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timn1 01-11-2018 06:25 PM

some more red meat for all the N54 moralists

A collector of long acquaintance (call him A) comes up to the table at the National that I am sharing with two friends. I happen to be manning the table alone at that moment. He asks to see the T209s that my friend (call him M) has in his case. A is a longtime T209 collector, as is my friend. After looking through them for a minute or two, Collector A exclaims to me in horror, "THESE ARE MY CARDS!"

Now, my friend M has previously told me that about a month earlier he bought this group plus some others from a well-known dealer who is set up at the National (call him B). M puts some of the group in his own collection, sells some to two collector friends who are also working on the set, and brings the remainder to his case at the National. I do not remember exactly what he paid for them. For some general context, the amount is somewhere between $2500 and $5000.

It quickly comes to light that A has been storing his cards with his grandparents, far from where he lives. His brother - an (alleged) scamp or ne'er-do-well - (allegedly) decides to sell them for drug money or something equally worthy. They pass from the initial buyer through at least one middleman to dealer B, who contacts M and they make the deal.

Now, regardless of whether or not law enforcement does something to punish the (alleged) thief, someone is likely to get screwed here. I will share with you that my friend M feels an obligation to:

1. return all of the cards that he has in his possession to A, the initial victim of the theft, which he does unconditionally.
2. get back the cards he has sold to other collectors, refund their money, and return those cards to A, which he does unconditionally.

The question for all you stringent moral arbiters is, what is the fairest solution from here? What is missing from this restitution? What do you feel the remaining legal and/or ethical obligations of the following actors to be, if any?

- A, the innocent victim of (alleged) theft?

-. B, the dealer who bought the cards from an unknown party (presumably not knowing they were stolen) and then sold them to M?

Right now, this entire narrative should be taken as hypothetical. Whether it remains so will be up to my friend when I have the chance to speak to him about it.

sb1 01-11-2018 07:14 PM

Knowing most of the events/players of this scenario, it would be most desirable if all of the cards somehow got back to A. However some are too far dispersed at this time and it also requires someone or more than one take a hit, as the person who stole them and sold them to the dealer has no skin in the game.

M has little chance of getting reimbursed from B and B has no chance of getting reimbursed by the culprit, (sure would be easier if we could use names, the initials confuse me) :) and A has little chance of ever getting back to where he was in this scenario before the theft.

I think if M does the best he can to reassemble the original group and makes a good faith effort to make A whole, at the very least he makes himself feel better about the entire mess and gives A a large portion of the collection back in it's proper place. At that point it would be nice if B would step up and reimburse M at least some money to help out. No one is going to be completely unscathed by this entire deal, except for the perp who could probably care less.

All that being said, this is probably not the best venue to try this case, as most outsiders will not have the complete story(at least as we know it).

the-illini 01-11-2018 07:27 PM

Hypothetically speaking it would be nice if the dealer acted in good faith to make A as whole as possible rather than, hypothetically, lawyering up to check their responsibility under the letter of the law.

Chris Bland

oldjudge 01-11-2018 07:35 PM

I think that M has done the right thing-return the cards to A that he has in his possession and recouped and return those that he sold. That should make victim A whole or nearly whole. M should then go to B and explain the situation. If B is reputable he will refund M's purchase price and then, if there are others between himself and scum bag brother try to get his purchase price from them. Assuming scum bag brother has already used the money and cannot repay, someone south of B, or B, will lose money. Hopefully, the police are involved and part of scum bag brother's sentence is to make restitution for the amounts lost. I think it would be a big mistake if scum bag brother is not prosecuted, he needs to be saved from himself.

oldjudge 01-11-2018 07:38 PM

By the way, I would like the know who B is. If he or she will not return M's purchase price I would like to avoid future dealings.

Jacklitsch 01-11-2018 07:38 PM

I like M a lot but A should bear most of the responsibility here. After all it was he who failed to safeguard his collection and likely it was his brother who stole the cards.

I understand that a thief cannot convey good title and likely the end result would have been the same. There may be some exception if the buyer acquires goods from a bona fide seller (B).

Anyway M is good guy as we all know.

Aquarian Sports Cards 01-11-2018 07:42 PM

Your friend is a saint.

The brother needs to be reported to the police though because this could all be some elaborate hoax otherwise. Sell your cards, blame a "brother" get cards back and win all the way to the bank. Not likely, but possible.

At the very least I would hope the original owner would recognize the herculean effort being undertaken by your friend and do something to lessen the pain.

the-illini 01-11-2018 07:43 PM


Originally Posted by oldjudge (Post 1737717)
By the way, I would like the know who B is. If he or she will not return M's purchase price I would like to avoid future dealings.

B is a member of the board. I will leave it to A or M if they wish to reveal who it is.

Chris Bland

egbeachley 01-11-2018 07:52 PM

M didn't do anything wrong and shouldn't be the one who loses any money.

A should take the financial hit now and work on getting reimbursed by brother, unless all transactions can be reversed. Presumably it's the original buyer who made the most profit.

Peter_Spaeth 01-11-2018 08:14 PM

It seems to me B and M are both equally innocent BFPs. So why should B absorb all the hit (assuming B has no recourse against the thief), is it just because someone has to and he is earlier in the chain?

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