Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 21 August 2013
My mental illness associated with early drinking glasses seems to be suffering a relapse. After a year or two of iron-willed self-control, I left a snipe bid of £142.58 on this one, then - in a fit of remorse - reduced it to £72. It sold for £73, and now I am trying to stop myself from suffering the reverse form of remorse by wishing I had left the original bid on. I've never been very good at walking away.
Having poked my head around the door of the online antique glass sales room, I see that all the old crew are still there, knifing each other in the back and pouring vitriol onto anyone who does not possess the encyclopaedic knowledge that they profess to have in order to justify the absolute top-whack prices which their 'secret lists' of private collectors have come to expect of them - they wouldn't settle for anything less.
One of them sent me a Christmas card last year, which featured a spankingly good-quality glass, photographed by him in a way which can be best described as 'pornographic'. He developed the perfect lighting-booth to place the glasses when being gloated over by a macro lense fitted to a £3000 camera, and he himself coined the phrase 'glass porn' after seeing the results.
He started becoming interested in glass at roughly the same time as me, and I had to helplessly witness the transformation of him from an avuncular, retired school master into something more akin to Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
He would call me up at night to tell me the latest scandalous story about how one or another of the big boys had pulled a fast one on a colleague in some cut-throat deal involving truths, half truths and downright lies. I tried to convince him that in order to feed his habit, he would have to do the same thing on a regular basis, and this could only happen if he became a full-time glass dealer (you need a float of around £50,000 to be anywhere near the top league), but he took this as encouragement.
My short-lived friendship with him ended when we decided to go half and half on a glass which we expected to buy for about £3000 and sell for about £10,000. The auction was held in Sussex, and all bidding was to be done through live eBay, for some weird reason.
Knowing that the big boys had already plotted to agree who was going to be allowed to buy it, he said he could not use his own eBay account as he had already pledged not to bid on it, so he said we must use mine, since I had made no secret deal to stay out - why would I?
So I gave him the full details of my eBay account, including password, etc. and let him do the rest on my behalf.
The glass sold for less than our agreed limit, and it sold to one of the big boys.
When I asked him to explain how this could have happened, he lamely said that - for some reason - 'my' bids were not accepted by the online system. Yeah right.
It dawned on me - as a simple, unknowledgeable and slightly stupid person that just happened to have a fledgling passion for early drinking glasses - that the sole reason for teaming up with me on this bid was to keep me out of the sales room. This - like the classic gangland initiation - was his first dirty deed, and I dare say that it will not be his last. I am only keen that it will be his last involving me as the stooge.
I didn't reply to thank him for his Christmas card, but I did change my password on eBay.