How Much Is Ally Sloper Worth: or, The Dubious Art of Haggling

A good morning to you all, Ladies & Gents.

A funny thing happened to your ‘umble narrator recently. As you will know, I have been on a quest of late to collect all my old adventures about me, for an aged cove like myself it is far easier to collect those adventures in print than it is to recollect them, for they are many and diverse and my mind is perhaps not as sharp as it once was.

Well, in pursuit of this I was browsing your popular internet auction house and found a fellow selling a single edition of my old Half-Holiday periodical. I sent the fellow a kindly message to ask of him if this was the only copy he had or if he had any more hidden away. This fellow replied in the affirmative to say that he did indeed have a total of 92 editions! I got back to him to ask how much he would ask for such a collection and he responded with “make me an offer”!

Now then, having been raised amongst the costers, hawkers, hucksters and pedlars of old Whitechapel, the dubious art of haggling is second nature to me. Naturally, I went in with an absurdly low price with the great expectation of him haggling me up to a place of mutual contentment.

But no, this wily cove did not offer a monetary rebuttal, he just refused my offer and said that he would need to go away and make a study of the worth of this treasure he had.

Well, that was that, he would go off to some ‘expert’ on the subject and be told what he had was worth a fair old bob or two and your poor old Sloper, not being a man of means, would go without once more. I thought no more of it and resolved myself to the fact that I would not hear from the fellow again.

However, that very evening I received an email correspondence from the fellow… through this very website in which you are reading my adventures! And in this correspondence he was requesting my expert advice on the value of his treasure… not knowing, of course, that he was asking this of the same person as what wanted to purchase them!

The very horns of a dilemma, Ladies and Gentlemen!

What could I do but explain to him in a fair and friendly manner that, philosophically speaking, they are valueless… mere ancient cotton rags with forgotten stories printed upon them which are irrelevant to modern-day sensibilities… how the value is not dependent upon a set figure to be plucked from the air, but more on what a person would be willing to pay… I told him that I could not give him a set value but merely what I would pay for them personally… obviously, I did not tell him he was talking to the same person as wanted to purchase them!!

Later still that evening he responded to my offer again through the famous online auction house and he agreed to sell all 92 editions to me at the price I first offered. It turned out, on receiving them, that they were all in most excellent condition; unread, unfolded and there was even a couple of Christmas issues included (both still with their ‘Gratis Plates’ tucked inside!)

ally slopers half holiday collection

Is there a moral to this story? It may be claimed that I don’t know much about the subject of morality but I will give it a go.

Firstly, if you are offering editions of Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday for sale, do not think you have a treasure on your hands for they are not worth much. They are not rare, if there are none for sale in the auction house at your time of selling, there will be some come up for sale soon after. And being mostly forgotten, there are only a handful of people in the world who would be willing to part with their cash for such a thing. As a guide, I would usually pay as little as 99p and as much as £7.50 for a single issue and, of course, this price is very much dependent on the condition.

Secondly, if you enter into a correspondence with someone then do so in a polite and courteous way, especially if you are seeking advice. I would not say that this fellow was rude exactly but he did have an unpleasant manner about him and did not even take the time to reply to my full and fair letter explaining the worth of his treasure. Not even a thank you.

And thirdly, most importantly, if you are asking the value of an item then never ask the advice of the person who wants to purchase it… especially if they are a notorious (if somewhat tempered by age) schemer and ne’er-do-well!

ally sloper

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