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What would you do?

Postby Bandmaster » Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:19 am

I won an auction on Ebay yesterday for a 1931 Conn silver sousaphone that had been stored as part of an estate for many years. It is still in the original shipping case and both are apparently in outstanding condition. You can see photos on the EBay website here. After I won, the person I outbid contacted me with the following request:
"I am trying to buy this on behalf of an artist, a wonderful artist, who needs this specific instrument to complete a work about lost sounds. Please let me know if there is anything at all we can do... "

She went on to say in another email:
"The artist would not be altering this in any way and the playing of the sousaphone would in fact be an integral part of the work. The artist, Paul Etienne Lincoln, makes work that is about preserving memories of another moment. He has in the past made pieces that are tributes to Rosa Ponselle, the opera diva and, most recently, a work which incorporated an early form of player piano which he carefully restored and made the centerpiece of an installation."
"For this project, he needs one that is American made from the 20s or 30s in as close to its original state as possible. Because this project is about sounds from this particular period, he would like to have an instrument that can make as close to its original sound as possible."


I have been looking for a really nice old horn for a long time, and you don't find them in this condition very often and manage to win the auction. What do you all think I should do? I don't want to be rude and blow her off. I have offered to help her find another suitable horn but she seems dead set in this one. She has offered me $100 more than I paid for it so far.
Last edited by Bandmaster on Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dave Schaafsma
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Postby UncleBeer » Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:34 am

What an odd story. Those horns are certainly not unique.

What would I do? Ask an exorbitant amount of money. :wink:
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Postby Joe Baker » Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:19 am

Looking at the fellow's website, the bottom right-hand picture says it all. Behind the work of "art", there is an inscription: "OMNIA MUTANTUR, NIHIL INTERIT" -- "Everything changes, nothing perishes".
Image

I don't know if I'll connect this up where you can understand my meaning, but let me try: the hunk of brass is not "the sound". The hunk of brass in my hands would sound VERY different than the same hunk of brass in the hands of Bill Bell. But a new hunk of brass would sound pretty similar to the old hunk of brass, in any one player's hands. And an old hunk of brass that's been used and repaired will STILL pretty much sound the same. It's almost like someone who was desparate to buy some old paints, because old paintings are so valuable. It is the old paintings, not the old paint, that are meaningful.

What would I do? I would probably offer them one of three things: that they bring (at their expense) you, your horn, and a guest to the place of recording, where you will permit the horn to be used in your presence for a few days; OR they can find you a suitable replacement in refurbished-to-like-new condition, and throw in some significant $$$ to make up for the additional value of the instrument you're giving up; OR they can take a hike.
________________________________________
Joe Baker, who likes art, but didn't find anything he liked on this "artist's" website.
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Postby bloke » Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:18 am

I'd blow 'em off in a heartbeat...or offer 'em a price that is at least double what you paid...

...which is the bid they should have slammed you with in the last ten seconds, had they truly been serious about wanting to acquire it.
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Postby Matthew Gilchrest » Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:18 pm

I agree.

Keep the horn.

Tell 'em: "Better luck next time!"

Seriously. If these folks are truly networked, they should be able to find something suitable in the surrounding area for a reasonable price. If they only need it temporarily, I'd be suspect that they may use it and then re-eBay it for an inflated price.

Additionally, I question the validity of the idea of authentic sounds generated from an original instrument. Who knows if this nonsense isn't made up?

Keep your horn and enjoy it. The sun will rise again tomorrow.
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Postby harold » Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:32 pm

IT looks like the guy wants to make the horn a part of some sort of artwork. If he is going to destroy it, tell him to buy a beater.

Besides, I don't think you can get authentic sound without an authentic '20s player...
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Postby Lew » Mon Jan 10, 2005 2:40 pm

You can be polite about it, but keep it. It's their problem if they didn't bid high enough for it. You are unlikely to find another Conn 38K (or is this a 32K?) in this condition for this price. Enjoy it.
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Postby Schlepporello » Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:36 pm

Too bad.
So sad.
It's your horn now. :D
Like bloke said, if they were serious, they should have bid accordingly the first time. Blow 'em off and don't give it another thought.
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Postby Doc » Tue Jan 11, 2005 8:25 am

Dave,

You won it fair and square. They had every opportunity to outbid you and did not. You owe them NOTHING. They are entitled to NOTHING. If this person wanted it bad enough, they would have bid more. It may be a chance to trick you or screw you somehow in the process.

Just because someone is an "arteest" doesn't mean they deserve anything. You're a tuba player="arteest". Don't you deserve something? Did you go through all that just to have someone get it away from you by using a guilt trip on you? OOOooh the poooor artist... Makes me want to vomit. Don't fall for that BS.

This is not being insensitive - they had their opportunity and didn't take it - it's not your fault. Someone expects your "bend-over-backwards-benevolence" because of their screw up. That's typical. Whether they'll pay more, or not alter the horn, isn't the point. It's YOURS, brother. End of story.

You can be polite to these folks, but you don't have any obligation to them whatsoever.


Enjoy what YOU have WON,

Doc
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Postby bloke » Tue Jan 11, 2005 9:41 am

Someone on this list (pre-php) pulled that same sort of crap (another "excuse" for "deserving" to get the item) on me...

...and then came here and publicly complained about me for not selling it to them! :x
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They were trying to pull that same "sell it to me for $100 more" crap, when my own maximum bid on that item had been $400 more than the final sales price.
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Postby Bandmaster » Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:28 pm

I want to thank you all for the input. I was not planning on giving up the horn, but I have always tried to be supportive of the arts. I guess I was just trying to find a way to fell better about saying no. I definately feel better now.... thanks.
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Tell Them You Need It For...

Postby Gongadin » Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:42 pm

Your own 21st-Century Interpretive Dance Piece, and only this sousaphone will do, because the opening of the bell is the only one that will fit over your ankle properly for some of the more delicate movements.
Tell them the original case is the only one that you can pop out of at the beginning of the piece, and that the particular length and action of the pistons on this particular horn was what inspired the dance piece in the first place, as the piston action is parallel to the action of the dancer's legs.
Tell them that the particular wrap on this sousaphone's branches is the exact diameter of your dance costume and is the only sousaphone wrap diameter that will not ruffle your tutu "tu" much!
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Postby Doc » Tue Jan 11, 2005 6:26 pm

Hed,

You're too much! :D

Doc (who'd like to see THAT tutu)
All that, plus $8.00, will get you a venti at Starbucks.
Or in my case, a large can of Folgers.
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Postby scottstephenson » Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:52 pm

keep it, tell 'em "sorry, i won it, better luck next time"
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