We have just acquired a few vintage historic Marilyn Monroe photos. See them here -> Marilyn Monroe vintage photo stills
It Still Pays to Be Honest, Even at a Price
Conway’s Vintage Treasures is in a very Rare position to be able to state unequivocally that they have NEVER had a single complaint filed against them from a customer for anything they have ever sold in the nearly 30 years selling autographs. And what is even more unusual is that they sell rare autographs. It is no secret the autograph market in inundated with forgeries and unscrupulous sellers of autograph forgeries. As a matter of fact, this is why Conway’s have recently experienced several FAKE negative reviews all over the internet about them. You may see these “fake” negative reviews when you search for thier business in Google. EVERY SINGLE one is from the SAME person who, by the way, has NEVER even bought from Conway’s. And, the author of these fake reviews cannot produce proof that he even has such a document nor any proof of purchase from Cvtreasures. We publicly asked him to post it in the autograph forum AutographMagazine.com, several months ago. But course he never responded. Also note, he posts each FAKE report under a different anonymous name.
It is unfortunate that Conway’s has to even defend themselves against this fraudulent element , as they have had a flawless reputation for the past 30 years. And can state there is not a single complaint from any LEGITIMATE individual who has ever purchased from them. However the internet is an UN-policed medium that allows and even encourages criminal like activity. Hence, the only way for any business to tackle such a dishonest, malicious act is head on, with THE TRUTH.
WHY? About five years ago I, Kevin Conway “outed” a well known seller autograph forgeries on an autograph forum. He has since used a number of online review sites to Anonymously post derogatory Fabricated reviews about us as retaliation for warning the autograph community about his deceitful, harmful activity. . You will recognize many of his fake derogatory reviews postings as he starts them with “Conman Kevin Conway” . What makes this scenario so ironic is that we are known within the autograph industry as being extremely conscientious, even obsessed, with insuring authenticity. Which is exactly why we are despised by the criminal element of the autograph forgery business.
Read the full story here on our main Autographs & Original Vintage Movie Posters website.
Everything we sell is Guaranteed Authentic for Life
Conway’s Vintage Treasures
UACC Registered Dealer No. 307
Recession: Depression for Some, Opportunity for Others
I am often asked “how is business in this stinky economy” ? My answer usually surprises them, “Fantastic”!. As a matter of fact I just had the best Summer in 20 years. But, WHY is my business and the Collectibles Industry as a whole doing quite well, and even thriving in this recession?
For over 30 years as a collector, I have always noticed during each economic cycle (i.e. downturn), that the value of collectibles never goes down, not in any of my collecting niches anyway. During the past two months I have attended about 25 auctions. Ironically, the values of quality collectibles seem to be “going through the roof” despite the badgering by the media of current economic gloom. I don’t know if any experts can explain this phenomenon with any accuracy, I have my own opinion. But, listen to what one of the world’s largest collectible auction houses, Heritage Auctions in Dallas, has to say about the connection between the troubled economy and the collectibles industry.
Collectibles, especially coins, remain extremely liquid. Over the last three months, as Wall Street has been reeling, our auction and private treaty sales have risen steadily.
Conversely, our buyers continue to vie aggressively at auction for coins and collectibles they love, knowing that they are diversifying against inflation, and through that diversification, protecting their holdings of paper assets for the future. In fact, we cannot remember a time when our clientele has been more engaged, or when we’ve seen as many new and active buyers.
Our $35 million September 24-27 Long Beach Expo auction of coins and currency registered more bidders (over 14,000 of them!) than any auction in our history. Our Entertainment, Space Memorabilia, and Natural History auctions over the past 10 days were consistently strong events with above average sell-through and very happy consignors. And here are some hard and fast facts on Heritage weekly coin, currency, movie posters, comics and sports auctions for just the last quarter (i.e. the last 30 days versus the 30 day period starting four months ago):
*Our number of successful bidders is up by 11.5%.
*Our number of lots actually sold in each weekly auction is up 39.95%.
*Our average lot value is up 8.49%.
*Our total sales volume is up 43.34%
Coins and currency may not garner the headlines, but our market has held steady, and risen in many areas, even throughout these difficult months. Coins in particular, and collectibles in general, are a wonderful hedge in a market like we’re seeing now. This we know from experience and study of history.
Rare coin prices, along with many other collectibles, actually rose during the Great Depression, as well as during the recession and accompanying real estate and stock market collapse of 1974. During the oil crisis of 1979, we saw coin prices rise dramatically, rewarding owners at a time when their stocks and many other assets were plummeting. Many of our clients saved their houses or businesses with funds from prudent coin investments made with us that we sold for them at auction in early 1980. And the 2 years following the 1987 stock market collapse saw rare coin prices more than double, on average (source: PCGS 3000 Index).
Collectibles markets are often counter-cyclical to widespread turmoil, meaning owners can actually profit when they need money the most. At worst, these categories are generally only minimally affected, in the short-term, by Wall Street’s wild fluctuations. And coins and collectibles have a steady record of bouncing back even if their value takes a hit.
In addition to Heritage observation above, I would also add there are many emotional drivers of collecting. Collecting is a passion and a distraction to a better place, a better quality of life then we can get from say for example, following stock prices everyday.. What fun is that? Plus, collectible values will never go to zero as many stocks have. My most loyal customers have been investing in choice pieces more than ever during the past three months. And, all I can tell you is as a collector myself, I find myself doing the same.
So, if you have a passion for choice collectibles, be it coins, autographs, vintage movie memorabilia, historical or sports memorabilia, you “get it”. I don’t have to advise you to ignore the media obsession with making us all feel as though the world is coming to an end and to instead just keep on enjoying a great “quality of life” as an enthusiastic collector. You’re already doing it!
About a month or so ago, I wrote an article for my monthly newsletter dedicated to Paul Newman. Because my newsletter is for a special niche of collectors such as rare celebrity autographs, original vintage movie posters, historical & sports memorabilia and antique oil paintings I didn’t think it would be popular among general blog readers. However, since it was picked up by a number of national media outlets including About.com, I thought maybe there are some special collectors out there who might like to read how Paul Newman was so admired not only by the general public but by movie memorabilia collectors all over the world.
Paul Newman Tribute
September 28, 2008
Today I was reminded about what a gift it is to have the passion of a collector. Whether you collect art, vintage
Hollywood, sports or comic books, we Collectors know we always have a “special place” we can go when the world seems so dark, depressed and doomed. Over the past week (or several months come to think of it) I find the media to be a reliable source of misery. I would never have believed that CNN and Fox news would become my last choice for evening Television. Yet, not even the persistent, gloomy economic and political news can dampen the excitement of collecting. That’s what makes collecting more then just a hobby. It’s an escape to a better, healthier state of mind. To me that is priceless. I call it “the Collector High”. It ‘s unfortunate there are so many good folks that have no “better place” to go to as these ominous clouds shower us with this temporary dismal and pessimistic economic storm.
So, I was saddened this past week, on another dimension, while reading my email. I see a news report that one of our most beloved movie actors Paul Newman had succumbed to cancer. I didn’t know Paul Newman, never met him. I only knew the public, bigger then life persona. But, he played an important role in my early life. When I was about ten years old, I acquired a love for old movies and in particular three movie legends, namely James Stewart, John Wayne and Paul Newman.
Because there is also a very public side of this man, who exhibited an authenticity, a pureness that is about as contrary to typical Hollywood fame as Freddy Krugger helping an old lady across the street, we all got to know him a little bit. His philanthropy, his one-in-ten-thousand long term, loyal Hollywood marriage, and his numerous charitable contributions, that didn’t require photo ops and career boosting propaganda are well known. This was regardless of how hard he tried to live an anonymous life on the opposite side of the “elite coast”. In a Hollywood culture where reality is disguised by vanity, materialistic wealth and endless symbolic identity, here was an actor who achieved Hollywood’s highest fame, but turned his backed on the dark, ugly side of movie stardom. He was a self proclaimed “anti-celebrity” and often referred to acts of “celebrity” as offensive.
Here is an excerpt from USA Today.
“Now this rare breed of handsome rascal who connected with audiences across five decades is gone. The screen legend died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near
Westport, Conn., publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was 83. The actor was surrounded by his family and close friends, including his wife of 50 years, actress Joanne Woodward.
Not even a Brad Pitt or a George Clooney could take Newman’s place. You would have to mix the DNA of both Clint Eastwood (the steely toughness) and Robert Redford (the manly allure) to come close to duplicating him.
As Clooney himself told Men’s Journal in 2000, “Nobody gets to be famous as long as Paul Newman. You can’t take your eyes off of him. He’s always interested in the scene, as opposed to trying to be interesting.”
The blue-eyed devil considered himself more lucky than talented to have the career he achieved. “
So, this afternoon, with anxiety about this financial crisis we face and little comfort from Washington, I am distracting by comforting thoughts about a memorable actor whose performances never failed to take me to a better place. I recall as a ten year old, in the fifth grade, reciting that unforgettable, scolding quote “what we have here is a failure to communicate”.
Why my heroes were James Stewart, John Wayne and Paul Newman, I can’t explain, but in hindsight, not bad judgment for a 10 year old boy. Whether it was Hud Bannon in “Hud” or Luke in “Cool Hand Luke”, Paul Newman never “had a failure to communicate”. Thanks Paul for the memories and allowing us to go to a “better place” when the media and politicians are trying to convince us that money is the end of the world.
I found a lot of self made Paul Newman tributes on YouTube with background music. But, I don’t think there is a more striking and memorable example then the very end of “Cool Hand Luke”, in George Kennedy’s own words.
Conway’s Vintage Treasures
On January 29, 2008 EBay announced a major shake up in its fee structure in an attempt to revitalize their core auction business. But, this time they also made other major announcements, most notably startling changes to the feedback program along with how EBay displays search results.
1. First and foremost, the fees are changing again. Does this mean they are going up or down?
· Well, Ebay emphasizes the insertion fee decrease but de-emphasize the final value fee increase. Basically, a more productive sell through rate with higher sale prices will result in an increase in fees and the lower end seller with low sales volume and final prices will see a decrease in costs. Bottom line, Ebay’s goal is to generate more revenue from higher valued items which is where the bulk of their revenue comes from.
· However, sellers with a solid reputation, with higher DSR scores will get a fee discount. (more about DSR below).
2. The way we search and the results EBay provides us is also changing.
· Ebay is implementing a Best Match search algorithm that is based on a seller’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR). This is a score assigned to seller based on their feedback category scores (shipping costs, time, item as described, etc). So, a seller with a DSR of 4.8 will see his items appear before a seller with a DSR of 4.6.
· What exactly are these variables? Sometime ago (maybe a year ago) Ebay employed a feedback scoring system based on four categories including “item as describes”, Communication”, “shipping costs” and “Shipping time”. Sellers with better scores will rank higher in the Ebay search engine.
3. New seller standards
· As mentioned above, Ebay will reward reputable sellers and essentially punish “bad” sellers with higher fees and less exposure for their products. Not, a bad idea if you ask me. I’ve been on Ebay now for nine years with over 2000 transactions and could write a book about the good and less reputable seller son Ebay.
· Ebay will begin requiring sellers with high buyer dissatisfaction rates to offer a safe payment option. Last year, eBay began requiring all new sellers to offer PayPal or a major credit card as a safe payment option. I have always advised my customers and students of my Ebay classes to ALWAYS use PayPal to pay for any online transaction. If a buyer does not accept PayPal, “caveat emptor”.
· In July 2008, sellers will need to have a minimum 4.5 score in all four DSR criteria over a 12-month period to be designated a PowerSeller.
4. Some Good News for PayPal users.
PayPal will offer eBay PowerSellers extended protection under the existing Seller Protection Policy, staring almost immediately. This may be the best news to come out of this announcement.
- PayPal will no longer require that PowerSellers ship to international confirmed addresses for items sold on eBay. Every address in the PayPal system will be considered a confirmed address for PowerSellers. This is great news, particularly for all credit card merchant who can never ship internationally without assuming a great risk. There stillis to this day, amazingly, no ability for credit card companies to provide Address Verification (AVS) for international addresses. Hence, any online bsiness who accepts credit cards can expect a charge back any time the international customer disputes for non recipt or wrong address.
- The annual $5,000 limit on seller protection will be increased fro Powersellers.
- More international markets will be added to the seller protection program..
5. Finally, the loudest uproar from EBay sellers comes from EBay’s decision to drastically change the feedback system. This new policy is set to launch in May 2008.
· Sellers will no longer be able to leave negative or neutral Feedback for buyers. OUCH!
- When a buyer doesn’t respond to the Unpaid Item (UPI) process, the negative or neutral Feedback they have left for that transaction will be removed.
- Negative feedback for a suspended member will be removed. I called Ebay and they confirmed that negative feedback from any member suspended in the past 12 months will be removed.
- Buyers must wait 3 days before leaving negative or neutral Feedback for sellers.
- Feedback percentage will be based on the last 12 months, although the total count remains lifetime. Hence, any negative or neutral feedback left more than 12 months ago will no longer affect a user’s percent positive score.
- Ebay states that there will be more stringent guidelines for buyers when sellers report an unpaid item or commit other policy violations.
The EBay blog Auctionbytes employed a survey in which over 1300 respondents expressed their strongest objection to the new Feedback policy. As both a seller and a buyer I have mixed feelings about the new feedback policy. I can understand why 90% of sellers strongly disagree with these changes. However, on the other hand as a buyer, I have also experienced, several times, how a seller threatens to give negative feedback in retaliation for “deserving” seller negative feedback. When I encounter a dishonest seller I issue negative feedback and the response is almost always a retaliatory negative. So, in my opinion feedback is MOST important for a seller as she/he is the party providing product or service for monies. And, inmost cases a seller issuing a negative is for retaliatory reasons. It is the SELLER that maintains most of the control I a transaction. The buyer on the other hand assumes the risk. So, tis may end up being, in hindsight, a positive change. Yes, I realize I’m in the minority on this one.
Every year or so EBay shakes up the seller community with fee increases and minor administration changes. Like the US Postal Service, it’s just something we have to live with (until a better alternative comes along). As EBay feels the affect of economic downturns and increased competition, such as the recent Amazon announcement for their new Product Ad program (which I am employing in my business strategy mix), and a declining revenue base, it is assumed they will continue to “stir the pot” for the sake of their viability and survivability. No sweat on this end, I’ll just follow their lead.
Kevin Conway is an Ebay Powerseller and a Certified Ebay Instructor. He is also the owner of Conway’s Vintage Treasures working with Selective Collectors of Rare Autographs, Vintage Movie Posters, Fine Art Oil Paintings, Vintage Sports Memorabilia and other Rare, Unusual Antiques and Collectibles. His web site of more then 2000 vintage memorabilia treasures is :
Kevin is also President of Boston e-Marketing Solutions, an Internet Marketing company helping small and medium size businesses create profitable strategies for their web site. The web site is:
For 0ver 25 years I’ve been heavily involved with the Memorabilia and Collectibles industry, as both a collector and seller. The risk of fakes and forgeries for such items as Celebrity Autographs, Vintage Movie Posters, Fine Art Oil Paintings, Vintage Sports Memorabilia and other antiques and collectibles has always been prevalent. The same risk exists for ANY commercial transaction including buying cars, houses, electronic equipment and just about anything that motivates the unscrupulous side of the human race. But, never has it been more rampant as it is now since the birth of the internet and the opportunity for these anonymous criminals to operate behind the fuzzy identities of Ebay ID’s, unknown locations and virtual existence. So, we put together a Top Ten List of ”How to Protect Yourself From Online Fraud” available free on our web site. The temptation of terrific buys online can be addictive, so hopefully this will help balance the powers of illusion and reality. We also publish monthly “What to Watch Out For” newsletters, which are Free. Just visit our site and subscribe (including many other freebies to help you buy safely and even profit online): Conway’s Vintage Treasures
Conway’s Vintage Treasures