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Astley Pipes = Re-Stamped Estate Pipes (Photos)

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  1. cigrmaster

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    guhrillastile, I most certainly did give him a link to this thread, let's see if he responds.

    Harris
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    sam this is exactly why E-Bay is the venue. Unless you can see before and after pictures, it's pretty damn tough to tell who the carver was. However..... in hand at a show ..... there are a number of collectors that can tell you who carved what pipe AND in some cases the vintage! Most can tell by the button . stem shape and finish. I have had Astley's come through that I knew came from Comoy's, just by the stem tenon shape. Some I couldn't tell if they were made by Joe Frump or Bill Taylor himself. I am not an expert. There are those that are though, so at a show, this type of thing would be very short lived.

    Regards
    BB

    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. rebornbriar

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    BB - my comment wasn't relating to the integrity of eBay as as an organisation. We all know that they don't give a hoot about anything except collecting fees and maximising their profits.

    It was more about protecting the ability of it as a sales platform, that will still allow sellers like those you mention to continue to use it as an outlet.

    And I have always said what you also stated, if a buyer is not sure, or wants more information - ASK.

    Alan
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    waluljan

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    I do not thing, somebody tried to blame eBay for this. Who's that dopey to blame the phone company for someones
    obscene phone calls? However, we surely don't have an eBay discussion here. Maybe it's worth to be mentioned: this
    is not eBays fault, not at all. And there is no rational reason to refuse eBay. But, it's just as good, as its sellers are.
    Pretty poor awareness, but appeasing for me. I've bought many pipes this way - no flop, as far. On the other hand,
    I'm afraid, eBay has no possible course of action. What should they do? Compare the pictures? Survey the apparent
    authenticity? Read pipe boards to be after the thieves and rascals? Throw them out of the platform? There is no way
    to handle this, beside the feedback given by us. I know, pretty banal. The case of faked Astley's & Upshalls remains.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. flakyjakey

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    I agree with waluljan's obscene phone call analogy, but I believe a company has a "duty of care" to its customers/clients. This is why, in an earlier post, I asked if eBay had been made aware of this potential problem. I agree with others that they might not care anyway, but if they have not been contacted they could say that they "know nothing". If, however, they have been made aware, the alternative hypothetical analogy might be an otherwise reputable car dealer turning a blind eye when selling on a potentially dodgy car! eBay have the resources and much of the information necessary to solve this problem, with the result that Upshall could be absolved of any potential malpractice their reputation fully restored or that real malpractice might be identified.

    Personally, I have nothing against eBay itself, having spent thousands of pounds on pipes in its auctions. I am fully aware that it can be a bit hit and miss, but I have bought many excellent pipes and only a couple of duds (and they had nothing to do with eBay). I generally bid on old English pipes and send them for expert restoration.
    I will continue to do this, recognising that I may occasionally pick a wrong'n. However it seems to me that the "Upshall/Astley" business is potentially a very different matter which needs resolving for the benefit of all parties, including Upshall itself.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  6. jpberg

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    So, Ezrati basically is Astley at this point, and Astley pipes were always made by others, it's not much of a stretch that any pipe that goes through his hands comes out as an Astley.

    I understand that's a simplistic and naive statement, but isn't there the slightest bit of truth to it?

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    So, Ezrati basically is Astley at this point, and Astley pipes were always made by others, it's not much of a stretch that any pipe that goes through his hands comes out as an Astley.

    Well, maybe. But surely it can't become a 1985 Astley made by Bill Taylor, can it?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. jpberg

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    Well, maybe. But surely it can't become a 1985 Astley made by Bill Taylor, can it?

    No, of course not. That's beyond anyone's "gray area".

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    waluljan

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    Well, maybe. But surely it can't become a 1985 Astley made by Bill Taylor, can it?

    Of course is the magic hand of the brand owner able to let a poor quality turn into a high grade pipe made by the best pipe makers...
    Sorry, the whole story about the "product" isn't litigable. I can refill DrPepper into spray flacons and sell it to you with the
    promise, it's hallowed tonic and makes your beard grow... Who cares about the truth? There are no limitations to the
    narrative of the "products". Or do the people still believe, all the chicken in the world had a good life in Kentucky, in
    a tiny ranch in the back of the garage of this nice KFC guy? Everybody can tell you his made up story. And the crazy
    ones are the best, I think. Several people checked any Astley's catalogue and Astley's snipped, they could even find.
    According to this reaserch, Astley's never sold rusticated pipes, extmpt from their "Rock Briar" line (half raw crude
    briar). Most of this special "Astley's" we talk about are rusticated ones. No surprise there.

    _________

    >> Waluljan's Hallowed Beard Tonic - Order Now!

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    I have to say that I have had my suspicions for a long time about Mr Ezrati, but I have not had the time to dig deeply into his eBay dealings. The sheer volume of old pipes that he buys is bewildering. A while ago, he won one of my auctions. On receipt of the pipe he contacted me to ask for a refund. Perhaps the pipe was not suitable for re-branding? Anyway, I took my opportunity to reply to his eBay message and asked about the volume of pipes he purchased and what he did with them. I was thinking at the time if there was any opportunity for me to pick some up. His reply was that he had many of them restored by "Mr Jones" and re-sold them, and others were used to practice on in the workshop. As he knew what I did for a living, he also said that "Mr Jones" would be retiring soon and he would be looking for a good repairer.

    Thank you for enlightening us, rebornbriar! Now that I have read enough of this, Mr. Ezrati is off of my list for good. At first, I thought that what was involved was a few fake pipes here and there and didn't make the connection as to why Ezrati would perpetrate such a fraud on such a small scale. Knowing that he is buying large numbers of estate pipes and then mentioning that a master carver (the elusive Mr. Jones) was restoring the estate pipes and using them to 'practice on' put an end to my questioning the validity of the issue at hand. The jamesupshallpipeco Ebay site is his legitimizer and the back-story is the fact behind the fiction.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  11. hfearly

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    So, Ezrati basically is Astley at this point, and Astley pipes were always made by others, it's not much of a stretch that any pipe that goes through his hands comes out as an Astley.

    I understand that's a simplistic and naive statement, but isn't there the slightest bit of truth to it?

    Maybe he should change his name to Midas, as his inept ability to turn poop into gold with a single touch of a finger surely dictates.

    Suffering from a serious case of "EPARD", also known as the Estate Pipe Acquisition and Restoration Disorder.
    Posted 5 years ago #
  12. ssjones

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    According to this reaserch, Astley's never sold rusticated pipes, extmpt from their "Rock Briar" line (half raw crude
    briar). Most of this special "Astley's" we talk about are rusticated ones. No surprise there.

    Interesting, I did not know this.

    Coincidentally, to this thread, I've been reading some back issues gifted to me of "The Pipe Smoker's Ephemeris". In one issue, from the year 2000, Rick Newcombe writes enthusiastically about the new owner of James Upshall pipes and predicts James Upshalls pipes will become wildly popular. I wonder what his sentiments are in 2013?

    Al

    Posted 5 years ago #
  13. rebornbriar

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    Coincidentally, to this thread, I've been reading some back issues gifted to me of "The Pipe Smoker's Ephemeris". In one issue, from the year 2000, Rick Newcombe writes enthusiastically about the new owner of James Upshall pipes and predicts James Upshalls pipes will become wildly popular. I wonder what his sentiments are in 2013?

    Al, it is a shame really. There is no doubting that Barry Jones is a superbly talented pipe craftsman, and the James Upshall pipes are of a very high quality. Nothing here would prevent me from adding Upshall pipes to my collection for those reasons. Flakeyjakey eluded earlier that it was a shame that he wasn't using the twilight of his career to train up new apprentices to carry on the great tradition of British hand made pipes into the future. I for one would have been delighted to have had an opportunity to learn this skill from one of the best.

    Hopefully this issue can be cleared up one way or another.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  14. ssjones

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    Mr. Newcombe is typically at the Richmond show. If so, I hope to try and get a few minutes with him on this subject. (He is like a rock star,so time isn't a given)

    Posted 5 years ago #
  15. pitchfork

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    Yeah, I've read that Astley never sold rusticated pipes, either, but I wasn't sure how reliable that information was, so I never mentioned it here. The pictures and ebay purchase history were enough. Still, I have seen a few Astley catalogues and there are no rusticated pipes in them. That isn't conclusive evidence, though, as to whether they sold rusticated pipes or not, but it does raise the question for sure.

    Here are two from the 1980s on Pipe Pages:

    http://pipepages.com/ast1.htm
    http://pipepages.com/astp1.htm

    Posted 5 years ago #
  16. flakyjakey

    flakyjakey

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    So, pitchfork, in this interesting thread you've set running what seems a very cunning and slippery hare! Is it cornered? Is it winded? Or is it sitting happily in a copse watching the hounds baying in frustrated futility?

    On the subject of "fraud" there is the "damning" photographic evidence you provided which was supported by other pics. There is rebornbriar's information on the mystery of the large number of old estate lots bought up by Mr Ezrati and not properly accounted for. And there are other more circumstantial concerns raised by others. If a pipe is re-branded as being made by another maker and then sold on for profit, it seems to me that this would indeed constitute fraud.

    Under the UK Trading Standards Act I believe that companies, especially large ones like eBay, have a legal "Duty of Care" to its clients/customers (i.e. us who pay for the pipes). If they should act knowingly for another company that is selling potentially counterfeit/fake products it seems to me that they would be in breach of this duty. I am sure that eBay will have many protective elements written into its business articles, but if they have not been informed of their customers' (the pipe smoking community) concerns about the issue you have raised, and which has generated such a stromache in the forum, they can simply say they were completely unaware and continue to allow "made-for-Astley" pipes to be sold through them. In other words, would you consider communicating this thread to the appropriate eBay representative simply as a "heads up" about the anxieties and depth of feeling in the pipe-buying fraternity? Many have said that eBay won't care, but they might!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  17. ssjones

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    There is not a chance Ebay will give a hoot in hell about this issue. Check the thousands (millions?) of fake pocketbooks, watches, jewelry that is sold on Ebay every day.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  18. flakyjakey

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    Okay Al, I know little about eBay and bow to your knowledge/experience

    Posted 5 years ago #
  19. pitchfork

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    I don't know if ebay would care or not. It would make more sense for a complaint to come from an aggrieved buyer, not just members of a pipe forum. I have bought from them once -- a Tilshead Lovat that, in spite of what we have learned, I have every reason to believe is genuine. It's a good pipe and I'm happy with it. Ideally, the complainant would be the person who purchased the Taylor-made "Astley" we've been discussing. Does anyone know who bought it? Similarly, the Charatan-made "Astley" would be a viable option. Alternatively, anyone who has bought an "Astley" pipe from that account, especially if it's an estate, could argue that their purchase is also suspect, based on the other clear examples we've seen.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  20. flakyjakey

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    All good points pitchfork, and I agree with them all. It will be interesting to hear if one of those buyers is identified.

    I also agree with your comment about the Tilstead. Upshall Tilsteads and p-grade Upshalls represent real quality for the money in my view. I have a few Upshalls (from g- to e-grade). They are all great pipes and I wouldn't part with them.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  21. ssjones

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    Okay Al, I know little about eBay and bow to your knowledge/experience

    I wasn't trying to be a smart aleck, but rereading my comment made it sound like that to me....
    The sheer volume of auctions would practically make it impossible for that kind of follow-up from Ebay (particularly here since Ezrati owns the Astleys and Upshall trademarks). There wouldn't be enough time in the day for Ebay to chase down these type of issues. It's a bit like the wild-wild West in that regard. Ebay lets the feedback function serve as the only Sheriff in town. If you have a dispute, they will side primarily with a disgruntled buyer, at least that has been my experience. That is one reason why great sellers like Mike @ BB, Pipestud, etc. work so hard to maintain their reputations, it is everything.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  22. pitchfork

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    BTW, if anyone wants a genuine Astley pipe, there's an unsmoked one on ebay with a very low bid (no affiliation, etc.). The "Tudor Rose" line is well documented as an Astley product.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/ASTLEYS-UNSMOKED-TUDOR-ROSE-BILLIARD-SHAPED-PIPE-WITH-NICE-GRAIN-PIPESTUD-/390644512066?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  23. flakyjakey

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    No offence taken Al, I did not think it was a 'smart alec' comment.

    You are absolutely right about the importance of sellers maintaining their reputation. In this regard I notice that on eBay a number of very good-looking and attractively-priced 'real' Upshall made pipes have not sold. I have 5 Upshall pipes of various grades and can vouch for their build, grain and smoking qualities.

    Could it be that the continuing "Astley" controversy is beginning to tarnish the whole Upshall brand? I for one would hate to see those classical straight-grain Upshall-made pipe disappear.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  24. pitchfork

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    Could it be that the continuing "Astley" controversy is beginning to tarnish the whole Upshall brand? I for one would hate to see those classical straight-grain Upshall-made pipe disappear.

    It's possible, but I haven't seen that happening yet. Moreover, it remains an open question as to whether Upshall is producing new Upshall pipes or not -- although that's probably a topic for another thread. It's been discussed before, but I forget if any consensus was ever achieved on this question.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  25. ssjones

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    I can't recommend the Tudor Rose line based on my one pipe experience. Unlike Ferndown, where that grade is a premium product, in Astley speak that is a 2nd line. I had one and the stem work, which was a plasticky, premolded affair was awful.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  26. pitchfork

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    can't recommend the Tudor Rose line based on my one pipe experience. Unlike Ferndown, where that grade is a premium product, in Astley speak that is a 2nd line. I had one and the stem work, which was a plasticky, premolded affair was awful.

    Interesting. Thanks for that, Al. Sorry to hear your experience was less than great with that line.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    I had one and the stem work, which was a plasticky, premolded affair was awful.

    Hmm, are you sure you have an original stem? It should be stamped with the Astley "A."

    I have a couple of Tudor Rose pipes and, while they are of course "second" lines, they are well made and good smokers. The stems are well formed and made from ebonite, rather than plastic.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  28. cigrmaster

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    Here is a reply I received after the owner I presume read this thread.

    " Dear Sir,
    As explained earlier Dunhill manufactured the pipe you bought. All pipes listed as Dunhill made are Dunhill made. After Dunhill made the bowl it would have been sent to Mr Bentley. He would then outsource the pipes to varying pipe manufacturers depending on the type of mouthpiece, finish and whether the pipe was to be silver banded or not. I have read the various opinions on the link you forwarded and find all the bs nothing more than rumour and speculation by people who are ignorant to the realities of pipe making. Some pipe smokers are so sad all they do is speculate and hope someone out there will listen to them. I thank you for bringing this to my attention. Best regards, M Ezrati - Managing Director James Upshall pipe Company"

    Posted 5 years ago #
  29. ssjones

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    My Tudor Rose did have an A stem stamp. It was sold as unsmoked, but that was not the case so I rec'd a refund. The bowl looked great, it may have been a good smoker but the stem didn't impress me much (and I have seconds line GBD/Comoys, etc. for comparison and find them to be fine)

    Posted 5 years ago #
  30. pitchfork

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    Harris,

    Three things about that response.

    1. What is advertised as a Dunhill-made pipe has now been walked back to "a stummel from the Dunhill factory." So it's not a Dunhill-made pipe with an Astley stamp after all. It's a stummel from the Dunhill factory finished by someone other than Dunhill. The ebay descriptions are misleading in this regard.

    2. The response tries to dismiss the critics as "ignorant," insinuating that only someone with inside knowledge of pipe manufacturing could raise legitimate questions about these pipes. This is a classic tactic used by people who don't want to be held accountable for their actions ("We're the experts, you are mere peons -- why should we bother answering your ignorant questions?") Now, the process by which Astley pipes were/are made MAY account for some of the questions rebornbriar raised about the silverwork on these pipes. Otherwise, this claim of specialized knowledge says nothing about the questions raised here.

    3. Most importantly, the response never addressed the questions raised about the Ashton-made "Astley" that started out as a no-name estate pipe, or about the "Charatan" discussed here. They were bought and sold by the same account. Why? They started out as no-name estates and then turned into "Astley" pipes. How is this anything other than what it looks like? The response doesn't even begin to address this.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  31. cigrmaster

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    pitch, I totally agree, his response was completely lame and in my opinion confirms his guilt. I believe he is taking people to the cleaners and is completely dishonest.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  32. flakyjakey

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    pitchfork, I am sure you are right on all counts, but what would you propose doing?

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    pipinho

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    Are people really blaming ebay?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  34. flakyjakey

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    The "blame" seems to lie with "Astley/Upshall": if indeed they are re-branding pipes as e.g. "made by Dunhill/Charatan/etc", and selling them on as such, when they have not actually been made for Astleys by these elite companies, this would constitute fraud.

    The issue regarding eBay is that if eBay were aware that a Company such as Astley/Upshall was selling falsely branded pipes through them, eBay, according to the UK Trading Standards Act, would be in breach of their statutory "duty of care" to their clients/customers (a bit like a car dealer knowingly selling on a dodgy car).

    So the remaining questions are whether the photographic evidence shown in this thread is sufficient to establish fraudulent practice by Astley/Upshall, whether eBay is aware of the concerns raised here and whether they should be informed. Some other members doubt whether eBay would care. I'm not so sure; estate pipes do represent a significant part of their business.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  35. cigrmaster

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    Knowing ebay, you would need a lot more evidence than those pictures. They could care less about protecting their customers, all they care about are their fees. They allow shills, they allow sellers to bypass their buy it now system even when presented evidence someone is doing it. Their security department is a complete joke, and Upshall will be allowed to continue unless incontrovertible proof is presented.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  36. ssjones

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    Their security department is a complete joke, and Upshall will be allowed to continue unless incontrovertible proof is presented.

    Worse still, I suspect if they were presented with incontrovertible proof, they'd turn a blind eye.

    It would be an interesting legal question as to if any Ebay seller has been charged with fraud thru Ebay sales, by Ebay or outside authorities (who handles fraud on an internet auction, ie seller is in Texas and a buyer in Maryland). Perhaps no one? With the proliferation of opportunistic law suits these days, surely someone has tried to do this?

    Google didn't yield much, save this 2002 (!)MSNBC article on Ebay fraud. Read it, my first sentence in this reply is supported:
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3078736/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/t/evidence-undercuts-ebays-tough-talk-fraud/#.UhotR3-Zbbo
    (note the case of the fraudulent stamps sold).
    My guess is the sports memorabilia section has 100 times the fraud and oversales has to vastly outnumber the meanger number of tobacco pipes sold world wide.

    Some other interesting Ebay fraud hits:
    http://www.truetex.com/ebayfraud.htm

    And interesting, this, the "Internet Crime Complaint Center"???
    http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

    Posted 5 years ago #
  37. cigrmaster

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    Ebay knows full well that people are unlikely to sue them because the damages would be too small to justify the expense. You would have to sue them in a state that allows for punitive damages and treble damages and even then you probably won't make much. It comes down to knowing what you are buying and understanding that there are tons of crooks on ebay.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  38. flakyjakey

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    Sadly, I suspect cigrmaster is right. Perhaps we frustrated hounds should just continue to "bay in the woods" while the slippery hare eludes penalty? But maybe if we bark loud enough the pack will grow, pipe smokers generally will become more aware of potentially dodgy 'Astleys', and avoid them. Who knows, maybe other clearer examples of wrongful pipe re-branding will come to light?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  39. rockvillepete

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    The goings-on of Mr. Ezrati and the jameupshallpipeco are at the very least suspicious and raise serious questions concerning the provenance & legitimacy of the Astley’s pipes being sold by him. In a correspondence with Alan of Reborn Briar I noted that back when eBay did not disguise the usernames of bidders I would frequently see bids and pipes won by the jamesupshallpipeco on a regular basis. Some of these were estate Upshall, Ashton, or Charatan’s but a fair percentage were pipes from non-English makers, many of which were nondescript and quite ordinary. Now what does he see in this one?? I'd wonder. I also wondered what Moty was up to, buying all of these non-Upshall, Ashton, or Astley’s pipes when those were the only brands he had on offer at his eBay store? I think we now know the answer.

    As the Astley’s trademark owner Mr. Ezrati is free to stamp a rotten egg as being an Astley’s if he so desires and doing so would be perfectly in his right and legitimate. It’s the willful misrepresentation of this egg as being freshly laid USDA Grade AAA that is the issue. Knowingly claiming that a pipe made by Joe Blow as being a Dunhill, Ashton, or Upshall-made Astley’s and selling it at a price commensurate with pipes of that caliber is nothing short of fraud, regardless of the pipe’s quality or how well it may have been made.

    I’ve purchased several Astley’s from Mr. Ezrati over the years, including a large freehand sandblast purportedly made by Preben Holm for Astley’s. Try as I might, I could find no data to substantiate the claim that Preben Holm made pipes for Mr. Bentley and Astley’s. Still, it was a nice piece at a reasonable price so I grabbed it. At the time I was swayed more by the pipe's ring grain and shape than by its maker. However, the provenance of my other Astley’s that were supposedly made by Upshall or Dunhill is now in serious doubt and their true value is probably a fraction of what I paid for them.

    If these allegations can be proven, this blight on the pipe smoking community should be prohibited from selling on eBay at the very least before his actions besmirch the good name and reputation of honest pipe restorers and sellers with integrity. The question is whether eBay can legally ban Mr. Ezrati from trading on their site even if they were inclined to do so. Sadly such inclination is probably pretty doubtful considering the can of worms they may deem this action will open. Better to keep schtum and maintain the status quo, allowing user feedback to be the final arbiter.

    The only recourse that may be open to us is to alert our fellow pipe smokers & collectors of this menace and boycott his products until he provides a full and satisfactory accounting. I’m not holding my breath.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    How much verification do newspapers perform on the classified ads they print? Not one has the resources to check out the bona fides of every ad they print; same thing with eBay. The company is more than large enough to have battalions of lawyers who have a very good handle on its legal liability, and I'm sure they take great care to do just whatever is required to keep them from being the legitimate subject of individual or class action litigation.

    As for the importance of pipes to eBay, the transaction volume which passed through its platform last year was something over $175,000,000,000. If you look at average weekly listings of pipes and typical sale prices, factoring in what percentage were actually closed deals, you can do the math; pipes must have been a teeny tiny fraction of one percent of their overall volume and in any event negligible to them. Our little hobby could be cut in half, or disappear entirely, and eBay wouldn't lose a moment's sleep. More likely their lawyers would tell them that no longer carrying tobacco-related products on balance was a good thing for their shareholders.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  41. ssjones

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    Great points Rockville Pete (btw,I live in Hagerstown, if that is Maryland).

    However, the provenance of my other Astley’s that were supposedly made by Upshall or Dunhill is now in serious doubt and their true value is probably a fraction of what I paid for them.

    I hadn't considered that aspect. I only own one Astley's, I was drawn to the shape more than anything else and it was less than $100 delivered (from Moty). I probably wouldn't sell it regardless.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Good Day All;

    I have now received more than a few emails from people about this topic. Two are well known and highly respected members of the pipe collecting community.

    While we are all concerned about the Astley's re stamping and lineage .... one fellow brought up the Upshall brand. If you think this through ... why waste the time on Astley's? Where's the real profit? But a few $20.00 pipes and spend the time to clean and re stamp, to sell them for maybe $100.00? There is far better return by buying pre turned bowls, getting them stemmed and stamping them as Upshall's. I am NOT saying that this is or has been happening. Just saying...... why nickel and dime?

    As far as E-Bay goes. As jguss has pointed out, pipes are a tiny portion of E-Bays selling base and income stream. Personally I'd not have an issue if they removed the whole tobacciana section. Some of you are looking at me strangely right now and I know...... yes I have sold items on E-Bay. However .... if no pipes on E-Bay it would mean that sellers would need to set up web sites and offer items at fixed prices or use Briar Bid. The latter being set up for just pipes and tobacco related goods and run by a crew that I suspect might have little sympathy for those that try and "take advantage" of others. With fixed prices on sites, there'd be no snipers, no shills, no bidding wars. Prices are set, you the buyers decide if the price is fair and reasonable. Sites that offer crap will soon be history. No sales = business closed.

    Back to the topic at hand. Re stamped pipes. This has been an interesting thread and one that should be shared within the community. I have posted a link to this thread on my Facebook page. On my next update I will also include a link to this thread. I suggest that each and every one of you email at least 5 pipe friends with the link to this thread. An educated buyer is one that will not be taken in. The more you know, the better choices you can make.

    Regards
    BB

    Posted 5 years ago #
  43. pitchfork

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    Mike,

    We all know that argument from authority is a logical fallacy, but it sure is reassuring that people like you have weighed in and given a fair assessment of the evidence at hand. Anyhow, what you've just written is fair and judicious. I agree completely.

    I don't understand the nickel-and-dime nature of some of this, either. Where is Barry Jones on all of this? Where is Barry Jones? Surely someone in the pipe community is familiar enough with him to ask him what is going on here. That's not me, but surely someone knows him well enough to ask. Maybe they already have.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    As far as E-Bay goes. As jguss has pointed out, pipes are a tiny portion of E-Bays selling base and income stream. Personally I'd not have an issue if they removed the whole tobacciana section. Some of you are looking at me strangely right now and I know...... yes I have sold items on E-Bay. However .... if no pipes on E-Bay it would mean that sellers would need to set up web sites and offer items at fixed prices or use Briar Bid.

    I don't know where you're based, I'm guessing USA?

    In which case please remember to spare a thought for those of us in the rest of the world who don't have ready access to Briar Bid, or other alternate online marketplaces.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    peterpiperuk;

    Actually I am based in Canada, far west ( today wet ) coast. With the internet, the world is your oyster and pearls ( or pipes ) can be found globally. There are sellers with web sites based everywhere. UK, Germany, Austria, Japan, China, France, Italy, US, Canada, etc.

    I would bet that IF E-Bay closed shop on pipes etc, that Briar Bid would pretty darn quickly re arrange to work with over seas sellers.

    Regards
    BB

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    OK, we can but disagree. Please remember that this is primarily a topic about a particular seller who is allegedly engaging in deceit. Starting and promoting your own website and the accompanying costs are far from a feasible solution for the majority of estate pipe sellers. As for the buyers, forget it.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  47. ssjones

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    Barry Jones seems, for the pipe world, to have became a ghost. I have seen no recent reference to or about him. Save Mr. Ezrati's email replies. Very puzzling. You would think we would be a most welcome, even revered figure at UK pipe events, etc.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    peter - agreed. we shall agree to disagree.

    Al - I spent an hour this am trying to find a phone number for Barry Jones, in Tilshead, Benchley, and Wiltshire, to find nothing. The only reference was from a meeting of the Wiltshire Council with a Barry Jones being in disagreement with a motion. No idea if it is the Barry Jones of Upshall or a different Barry Jones.

    Maybe someone I the UK can track down a phone number or is willing to make a call and ask.....

    Regards
    BB

    Posted 5 years ago #
  49. misterlowercase

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    "While we are all concerned about the Astley's re stamping and lineage .... one fellow brought up the Upshall brand. If you think this through ... why waste the time on Astley's? Where's the real profit? But a few $20.00 pipes and spend the time to clean and re stamp, to sell them for maybe $100.00? There is far better return by buying pre turned bowls, getting them stemmed and stamping them as Upshall's. I am NOT saying that this is or has been happening. Just saying...... why nickel and dime?"

    That's an excellent point, but I think this whole case simply defies logic. How, if true, such an established person could be doing these nefarious deeds, but the evidence looks clear to me.

    JU has a pretty distinctive house style, no? And the excellent grain they're rightly known for, would be difficult to obtain. Add to this the large amount of Upshall collectors or enthusiasts, not an easy mark...

    ...but Astley's is the perfect easy mark, due to them being shop pipes produced by various makers, a very tempting prospect for one whom may have questionable ethics. And how many dedicated Astley collectors are out there? If there is one, I do hope that person would enlighten us all about these mysterious pipes, as the immortal Mr. John Loring did for us regarding much Dunhill history.

    Indeed, why does he go around buying up cheap estate pipes?
    from another forum:
    "The first Sav I bought (on Ebay) was a little 614. It smoked like hell!! I wouldn't buy Savinellis for a long time after that. I finally did, and learned better. But, I never could figure out why it smoked so badly. I put it on Ebay, and I'm not lying here, I sold it to Mr. Mordechai Ezrati, the owner of James Upshall pipes. He paid, I think, 15 dollars for it, and I can't imagine why he wanted it!"

    One day I might actually try to sign up at Worthpoint and blow over the dough, but in the meantime, one can gain a rich survey regarding the broad range of Astley pipes which've sold over the last few years...
    worthpoint Astley's pipes

    Another thing, didn't Astley's move from 109 J St. to Piccadilly Arcade at some point? If so, does anyone know exactly when?

    Most of these Astley's always seem to have the 109 addy,but I've seen them also sans 109 with just Jermyn Street but from what I've read, after the move, that addy was dropped from the nomenclature?

    In the following item description, he invokes Dunhill, Les Wood and Colin Fromm...!!!!!
    "This Super High Grade diamond shanked Billiard briar pipe was made exclusively for the Astley Pipe Company by Dunhill pipe manufacturers and has been finished in a transparent light mahogany staining over 360 degrees of cross grain and bird’s eye to the bowl and diamond shank. This pipe normally retails for £450.00 so this is a great opportunity for the smoker/collector to purchase a High Grade pipe at E-bay prices. The pipe was factory fitted with a solid silver band fitted by Les Wood and is stamped L & JS 925. The Hand Cut mouthpiece by Colin Fromm bears the crisp and well defined white A logo, with HAND CUT stamped on the underside. The crisp and well defined nomenclature on the left of the shank reads ASTLEYS – JERMYN ST. LONDON. This pipe will last for a lifetime, hence the lifetime guarantee."
    1990 ASTLEY SUPER HIGH GRADE

    The ebay profile for this seller exceeds 11,000, presumably all pipes, what percentage of those pipes were Astley's, from my looking thru several pages, quite a few indeed, ranging from sold prices of $75-$350, that ain't no chump change when one operates in volume!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  50. jpberg

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    OK, we can but disagree. Please remember that this is primarily a topic about a particular seller who is allegedly engaging in deceit. Starting and promoting your own website and the accompanying costs are far from a feasible solution for the majority of estate pipe sellers. As for the buyers, forget it.

    Peter, I hear what you're saying, but can't help but think that capitalism will rear it's head if an opportunity presents itself. If people want to buy pipes, people will figure out how to sell pipes. While I take advantage of ebay on a regular basis, I can't help but think that if ebay went away, the void would be filled.

    As to the OP, nothing has or will be (my assumption) done to alter this seller's standing on ebay, and we will be left to filter what we have read and experienced, and make decisions accordingly.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  51. rebornbriar

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    Another thing, didn't Astley's move from 109 J St. to Piccadilly Arcade at some point? If so, does anyone know exactly when?

    Most of these Astley's always seem to have the 109 addy,but I've seen them also sans 109 with just Jermyn Street but from what I've read, after the move, that addy was dropped from the nomenclature?

    It appears so. Here is an Astley I sold a few months ago. It has the Picadilly Arcade address on the box and the pipe is stamped Jermyn Street without the street number. Having never visited the store I can't confirm dates.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  52. misterlowercase

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    Many thanks Alan,
    a great photo and helpful info.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Another thing, didn't Astley's move from 109 J St. to Piccadilly Arcade at some point? If so, does anyone know exactly when?

    From what I can find, it was in the mid '90s. Hard to tell. Anyone else have better info?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  54. rebornbriar

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    Just found this doing a Google search.

    Please try not to spit your coffee out as you read the remarks below the pictures

    http://pipe.hydrograph.net/james_upshall_06/pipe.html

    Posted 5 years ago #
  55. ssjones

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    That sure looks like a P grade to my eyes! I can't see the P stamp clear enough. Heck, if you are restamping Tilshead pipes, why not go a little father an double your money with a G grade stamp?

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    From what I can find, it was in the mid '90s. Hard to tell. Anyone else have better info?

    The shop moved to the Piccadilly Arcade in the summer of 1994.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    The ebay profile for this seller exceeds 11,000, presumably all pipes, what percentage of those pipes were Astley's, from my looking thru several pages, quite a few indeed, ranging from sold prices of $75-$350, that ain't no chump change when one operates in volume!

    I think that it's important to note that the 11,000+ number refers to more than purchases. According to the most recent numbers on eBay, Upshall's total sales were 4769 items; total purchases were 11262 items; and combined transactions were 16050. Aggregate numbers can be misleading; in this case they incorporate activity generated over many years. If you're going to look at transactions at all, I think it's important to try to annualize them as best as you can. I'll try to do that here using eBay's numbers. First, two important caveats: a) this data is based on feedback, so any transactions that didn't generate feedback by definition are omitted; and b), I did this analysis as carefully as I could, but the numbers might be off a small amount. I do believe they are materially correct, within the limits of the data that eBay provides.

    Actual Upshall eBay sales transactions in the last year were 175; actual purchases were 1219. This shows a couple of things: first, that Upshall's total feedback number is overwhelmingly a function of purchases, not sales. Second, that the real sales activity is notable, but not enormous. Over the last 12 months, Upshall's average sales of pipes ran about 15/month. I think this puts the 11,000 number in a different perspective.

    It would be interesting to review the entirety of the last year's activity, but some 1400 transactions (purchases and sales) are too many to dig through. As a proxy here's what a detailed analysis of activity over the last month and last six months shows: in the last month total Upshall eBay sales were 23, all of which were pipes. Of the 23, 13 had the Astley stamp, and the remainder were Upshalls. For the last six months, there were 99 sales, all pipes, of which 55 had the Astley stamp and 44 were Upshalls (note that a few of the Astleys also were Upshalls). So extrapolating from these percentages, of the 15 pipes per month being sold on average, maybe 9 are Astleys and 6 are Upshalls. Remember, these are just averages; month to month variation occurred.

    As for the purchases, those are so voluminous that I'm just going to look at the last month of data. There were 99 purchases in the last month; of those 8 were "removed", and 8 were "private". Of the remaining 83, pipes were 44 and the rest were other things (primarily tobacco). So for the most recent month, at least, Upshall was buying 44 pipes and selling 23.

    But in this case monthly sales is less reliable to extrapolate from than monthly purchases; this is because purchases are so much greater in number. Small number occurrences, like the sales data in this case, are by their nature much more volatile. By comparison Upshall's purchases are much greater in number, and therefore more stable over time; in fact they have run very consistently at about 100 per month. Because monthly sales jumps around more, I think it more realistic to take the twelve month total to get a true monthly average. So using those assumptions, in a typical month Upshall is buying 100 things, of which maybe half or bit more are pipes, and selling 15 things, all of which are pipes (with maybe 9 of these Astleys).

    Finally, to state the obvious: feedback numbers change constantly as new transactions generate new feedback. I used the data available as of earlier this afternoon.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  58. rockvillepete

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    It appears so. Here is an Astley I sold a few months ago. It has the Picadilly Arcade address on the box and the pipe is stamped Jermyn Street without the street number. Having never visited the store I can't confirm dates.

    You know I’ve smoked that pipe at least a dozen times since buying it and not once did I notice Astley’s new Piccadilly address on the box! Nothing slips by me I’ll tell ya! At least I feel very confident that this one is the genuine article and an excellent pipe it is too. I wish I could say the same for the four or five Astley’s I purchased from Mr. Ezrati.


    Great points Rockville Pete (btw,I live in Hagerstown, if that is Maryland).

    Yes Al, that is the Rockville Maryland Rockville. I lived in Hagerstown and worked at Washington County Hospital after graduating from UMAB School of Pharmacy back in the early 80's. Seems like a lifetime ago!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  59. peckinpahhombre

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    I'll be honest, I haven't read much of this thread, but I did skim it at a 20,000 foot level. What I have gleaned is NEVER buy an Astley or Upshall pipe. That seems to be the upshot for me in any event.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    No surprise the thread was closed at SF, they have a history of protecting known scumbags and thieves. No matter what kind of evidence is presented or discussed, the mods there will not allow for any discussions of this type

    I find that truly amazing and freaking sad. Not sure if I would have believed it if I didn't see it myself. Then again the biggest complaint about this thread on SF came from an individual that just a few days before deleted a post in a social group because it contained a link to an auction. The reason he deleted that post?
    He didn't want any competition on the auction. His posts on that thread attacking rebornbriar are enough to raise an eyebrow for sure.
    Clearly there are those at SF that seem to have a vested interest in keep the truth from getting out. One would think taking out the trash would be a good thing.
    Either way SF seems to be self imploding.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  61. jpberg

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    I am really wondering what this thread, at this site, has to do with Smoker's Forums.

    Duckfat, if you read the rest of the thread you are commenting on, you would understand why said thread was removed. I assume you did read the rest of the thread, but choose, for whatever reason, to ignore it here.

    I really don't see any reason to besmirch other forums or there members here.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Duckfat, if you read the rest of the thread you are commenting on, you would understand why said thread was removed. I assume you did read the rest of the thread, but choose, for whatever reason, to ignore it here

    Reading comprehension is fundamental. The thread has not been removed. What does the topic have to do with SF? Just like others said they seem to have a vested interest in protecting bottom feeders.
    Sad...but clearly true.

    http://www.smokersforums.co.uk/showthread.php?953-Besmirching-the-famous-UK-Pipe-Brands

    Posted 5 years ago #
  63. jpberg

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    My mistake, I said "thread" was removed. I meant "link". Most of the time my reading comprehension is pretty good, for example, I comprehended why the link was removed.

    Still, what does SF has to do with the topic of this thread?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  64. peckinpahhombre

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    I see SF SF did close the thread but did not delete it. Not surprising for the reason Harris gave.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  65. rebornbriar

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    Having started the thread on SF, it was closed due to the outburst - more so than the thread subject, which has been confirmed to me by the mods. I think the final message on the thread from the moderator was open to interpretation which is why I asked for clarification. I don't think it needs any more discussion here, and we should stick to the subject matter in hand. I will not air the reasons in public. PM me if you want more explanation.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    "No surprise the thread was closed at SF, they have a history of protecting known scumbags and thieves" : sad but true
    Thank you gentlemen for a very interesting and most enlightening thread.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    it was closed due to the outburst - more so than the thread subject

    If you believe that try starting the topic again and watch how fast it gets locked down. The topic was even deleted from the social groups. They could have opted to simply delete the outburst posts but instead they chose to lock the thread and quash any real information. In fact there are a few very new posters in this thread that had posts deleted there for far less recently.
    As another well respected member here has already posted they have a history of this.
    Topics like this should make us all very thankful for PM because with out this forum many of us would never know....The rest of the story.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  68. flakyjakey

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    For information, there are currently 8 "jamesupshallpipeco" pipes up for auction on sBay, of which 3 are "made exclusively for Astley by Dunhill". None of the 8 have yet received any bids. I wonder if the 3 "Astley's" will sell? What do members think/guess/bet?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  69. admin

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    Hey guys, when I was a little kid my mom told me; "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all."

    I'm referring to the negative statements about SF. I wouldn't like it if their members were saying negative things about our forums, so let's please set a better example.

    Thanks.

    Check Out Our - Pipes Podcast
    Posted 5 years ago #
  70. misterlowercase

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    ...back to the grisly gristle.

    Topics like this should make us all very thankful for PM because with out this forum many of us would never know....The rest of the story.

    Indeed, well said and spot on. Thank you Kevin for providing such a glorious forum where open discussion on sensitive or controversial topics can evolve and possibly arrive at an answer of some sort.

    ...the rest of the story

    Yes, this thread reads like a penny dreadful, appealing both to a sense of Sherlockian ratiocination and a Maigret-esque psychological insight --- the whole story would make a great Regis McCafferty novel!

    jguss,
    Thank you for taking the time to crunch those numbers and share the relevant data, your tremendous skills are self-evident in the thorough manner you've presented them.

    Despite some criticism in this thread of eBay, we can say that at least eBay is fairly transparent, a clear trail exists and can be traced because of the way the system is set up, although it would be entirely exhaustive to sleuth through all the records. In fact, the initial evidence itself was found on eBay and the game was afoot, so the clues are there and if indeed the facts bear out the accusations, I can only shake my head in sadness at the deliberate deceit and frown upon the complete foolishness of someone trying to perpetuate such crimes in the naked open daylight.

    I personally think that the one crucial piece of visual evidence is pretty damning, and with work I'd reckon more would be found --- I've reached my conclusions, there are no red herrings here, only the stench of unlawful activity.

    Posted 5 years ago #

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