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View Full Version : Should it stay or should it go now? 1927 Cuban Stars panorama.


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08-21-2007, 07:14 PM
Posted By: <b>Ryan Christoff</b><p>Okay, I would really appreciate any opinions regarding an item I won in the last Sotheby's/SCP auction. It was lot #93 "1927 PANORAMIC PHOTOGRAPH OF EASTERN COLORED LEAGUE OPENING GAME WITH DIHIGO, OMS, MESA, POMPEZ AND OTHERS." I paid $9,600 (including BP, not including shipping) and am trying to decide whether to keep it or return it. I'm curious to hear what others would do in my situation.<br /><br />The item I received is, in my opinion, in substantially worse condition than the item pictured in the printed catalog or on the website. Here is a link to the auction. It is lot #93: <a href="http://www.sothebys.com/app/paddleReg/paddlereg.do?dispatch=eventDetails&event_id=28289" target="_new" rel="nofollow">http://www.sothebys.com/app/paddleReg/paddlereg.do?dispatch=eventDetails&event_id=28289</a><br /><br />I tried to post a link directly to the lot, but it was absurdly long. You might need to be registered with Sotheby's to look zoom in on the image. I don't know how to save that kind of image to my computer. It's one that lets you zoom in up to 588% on any particular area. <br /><br />There are many flaws on the item I received that were not visible in the catalog or on the website. Some of the flaws were simply cropped out. Also, there is no mention of the item being framed, yet the photo I received has been matted and framed. Horribly framed and matted, I might add. It appears that when they attempted to flatten it, presumably in order to frame it, they created several cracks that weren't previously there. Either that, or those flaws had been photoshopped out of the image they published in the catalog and on the website. <br /><br />Also, as you pan to the right edge, it starts to get blurrier and blurrier. The main reason I bought this photo is that it has Martin Dihigo. Unfortunately, he is among the few players who are slightly blurry. The image quality was described as "impressive" in the auction description, which I would certainly disagree with for Dihigo. Dihigo is the tall guy in the Cuban Stars uniform, by the way. The description does mention that there are multiple creases, which I thought were all visible in the picture they posted. Judge for yourself.Here are some images:<br /><br />Top image is from the catalog. Bottom image is what I received.<br /><img src="http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n148/vajra1/panorama-comparison.jpg"><br /><br />Here's the full item in the frame, as I received it:<br /><img src="http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n148/vajra1/panorama-inframe.jpg"><br /><br /><img src="http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n148/vajra1/panorama-bottomrightcrack.jpg"><br /><br /><img src="http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n148/vajra1/panorama-Hilldaleleftcrack.jpg"><br /><br /><img src="http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n148/vajra1/panorama-hilldaleexeccracks.jpg"><br /><br /><img src="http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n148/vajra1/panorama-bottomleftcornercracks.jpg"><br /><br /><img src="http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n148/vajra1/panorama-bottomedgecracks.jpg"><br /><br />This crease/crack that goes through the great Alejandro Oms is not visible at all in the auction catalog (on the right, pixelated):<br /><img src="http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n148/vajra1/panorama-Omscreasecomparison.jpg"><br /><br />Any advice, comments, opinions, etc. would be greatly appreciated. <br /><br />Thanks in advance, <br /><br />-Ryan<br /><br /><br /><br />

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08-21-2007, 07:35 PM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>Does Sotheby's even have a return policy? I clearly see the problems with it and you have a valid case but will they take it back?

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08-21-2007, 08:00 PM
Posted By: <b>Mike H</b><p>Did the item description mention creases and cracks at all? They will probably fall back on the ole, "you should have asked". I would absolutely pursue this however. The price you paid was for an excellent plus example, not poor-good. Keep us posted and good luck.

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08-21-2007, 08:09 PM
Posted By: <b>Dan Bretta</b><p>Wow! They either photoshopped that or they damaged it after the catalog photos were taken. For that kind of money I would return it or ask for a significant refund. Good luck...and keep us posted.

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08-22-2007, 04:05 AM
Posted By: <b>Ryan Christoff</b><p>I haven't even discussed it with Sotheby's yet since I haven't decided whether or not to keep it. It's not like I can go out and pick another one up. This is a truly unique panorama that would have a happy home on my wall, but I think it will bother me every time I look at it if I keep it. The more I think about it, the more it doesn't sit right with me. <br /><br />Add to the condition problems the fact that the bid price was probably not even a legitimate one and I'm leaning more and more towards returning it. When I say the price was not legitimate, I mean due to the absolutely unethical shill bidding (or as some view it, a perfectly acceptable book bid) that the auction company engages in. This might make them less likely to want to take the item back since there might not even be an underbidder that they could sell it to for his or her high bid. Of course, I have no way of knowing if the underbidder was a "book bid" or a legitimate bid, so I suppose it doesn't matter. Since I can't know for sure and wasn't born yesterday, I have to assume the chances are pretty good it was a shill, which would be right in line with normal auction house practices. <br /><br />Even being shilled, I really wouldn't have minded paying what I paid for the item if it was the same item I was bidding on. But the item I bid on, and the one I received are very, very different. Why they would choose to frame this piece before shipping it is baffling to me. Most panoramic photos aren't sitting in frames for years and years and then discovered, nice and flat, ready to hang on your wall. They're usually rolled up and need to be handled properly and framed professionally to prevent the exact kind of damage this photo has from happening. Seems like an amateur move from a veteran auction house. <br /><br />If I decide to return it, I'll definitely let you know how that process goes. <br /><br />I was hoping to hear a few more opinions on this, though. Should I have posted it on the other board since it deals with an auction house that many board members buy vintage cards from? It doesn't seem OT to me and there are clearly more people reading the other board. <br /><br />-Ryan<br /><br />

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08-22-2007, 08:00 AM
Posted By: <b>Dan Bretta</b><p>Ryan, I would post it on the main forum. I don't think many of the regulars even check this one out anymore.

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08-22-2007, 08:02 AM
Posted By: <b>leon</b><p>I also agree that it looks pretty bad compared to what the scan in the book looked like. Had to be touched up somehow. If you aren't comfortable with it I would inquire with them about a return. This side of the site gets quite a bit of hits but the main board gets much, much more.....You are welcome to post this over there if you want to...and I agree, you will probably get more responses...good luck with it either way....best regards

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08-22-2007, 11:41 AM
Posted By: <b>Jon Canfield</b><p>Ryan - I agree with everyone else on here... the actual condition doesn't seem to be close to what the catalog depicted. That being said, I guess it comes down to how bad you want it for your wall. Personally, if a piece stirred up bad memories everytime I looked at it (because of the feeling I got taken), I couldn't possibly enjoy the piece no matter how rare it may be. Condition is something that doesn't bother me but other feelings and emotions would. If i was in your shoes, based on the apparent misrepresentation in condition and based on the other feelings you have elluded to, i would seek a return.

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08-22-2007, 11:45 AM
Posted By: <b>Joseph Jesselli</b><p>Whoa! Shill bidding at Sotheby's? What a shocker! Anyway, that's another topic....<br /><br />What concerns me most is the sepia tone of the picture in the catalog (i.e. web site). It wouldn't be at all unusual for a panoramic photograph from this period to be so hued, but your pictures of the actual piece show that it is not. In fact, most of the photos in and around this lot appear sepia-toned (does anyone know if this in the case in the print catalog?). It's not too much of a stretch to conspiratorially conclude that this "Photoshop" method is employed to mask problems.<br /><br />Still, it's a fabulous piece. You should try to negotiate the price down and if they're unwilling then ask for a refund. Good luck.

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08-22-2007, 12:35 PM
Posted By: <b>ramram</b><p>Personally, I'd take them to task to see what they might offer, if anything, to compensate for the obvious problem. You can obviously have a change of heart prior to returning it, should you decide to keep it. At least that way you can satisfy yourself with the full knowledge of your options. Should you decide to keep it, just mat it down in size, to reduce the visual defects at the bottom of the image.<br /><br />Great content by the way!<br /><br />Rob M.

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08-22-2007, 01:15 PM
Posted By: <b>Tom Boblitt</b><p>I agree with the whole photoshop thing. Just not possible for what you received to have been what you bid on. OR......the framing thing materially damaged the photo. Either way, you definitely have a leg to stand on to return the photo or demand some type of compensation for the difference between what you received and what you bid on. Even if they have an underbidder, I'd have to assume they underbid on the item they underbid on, not on this wrinkled photo. You have to be prepared they might take it back and not offer you any difference so if it's as difficult to get as you say and you may not have another opportunity to get one, what do you do? Were it me though, I'd ask for a full refund.<br /><br />

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09-07-2007, 01:27 PM
Posted By: <b>Jay</b><p>I don't like the refund idea. Either you like the piece and keep it or you believe the piece was misrepresented in the catalog and return it. In this case it seems like the latter case and I would return it.

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09-07-2007, 02:13 PM
Posted By: <b>leon</b><p>More info to follow.....I thought the offer was generous on Ryan's part. I don't think it matters at this point...stay tuned. I spoke with Ryan just a few minutes ago....

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09-07-2007, 10:14 PM
Posted By: <b>George Dreher</b><p>Until I hear that Ryan is going to receive a partial reimbursement for the panorama image misrepresentation, I am suspending all business with both entities and can assure you that I do a substantial amount of bidding with both auction houses. How could anyone have confidence in bidding on items other than slabbed/sealed items? An autographed photo could have a huge crease down the middle and the image might look perfect in the catalog based upon what we have seen here.

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09-08-2007, 02:28 PM
Posted By: <b>Greg Theberge</b><p>Ryan,<br /><br />For what it's worth, I also believe the item was completely misrepresented (based on all that was previously mentioned, no need to beat a dead horse repeating it) in the catalogue and that you should seek reimbursement. Personally, I think that the avenue of full return is more appropriate than any type of partial settlement given this misrepresentation, but that's just one man's opinion.<br /><br />I find it hard to believe that an auction company of this stature would give you such a hard time, but given policies that are probably written in stone, nothing comes as any surprise any more.<br /><br />I could well imagine someone from the auction house reads this board. <br /><br />For what it's worth, you can add one other potential bidder to the list of people who would never do business with this company in the future, based on fears of running into the same issues myself. I've not yet bid in one of their auctions to this date (nothing has come up yet), but I've done my fair share in Hunt's, Leland's and REA over the past couple of years.<br /><br />Poor business sense baffles me.<br /><br />All the best and good luck to you.<br /><br /><br />