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Posted By: Jack Sim Answering value questions - Fri Nov 20 2015 05:09 AM
A recent post gathered many opinions about people asking value questions.

Let me explain my situation. There is hardly a day goes by that someone doesn't send me an email requesting me to put a value on a gas pump or air meter that they have found. First of all I don't buy gas pumps, I just write books about gas pumps. As for air meter, yes if I can I buy any air meter that I feel I can make money on it, I try and buy it. But most of the meters I buy come from Ebay.

Gas pumps: They usually send me one picture, one one that really p..... me off the message was "What is it worth." That is all, just that. No answer, just hit the delete button.

A few send me three or four pictures, no offer to sell it to me, just what can they sell it for.

I am in a position that I don't want to make anybody mad because I will shortly have a new Gas Pump ID (with values) book coming out, so what should I do?

If you received a request like this every week, would you reply?

My polite answer is usually, I cannot put a value an anything I cannot touch.

Any opinions?

Jack Sim
Posted By: Lastgas15 Re: Answering value questions - Fri Nov 20 2015 06:32 AM
An important part of being in business is public relations. I'd answer the questions to the best of my ability hoping to turn some of those people into paying customers.
Posted By: gasmansgp Re: Answering value questions - Fri Nov 20 2015 11:36 AM
Jack, I get the same questions at least twice a week, usually by phone. I use the same answer that, "I can not touch it then it's not possible to be of help." Some folks understand but others push the envelope for opinions. To these people, I ask what business they are in. Once you establish that they are a farmer, car salesman etc. then I point out that in the same situation relating to their field of endeavor, could they answer the same question, posed the same way? Most understand and thank me for my time. The rest who persist, I refer to Ebay to look for a like item to compare. Paul www.severngaspumps.com
Posted By: mcguffeyd1 Re: Answering value questions - Fri Nov 20 2015 01:28 PM
I am in the same boat. I try to reply though. I give my best opinion and if it is something I like or want I will ask if it is for sale. Most the time it is questions about Mobil stuff which I like to talk about anyways.
My advice is try and play nice!! But there is some out there that just want to use you

Dan
Posted By: Sask.Elk.Guy Re: Answering value questions - Fri Nov 20 2015 01:35 PM
Jack, I've found that whenever I provide an over-the-phone appraisal, I will never get a chance to own that item. So what I do, as part of my business, is offer to give a written "Marketable Cash Value" appraisal and charge a minimal fee of $25. That way I at least get to see the item and my time is not totally given away to those that are just out there to steal from my wealth of knowledge for free.

I think we all cringe a little when someone asks "what's my xxx worth?", as they all want to hear it's worth millions, and very few believe us when we tell them the true value range.

Hopefully someone here will have a better answer than what I've been using, as we could all benefit from that.
Posted By: Vernski Re: Answering value questions - Fri Nov 20 2015 07:39 PM
While I know virtually nothing about petro values, I get a number of requests about the values of Model A Ford Victorias. I usually try to give a range based on my understanding of the current market, tailored by what they tell me and send me about the car in question.

Jack, I doubt that most who contact you with "three or four pictures, no offer to sell it to me" even think that you might be interested in buying the item.

I also think that those who contact you for a value quote are not going to be buying a gas pump book. They simply want to use your knowledge to see "just what can they sell it for". Your reticence to jump at these requests isn't going to make anybody mad IMHO.

Your answer "I cannot put a value an anything I cannot touch", is very valid. I don't think your approach should change.
Posted By: bustermonty Re: Answering value questions - Fri Nov 20 2015 08:18 PM
My buddy told me he thinks the 3 smartest words in the dictionary are:
"I don't know" I tend to agree when trying to give values. Especially on the seldom seen items with no sales record.
Posted By: BryceG Re: Answering value questions - Fri Nov 20 2015 08:20 PM
im glad you are not giving values Jack... that is what the book is for.

If you did give values more readily, then you would probably have to field even more calls & emails.

If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "Well I called Scott and he says the globe is worth this much?" or "I called Dan and he says the sign is right and worth this much"... I can only imagine how many inquiries both of them get.

But at the same time, if you choose to publish and sell value guides and make this hobby your living, then I suppose you better be ready for some of this to ensue.
Posted By: Lastgas15 Re: Answering value questions - Sat Nov 21 2015 03:49 AM
Originally Posted By BryceG
...... if you choose to publish and sell value guides and make this hobby your living, then I suppose you better be ready for some of this to ensue.

Yep.
Posted By: 63shelby Re: Answering value questions - Sat Nov 21 2015 04:43 AM
"If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "Well I called Scott and he says the globe is worth this much?" or "I called Dan and he says the sign is right and worth this much"... I can only imagine how many inquiries both of them get."

I can say this about Scott...even though he is EXTREMELY busy and I'm sure hounded daily about globes, value/real or repop/ can you find me....etc. he has always and I mean always answered my phone call or responded to my email...with kindness and a honest answer, and I know I am way low on the totem pole of globe collectors. He never asked me to buy his CD although I did and will buy the new one as well, but it sure is nice to have the go to expert willing to help if needed. A lot of you "experienced" collectors have risen to the top of your field of choice whether it be pumps, air meters, globes, or a certain brand of petrol...and you've done it publicly for all to see and appreciate. You should expect and kind of appreciate that a lot of people are going to reach out to you for help and knowledge...unfortunately your going to get the flippers and unappreciative ones in there as well.
Posted By: 850man Re: Answering value questions - Sat Nov 21 2015 12:52 PM
Jack, i would like to say i understand your frustration, but i am not the one receiving emails constantly asking for an opinion. Until a person is in that situation, it is hard for them to understand( even though they may think so). I believe in putting a value on ones time!!!! Don't get me wrong, i like to help people out. I would feel better about asking someone at a show, but otherwise the rest is your time! As far as your upcoming book, i think those that are asking you are probably not going to spend the money for the book anyway. So for those people that you don't personally know, i don't think you should feel any guilt in hitting the delete button. Looking forward to your upcoming book and take care!!
Posted By: Big Block Cat Re: Answering value questions - Sat Nov 21 2015 12:56 PM
[quote=63shelby]"I can say this about Scott...even though he is EXTREMELY busy and I'm sure hounded daily about globes, value/real or repop/ can you find me....etc. he has always and I mean always answered my phone call or responded to my email...with kindness and a honest answer, and I know I am way low on the totem pole of globe collectors. He never asked me to buy his CD although I did and will buy the new one as well, but it sure is nice to have the go to expert willing to help if needed. A lot of you "experienced" collectors have risen to the top of your field of choice whether it be pumps, air meters, globes, or a certain brand of petrol...and you've done it publicly for all to see and appreciate. You should expect and kind of appreciate that a lot of people are going to reach out to you for help and knowledge...unfortunately your going to get the flippers and unappreciative ones in there as well. [/quote


Scott has set the bar quite high!A true class Act!
Posted By: buzzy56 Re: Answering value questions - Sat Nov 21 2015 02:52 PM
Appears to me that it goes with the territory ! I get questions off and on about pump & petro item values.
If it appears I have no chance to purchase the item I sometimes say I don't know. Sometimes I give my opinion if I do know. You never know when it might turn into a referral to another item or items you might have a chance to purchase.
Being in the antique business for 40 plus years we all expierience tire kickers , obnoxious people. Just got to grin & bear it .
Posted By: Jack Sim Re: Answering value questions - Sun Nov 22 2015 01:09 AM
The answer I always wanted to use but never had the nerve is "Put it on Ebay for $9.99, the world will tell you what it is worth."

Bryce: When the publisher agreed to publish my first book they said it had to have values or they would not print it. I didn't want to do it, but I had to. As for making a living on this hobby, for the amount of time I have devoted to putting the three books together, I could have made more money being a greeter at Walmart. And at the age of 80, that is about the only job I could get.

Jack Sim
Posted By: Nicole Re: Answering value questions - Sun Nov 22 2015 04:56 AM
Umm, I think when you hit 80, you can do whatever the hay barrel you want!

If you are getting these requests once a day, that's adds up to a lot of time that perhaps you have other things to do with.

I think if you could put together a 'form' reply that you can just cut and paste, telling people how to research values on e-bay, or on the OLDGAS forums, that's ok.

I also think telling people to buy the book, is ok.

You put how many years into your book? Why would people think they can get free advice, when you are trying to sell a book that has what they are looking for. Giving them these three options, and you are teaching them how to find values that will actually make them better at purchasing items for themselves or for resale.

What's the proverb?

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day...
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Posted By: neatoldstuff Re: Answering value questions - Mon Nov 23 2015 03:14 AM
Jack,
Very interesting question. I am in a somewhat similar situation, although I have not written a book and I couldn't if I tryed. I have had hundreds of old farm tractors through the years. I guess that qualifies me as a good person to ask. I also put a website together years ago showing a lot of my collection. Got to a point where I received so many emails, especially about values that I literally took 7/8 of the website down.

What I found interesting through the years is many years back, you could actually get into some very interesting conversations, even make some lifelong friends with the give and take and you could quite often make a difference. Years ago I always considered it a "karma thing" and I took all the time needed to answer questions as thoroughly as I could. As the years progressed I had less & less time for it all. But I also noticed through the years exactly what you mentioned. It seems with the age of cell phones and such that can be accessed within a moments notice I guess, I seem to get a ton of emails asking me "what's this worth" in the subject line and not so much as a photo to accompany it, then no text or message telling me anything about the item. My rule of thumb anymore is I put as much into my reply as they put into the message. If I get a message saying "what's it worth, I simply reply I'm not at all sure. But when I get emails asking a value, with a well thought out message about where they are located and what the condition is and details such as if the tractors run or not or how many implements are with it and a million other things to consider including what has and hasn't sold in the recent past and rarity etc. In other words, a well thought out message gets a well thought out response. That's the kind of email I'll spend as long as it takes. But I always give a disclaimer because I'm far from an expert. Values are so hard to deal with, even for experts. What something sells for today may not come close to that tomorrow. Certain things are worth more to certain folks, even distance has a great deal to do with purchases anymore. So values can be very hard to pin down in this day and age. Too many scenario's to consider.

I've seen a ton of folks take advantage in certain situations where perhaps someone older or younger could have used a little good advice. Happy to say I've helped some of those folks out, sad to say I'm sure I missed some along the way. The most interesting thing to me these days though is probably 9 out of 10 emails are quick one line what's it worth emails where 20 yrs back it was the other way around. I also frequently get plenty of emails with pictures of a very common old tractor that might sell for a couple hundred and they tell me how extremely rare it is and they'll sell it for a couple thousand :-) I have never bought a tractor from someone asking me advice though, just seems like a conflict of interest in my humble opinion.

Something I get a huge kick out of...and this happens alot anymore! I'll be watching an interesting old tractor on Ebay or elsewhere, see it sell, and literally within minutes get an email from the new owner asking the value! Right after he placed the winning bid :-)

One quick great story, makes it all worthwhile....I saw a post where someone had advertised a very nice somewhat rare tractor, a fair value at the time was between 5-6000. It was advertised for $500. I emailed, not to buy the tractor, but to ask if they realized there was a zero missing. Turned out to be a lady who's husband had passed and not left her with any info so she did not have a clue. She changed the value to 5000 and sold the tractor an hour later for her asking price and both seller and buyer got a great deal. She was from Canada, a few weeks later, somehow she tracked my address down, sent me down a goodie basket with all sorts of Canadian treats, boy did that make me feel good that I was able to help her. Some good things about being in this position, and some bad, but always interesting...

Wow did this get long! Sorry...
Posted By: Cold Pizza Re: Answering value questions - Sat Nov 28 2015 07:39 PM
Originally Posted By Jack Sim
.."When the publisher agreed to publish my first book they said it had to have values or they would not print it. I didn't want to do it, but I had to."


I find this odd,as other ID books don't show any prices because I imagine it dates them,and they have to write another one later on.Or in some cases,makes them obsolete the minute they're printed.
We all know prices change so often are and very subjective.
There are many ID guides in print today that don't have any prices in them @ all.
The internet is usually where they all suggest you look for current prices.
Posted By: Jack Sim Re: Answering value questions - Sun Nov 29 2015 03:53 AM
My first book was printed in 2002. Second book in 2008, has things changed?

Jack
Posted By: Curt Re: Answering value questions - Sun Nov 29 2015 11:05 PM
Originally Posted By Jack Sim
My first book was printed in 2002. Second book in 2008, has things changed?

Jack

Jack, when will the 3rd edition be available?
Posted By: coheley5 Re: Answering value questions - Mon Nov 30 2015 12:47 AM
I would agree with most that if you want to find a value of something do your own research , sold on ebay , auction results , there are many ways to get a ballpark on an item just take you time and look .
Posted By: MORE RUST Re: Answering value questions - Tue Dec 01 2015 01:19 PM
How are you putting a value on a pump in a book if like you said yourself you can't touch it. I have only collected pumps for 5 years and I find the antique dealers ask about 2-4 times the usual value found on craigslist or other venues. The region being sold is a major indicator. The midwest and west are half the price as in the east. It is cheaper to buy from the west and ship to the east and still have a great savings. I would find it impossible to write a value on a pump for that reason. I do respect your vast knowledge on old pumps. Value is what someone will pay for it and drive very far for it. Of course, a pump you will value at $5k and you can buy for $1K or $2K is a helpful indicator. That will show the value in a sort of ratio from one to another. I do know that the value grows only in leaps and bounds and your book will be obsolete quite fast. I will get a copy.


Posted By: Wes Maxwell Re: Answering value questions - Wed Dec 02 2015 02:46 AM
I can't speak for Jack but if I recall, volume 2 of his Gas Pump book says values shown are for a pump that is in about 100% original unrestored condition. Volume one also said there were five other people besides Jack that got together to come up with the values based on their knowledge and experience in the hobby. The five that helped were names in the hobby, their input should carry a lot of weight with others. That said, the books are several years old already and prices/ values do change. They should be used as a guide. Volume three should be the best yet.
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