. She called me yet again and so I went a half-hr's ride and came into possession of several brown guns, the below one of them. A 1938 Win 42. When I picked the guns up and realized what these were, I pleaded with her to take at least a half-50% of any profit should I sell any of the guns and to share with the neighbor disposing of them. She later called me to say he didn't care for anything from any sale and nor did she. Later I did sell the Win 42. So it does happen!

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