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The loser

Rareandvintageguitars.com replies to my email offering them my collectible, 1962 Epiphone Sorrento. (Someone shoot me now, but is it ‘collectible’ or ‘collectable’? Despite having edited more than 150 books, I have never known. I hate optional, I seek closure.)

It is one of four very similar instruments I can find online, all more expensive. I am offering to sell it for considerably less than I paid for it, allowing a fair margin to the reseller. But R&V are offering me less even than that. Much less. In fact, half.

An item like a collectable vintage instrument doesn’t depreciate, but its price fluctuates around a slowly rising median point, according to general economic conditions, as it matures. Whenever it is sold, it loses half its value. Whenever it is bought, it regains half its value, and then half again. Thus, over time buying and selling the same item generates a constant accumulation of money for the middle men and an equivalent loss for the unfortunate owners, who can never sell the thing even for what they paid for it. Trading collectibles is always a buyers’ market – unless you are the buyer.

Considering M&V’s paltry offer, I take momentary satisfaction from imagining how painful it would be to have the tuning head of a fine vintage guitar inserted briskly into one’s rectum – giving new meaning to the phrase ‘jam session’. But I am the real loser, which is more painful still.

*R&V emails me to say, they sold their Epiphone yesterday and lost £700 on the deal so that has nailed the market price to a new floor and they cannot offer more for mine. I almost sort of sympathise. I broke the cardinal rule: buy at the bottom, sell at the top.

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