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Author Topic:   Haggling

Posts: 798
Registered: Apr 2008

iconnumber posted 04-27-2013 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agphile     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I sometimes think I am too softhearted for this hobby of collecting old silver. When I have spent a long time looking through and discussing a dealer’s stock I am left with a guilty feeling that I may have been a nuisance and ought to buy at least something, so I do. As a result I have ended up with several items that I never really wanted. They may be nice enough but they don’t particularly fit in with my collection or meet a need for something we might use.

And then there is haggling over price. It seems to work the wrong way for me. A couple of examples from a good few years ago. At a local antiques fair I stopped to glance at a set of EPNS commemorative pastry forks simply because I was slightly surprised to see something other than spoons in this category. The dealer immediately quoted a price. I explained that I didn’t want to buy. He immediately reduced the price further and I explained again. The process was repeated several times over. Eventually I crumbled and bought them just to end the conversation. I am sure they were a bargain but I don’t collect EPNS or commemorative items nor, as a left-hander, do I like pastry forks.

For others haggling may be about getting down to the right price. For me it seems to have been about being brow-beaten into an unwanted purchase, admittedly at negligible expense. If you know anybody who would like a set of 6 plated pastry forks commemorating the 1937 coronation of King George VI, let me know.

I had a similar experience with a different dealer at another fair. This time it was a teaspoon. I suspect the dealer (a part-timer rather than an expert) had picked it up thinking it might be something like a 17th century triffid spoon, which it clearly wasn’t. He offered it to me and I said no thank you. He then followed me round the fair suggesting ever lower prices I can’t think why he was so desperate to sell given that the price ended up somewhere around scrap value. Anyhow, softhearted as ever, I crumbled again.

The spoon has just the worn and indecipherable remnant of a maker’s mark. I have wondered, with no evidence, whether it might be a piece of American coin silver from around 1860 and would be mildly interested to know how likely that is.

I hope I have learnt from experience. At least I haven’t repeated this sort of mistake in recent years, but I still never seem to manage getting such drastic reductions for items I really want.

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Posts: 169
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 04-27-2013 10:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for taloncrest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agphile, I find your pastry fork rather interesting. There is a silverplate pattern by Oneida from around 1933 that appears to be identical to yours. Do a search for Charmion Peerless and see if it looks like yours. Charmion was the pattern name and Peerless the brand.

But the more I think of it, Oneida did sell it's patterns in Great Britain, as there is one pattern that was sold in Great Britain under the name Hampton Court, but was sold in the US as Coronation.

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Posts: 1970
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 04-27-2013 11:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agphile, you have a tender heart. If this were a fairy tale, your spoon would turn out to be the magical kind that grants three wishes; if the wishes are self-serving it grants them in a literal-minded way that causes the wisher to suffer, but if they're generous wishes they bring great good fortune to the wisher.

Be that as it may, it doesn't look like American coin silver to me.

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Posts: 400
Registered: May 2008

iconnumber posted 04-28-2013 06:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hose_dk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Art and Science of Negotiating was the name of a course I took at the University.

And right - the Things we don't want are cheap. Always cheaper. My cheapest and best negotiations are done when I really want something but I know that wife will disapprove. That sets a limit of my spending - often I meet that goal.

In your case - often I look whether its silver or plate. And seller desperate to sell. My standard reply - I looked at hallmarks - and some tells that it is older than expected. These are of interest.

When seller continues - my reply is "Price is not everything I must also have room for it at home.

Having said that - I have a few Things bought because I got caught in a negotiating smile

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Scott Martin
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Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 04-28-2013 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A good subject/post - thanks. smile

---- ---- ----- ----

There are dealers who are knowable and fair about pricing.
And then there are dealers who are not.
Today there seem to be more of the second.

Though fewer, there are still a lot of dealers the who are knowable and fair about pricing and they tend to get our business. But at shows we look at everything regardless.

At an unfamiliar dealer’s show booth we know right away the situation when the dealer’s first words are a price, followed by “but I can do better.” And then without pause this is followed by sales hyperbole and often with inaccurate knowledge. Clearly we are dealing with a motivated seller but all too often the seller’s price is unrealistically too high .... this is generally when we start to move on.

As we are leaving, the seller will sometimes offer a further reduction. If the new lower price is right then we have a deal but generally it is still too lofty of a price. We used to counter with what we would be willing to pay ... not any more. The reason is that our realistic price most often results in an aggravated seller.... presumably because the seller paid too much and now can’t sell without losing money. We don’t like to aggravate dealers/sellers, so we move on.

If the item we left behind is of interest we write it down. At the end of the show we review all our notes and return to a few dealers/sellers to see if they are feeling good about what they have sold and are the now in the mood to let it go at our price?

---- ---- ----- ----

There are a few dealers/sellers who “know us” but don’t really know us. And they are often the dealers who don’t put price tags on their merchandise. This won’t stop us from looking but generally we do a lot of listening while looking. We are listening because we want to hear the price others are getting. We have learned the seller/dealer’s price to us is higher because the seller/dealer is afraid we are interested because they are making a mistake and under valuing the item. We don’t give their inventory much of a look.

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Posts: 798
Registered: Apr 2008

iconnumber posted 04-28-2013 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agphile     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spot on. It is the same pattern. The forks are marked DORCHESTER SILVER PLATE which I assume must be a trade name Oneida was using in the UK. A search shows quite a lot with this mark on sale in the UK, much of it in this pattern including a surprising number of commemorative pastry forks. It makes me wonder whether the whole 1937 UK production run might have been marked for the coronation.

Just in case, I tried to make a philanthropic wish but was unable to suppress a sneaking hope that one of my soft-hearted purchases might turn out to be something special after all, so you now have me worrying what the consequence of that might be. But thanks for the comment on the spoon. Not English and not American, but now I can at least say it must be from somewhere else.

I fear I cannot match your approach to negotiation. Any price paid would be too much for my wife who has been gently encouraging me to get rid of stuff before I acquire any more. It was this encouragement that led me to dig out the items that started this thread, among a host of others, as a start to listing what might go. I haven’t actually got rid of anything yet but I do make a show of working on the list whenever I buy something. I am not sure she is convinced by this but I actually agree that I need to have a clear out sooner or later. It would be nice to end up with a coherent collection without the clutter of other bits and pieces.

Thanks. These days I mostly buy from specialist dealers or specialist auctions. This means less chance of the absolute bargain but also less of the unrealistic nonsense from the inexpert dealer. The chance of finding an unrecognised treasure at an antiques fair or flea market is ever more remote in my preferred field of early spoons so I do much less of that sort of hunting now.


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