I received a letter the other day. I knew it was not going to go anywhere.
The outside of the letter was marked “Important” in red ink in the lower left corner. It was hand written in pen. I knew it wasn’t one from some group looking to fleece me of my money through a donation.
The letter was one that I have received several times. The details change a little, but the story is generally the same.
He was looking for the Graf Zeppelins and some other valuable US stamps. He wanted them on approval. In other words, send him thousands of dollars of stamps and hope he decides to either buy them or return them.
The end of his letter mentioned that he just sold property for $32,900. That is an exact figure from his letter. It wasn’t an arbitrary figure of just $30,000. The extra $2900 was to make my eyes glaze over. He said that he was looking to spend half of it on stamps.
Of course I jumped at the chance to ignore all of my steady and loyal customers for this rare opportunity to bring in $16,450 in business with this one customer. Oh, I almost forgot to mention this. At the very end of his letter, he wrote in nice big letters (again in red ink so that it caught my attention), “I’m SERIOUS!” Just in case I thought he was a raving lunatic.
In my years of dealing, I’ve had offers totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars from potential customers wanting to spend big money with me. How many sales did I make with these folks? Not one red cent!
Almost all of my business comes from typical collectors who ask for my pricelist and then place orders. Sometimes they order frequently, sometimes their orders are more sporadic. Sometimes the orders are very large. Sometimes the orders are under $10.
Maybe some newbie dealers fall for the letters sent by big spenders. I do not fall for them. They are full of hot air, inflated egos, and little else. Waving promises of big money in front of my face doesn’t even raise my eyebrow. The business person in me says to be polite. But there is a part of me that just wants to say, “Go away. Stop wasting my time you fool.”