Our good friend and fellow member Jim Lissa got a sickening surprise last Wednesday when he arrived at his store, Classic Audio. Someone had come in the night before, apparently using copies of Jim's keys, and taken virtually all of the vintage tube gear in his store. The list of items taken includes four HK Citation ll's, a Heathkit W-6, a pair of Classic Radio modified Dyna Mklll's, a Stereo 70, a couple PAS3's, a Scott 399, Mac 501s, 250's and a C-24.
As you know, a lot of this stuff was from kits and didn't necessarily have serial numbers on it. The numbers don't really have too much value unless the felon is apprehended, and the stuff is most likely an its way out of the state or the country anyway. The Seattle police told Jim that he was a criminal for dealing in merchandise that didn't come with serial numbers1. It must be a bitch owning a fruit stand in this town! Interestingly, a person who had been employed by Jim on occasion has mysteriously disappeared. Further checking revealed the fellow to have an alias or two, some phony addresses, and past indictments for burglary. This reporter is not making any allegations, just noting an interesting coincidence.
Anyway, we all ought to take this as a reminder that our funky old tube gear is getting valuable, with all the positive and negative aspects that brings. Start thinking about keeping your collection secure, or be like me and don't collect much. Nobody seems very interested in ripping off homebrew.
Maybe just as important, don't blab about other member's collections to strangers. That's why I don't give last names or addresses when I discuss collectors in this newsletter.
If you're selling something to a person you don't know, don't take them into your trophy room. Show it to them at the dining table, or meet them at a swap meet. Save the show for us fellow members!
Photographing your collection is a good idea too. This is a common practice among antique radio collectors. If the piece has a serial number, write it on the back of the photo. Not only does it give you a visual ID if you lose something, You also create an historical reference of your rare pieces. Heck, send me some of these and I'll print them in a future issue.
Eric is super careful about buying stuff, even at swaps. He gets everyone he buys from to give him a signed receipt. Not only does this please the IRS, he at least has some info if a piece turns out to be hot, and a record of purchase price for his wife Diane to use if god forbid something happens to him, and she needs to liquidate the collection. Very smart. He carries a notepad for the sellers who don't bring receipt books.
My personal formula is to be in the business so everyone knows the minute I get something new. They buy it from me before I decide I like it, and I don't have anything left to protect. This, combined with never getting away from the shop, and never having any cash, seems to make me a low priority for lowlifes looking for stuff to steal!
As for the poopstain who ripped off Jim, I'm sure you're all thinking of just punishment in the event he's caught. I have come up with the most inhumane torture I can think of. Marry him to my ex-wife.
Don't let the blue smoke out, and don't let the boogeyman in...