R/E/P > Klaus Heyne's Mic Lab Stickies

Vintage Mics- How to Authenticate And Buy Them


Originally Posted: Mon, 13 June 2005

a poster, quoted fron GearSlutz

Is it reasonable to expect the seller to cooperate with the buyer in arranging a full inspection of the mic by a 3rd party before committing to purchase ?

Paying full market value for a vintage microphone without the opportunity to inspect it beforehand strikes me as a gamble.

In a parallel situation, from a different field, it's easy to see why: Would a vintage Ferrari being offered on e-bay sell at full market value without the high bidder being allowed to check under the hood?
If the seller refuses such inspection, I should ask myself: Am I that needy to let greed rule over common sense?

To incorporate my added risk, one should adjust the price one is willing to pay for a mic that cannot be inspected. Example:

U47 - no inspection allowed? Fine, I subtract $1000.- for a bad tube and $800.- for a bad capsule from my bid price.

With so many people plunking down thousands on vintage mics sight unseen, it would seem challenging to find a seller willing to go to the trouble and expense.

An honorable and ethical seller will understand and have sympathy with the reasonable request for inspection:
Why would a seller want the stink of a bad deal hung around his neck forever (now that we live in an age where the Internet never forgets)?
Regarding trouble and expense: The buyer needs to assure the seller that he will volunteer for most trouble and all expenses that are incurred:

-Advance payment with negotiable funds, and in full (i.e. cashier's check or direct bank transfer only.)
 An aside:
 I advise against Pay-Pal: It's going to be Visa, not Pay-Pal you will have to fight with if the deal goes sour. A customer recently had to go to court to prove his mic fraud case to Visa, which underwrote Pay-Pal's insurance.
-Covering of all shipping, preferably by using the buyer's Fed Ex or UPS account number, for the ease of it.
-Agreeing to a speedy completion of the process (by five days maximum, the information needed to decide on the deal should be in)

The above steps undertaken by the buyer are going to show the seller that the buyer is professional and responsible.
When I get involved as a third party authenticator, I try to promise both parties a 48hr. maximum time after which I typically have enough relevant information ready to allow for a competent decision by the buyer.
Regarding Escrow:

I understand that in addition to third party authentication, escrow services are available in cases where buyers or sellers do not trust each other enough to transfer money or merchandise directly.

I am sure Fletcher, whose company, Mercenary Audio, offers these services, or others can give more details on how it works and what it costs.


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