This month has flown by. First, I would like to thank everyone who contacted me regarding keeping the newsletter going and for all of those who have contributed pictures and tidbits about their collection. One of the most enjoyable aspects of our collections is sharing them with others who truly appreciate our finds and displays. Always amazes me when a non collector sees my collection and inquires if I do "ceramics" - it's all I can do not to laugh at their ignorance but I guess if everyone had the knowledge and shared the obsession we do, it would not be affordable for any of us. Not sure about most of you, BUT I for one NEVER admit to prices I pay to a non collector - they would never understand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Many of you may not have gotten involved in selling on Ebay as yet. A few weeks ago, they announced a substantial price increase in both listing and final value fees effective mid February. It should be interesting to see how this affects the listings. It is different for those listing items they have little or no investment in but those of us who have paid a lot of quality items, the increase will cut into the ability to recoup monies. I think it may affect the selection of pieces being offered on Ebay in the future. As buyer's, it is the only sources available to many collectors but I think we will lose some dealers/sellers that find it won't be profitable for anyone other than Ebay.
Last month I mentioned about fraud on Ebay and had some suggestions from a collector on how to handle these unethical sellers - here is more of the details on the subject. It is a problem we all need to address as many unsuspecting buyers are being ripped off repeatedly. Be advised if any of you are defrauded in this way the State's Attorney General will take complaints and IF the money was sent by mail, mail fraud applies. Notice how many sellers are requesting PAYPAL ONLY - not sure if this exempts them from the mail fraud if the items is shipped via USPS. A couple of years ago I purchased an authentic Brayton Mammy for over $700 and received a $40 cheap copy jar - received negative feedback because I "threatened" legal action with Washington State's Attorney General - I am willing to over pay on any genuine piece of Shawnee to add it to my collection but will always take a stand about someone passing fakes as real.
" Hello again Lin,
I was encouraged to read your messages and advice regarding Shawnee reproductions in the current Newsletter, as well as the concern noted from Ed Lucas.
I have been especially disheartened for a long time about the growing proliferation of fake Shawnee cookie jars being represented as "the real thing" on Ebay. The matching "shamrock smiley jar and shakers" you pictured in the newsletter are, at least, closer replicas than most of the "junk" sold on ebay described as Shawnee, and at such unbelievable high prices. So over the past few months I have taken steps to address those who consistently and unethically offer these "Shawnee jars" for sale. Whether or not it avails any results or deters anyone, I doubt it. But as you stated, "it sickens us"! It's not just the fact that these cheap fakes are offered to bidders with no notice of what they really are, with the word SHAWNEE all over the descriptions, but what really bothers me is that people are paying high prices for these cookie jars that probably are not worth $20. I have seen some of these jars up close and personal, and they are lightweight, with poor mold-detail, and the decorating and glazing is nowhere close to the quality of even standard contemporary pottery. Just yesterday, 1-4-05, one of these sellers sold a fake Winnie for $207 and a matching Smiley for $178. This same seller sold another knock-off Winnie cookie jar for over $635 several months ago, and that is when I decided to get personally involved not only as dedicated Shawnee collector, but also as a concerned 6-year member of the Ebay community.
I don't know what the liability issues might be for identifying these sellers in a newsletter, but, if for only your information, if you're not aware, some of the more blatant and consistent sellers of these fakes are selling under the ebay user names of "fayes_southern_memories", "rock_of_memories", "dixie_delights", "dixieland_collectables", "morningglorycottagegifts", and "our_country_treasures", all of which have private feedback, which is ironically supposed to protect bidders, not the sellers. There is no way under these "User ID Kept Private" seller listings, to know who is bidding in order to help them from becoming victims. "Our_country_treasures" is the only one of these sellers which uses any type of disclaimer statement in their listings, "the authenticity , age, and collectability can not be guaranteed". The rest treat each item with exact wording as if it is the only one of its kind they have had and how rare and mint it is being a Shawnee jar.
I have emailed each of these sellers by using the "Ask seller a question" access on the listed item page, advising them of who I am, that I have been collecting Shawnee Pottery for over 20 years, and advising them that they are not identifying their items accurately as reproductions in violation of Ebay seller policies. Of course no response ever came back from any of them. Then in further listed items later on, I emailed them advising them that I will report the Misleading Title Listings to Ebay Security Center and Customer Support, if they do not change the way they list these "Shawnee" items in later offers. I have yet to see any responses in over 4 months, and no change in their selling methods have been evidenced, so I have consistently sent the information on subsequently listed items to Ebay Authorities, for whatever it's worth. I don't know if I am the only Shawnee collector involved with Ebay in this regard, but for any of your readers that might want to follow suit, I can give information on how Ebay members can report these violations. I have read all Ebay policies, rules, and regulations for sellers and have become quite familiar with the elements of clear seller violations and how to report them. Using Brand names to mislead buyers in regard to the origin of an item, as well as not identifying reproductions, copies, dupes, etc. is in violation of Ebay policies and can be reported for investigation without any legal liability on our part. Maybe if enough complaints are received it may have some effect. But whether it does or not, as a long-time dedicated Shawnee lover, I am determined to do whatever I can to prevent as many up and coming collectors from being duped as possible, and souring their Shawnee collecting experiences. Your newsletter is a great tool in this effort, and I want to offer my personal appreciation for your work and I will commit to help in any way I can.
If you want to pass this information on to your readers, the steps to reporting habitual unscrupulous sellers of fake Shawnee to Ebay are as follows:
First write down the Ebay item number(s) of the items that are of fakes identified as Shawnee Items in the Listings (Titles), then...
1) Start at your My Ebay page, go to Help at the top of the page.
2) On the Help page, enter listing policies for sellers in the search help bar, and hit search.
3) On the Listing Policies for Sellers page go down half way through the list of policies and hit Misleading
4) On the Misleading Titles page, go down to the phrase (Report listing violations or problems with another
Ebay member) and hit the word Report.
5) You will then be at the email format to submit to ebay for that violation. Just enter the ebay item numbers of the falsely advertised items as instructed underneath (up to 10 items) and then submit. That's it !
This is only a suggestion to those experienced and savvy Shawnee Collectors, who might want to address their otherwise helpless frustrations regarding this growing problem.
Thanks again Lin and I will do my part to help you keep the Newsletter going. We have a lot to share and talk about. I just need to get a digital camera and learn how to use the computer in conjunction with it."