Saturday 10 September 2011

Caveat Emptor

I follow eBay quite closely and see lots and lots of items posted all the time, sometimes by people who know what they have, sometimes by people who are unaware of what they have and sometimes by outright charlatans who tell whopping lies to make it sound like a) they know more than they do and b) that they have a piece which is something its not.

Usually these don't tend to bother me.  If an item is listed a 'rare', I don't pay any attention, 'rare' is relative.  There is usually nothing deliberately misleading about these listings, the seller just doesn't know what they are talking about.  However over the last couple of weeks I have been coming across a few listings all by the same person.  It appears that this person has a Clarecraft Discworld Chess Set.  It is the resin one I posted about the other week.  These pieces are small and although they are highly detailed, unless seen as a set they are not particularly attractive.  There is nothing wrong with these pieces being sold separately, some people cannot afford £150 for the whole things and the opportunity to buy the odd piece for £3.50 (plus a scandalous £2.50 postage!!) might be a good offer.  However, this guy isn't selling the chess pieces separately.  Oh no, he is selling (and I DO quote) 'Limited Edition, First Edition (!!??!!) pieces!.  This got on my nerves slightly, I must admit, but again I thought, well people taking a risk on £3.50, not the end of the world and if the buyer likes the piece then its all good.  However, this morning when I checked eBay I found that this charlatan is now listing a Granny Weatherwax cream chess piece.  He gives the dimensions so if a buyer checks they will find the piece is small but he has taken a photo of the item with a Clarecraft box.  The chess pieces never came in normal sized boxes. He has also taken the photograph with the piece a long way in front of the box so it looks like the piece fits the box which is blatantly false.  He also states the this is another Limited Edition, First Edition piece and as it is boxed it is even more rare.  This is an absolute untruth.  The chess pieces were never boxed separately.  The chess pieces are not Limited Edition pieces.  There are only  a few Clarecraft Limited Edition Discworld pieces and they ALL come with certificates of authenticity listing the edition number.  There is no such thing as a Clarecraft First Edition.  If pieces were revised and changed then the items became Mark 1, Mark 2, etc not editions.  This seems to me to be going a bit beyond gilding the lily into the realm of total untruths and deliberately misleading new collectors, and to me that is not on.  I don't want new collectors put off by mercenaries like this.  He has this item listed at £14.99!!! Steer well clear of this snake oil salesman.

If, incidentally you do see something on eBay and are a bit unsure of exactly what it is, feel free to contact me and I can identify things for you.  I can't tell you how much you should pay for any item, that is up to you.  I have paid over the odds for many items simply because I liked them but I can certainly give you more information on the piece then will probably be on the listing.


  1. Ok, well that makes more sense. I'd seen these listed and couldn't work out what they were, a bit small to be whites but too large to be painted pewters. Shame he can't just be honest about what he's selling.

  2. it is a shame and normally this type of thing doesn't bother me but i would hate for some unwary buyer to be put off Clarecraft completely due to being misled. The daftest thing is if he just advertised it as a chess set he would probably get a good price anyway without the need for iffy tactics!!