Ebay quilt scammers
ID search function now shields unethical sellers from
their past. Previously, a search of any ID a seller
had ever used would point to the seller's current ID.
Now, searching on an old ID returns an "ID not
found" message. Before bidding, consumers are
strongly advised to check a seller's ID history.
bought one of these "handsewn" "Indiana made"
quilts on ebay?
alone. During just two weeks in May 2008, so did 32 other bidders.
ebay seller glock940,
who also does business under the IDs bubbaandsis and womenquiltsewing
is one of ebay's most habitual misrepresenters of knockoff quilts.
Between May 11-25 2008 alone, she sold:
identical fan quilts in twin, queen and king sizes,
which she alternately describes as "Indiana
made" or from "Landcaster [sic],
Pennsylvania". They're in "new
condition" (not surprising, since they're straight
out of their factory packaging). She also says the fans
are appliqued; they're pieced.
identical "Handmade Pennsylvania Dutch Applique
Quilts" in standard sizes, plus shams. Claiming to
buy her quilts "from a sewing/quilting group in
Shipshewana, Indiana," she says "someone did
an awesome job" making this "handsewn, hand
crafted" quilt which, again, is misdescribed as
hand crafted" plaid patchwork quilts (twin, queen
and king sizes) which "someone did a nice job
making" - presumably the "sewing/ quilting
group in Shipshewana, Indiana" who she claims
sold them to her.
identical "Handmade Wedding Ring, Pickle Dish"
quilts ("WoW"). Again she states that
"someone did an awesome job" making this
"handsewn, hand crafted" quilt. (Note
that this quilt has the piped edge that has recently
been appearing on better-quality knockoffs.)
also sells this "very unique"
"handmade" "Kentucky" quilt - in
king, queen and full sizes (all, not surprisingly, in
"new condition"). Although she says the
quilt is "handsewn," the applique and
embroidery are clearly done by machine. So far she
has had no takers.
Anatomy of a scam
who pass off Chinese knockoff quilts as handmade, handsewn, Amish,
vintage or antique just misinformed? Or are they
knowingly misleading their bidders? Here's what I and
other quilt historians and collectors have found happens when we give
such sellers the benefit of the doubt.
late April 2008, shortly after she was high bidder on one of glock940's
auctions, seller countyline91 (originally pasttime1;
after she learned about this webpage in 2008, she changed
her ID three times, first to goldenoak161, then back to pasttime1,
and finally countyquilts91) listed several Chinese knockoff
quilts including one Arch import. All were misrepresented as
handmade originals; one was described as dating to the 1940s.
Although she'd sold both vintage and knockoff quilts in the past, I
assumed she simply didn't know the difference, and pointed her to my Arch
page. She wrote me back, stating that she had "looked
at" it. She added "Arch" to one quilt's title but
did not make any other corrections.
A week later
she listed more Chinese knockoffs, including an Arch quilt she
advertised as a "Mennonite Quilt." She
"guaranteed" it was "handstitched," adding that
"The Amish & Mennonites make the best Quilts in the
seller that same day, informing her that the quilt was a Chinese-made Arch
import. Seller responded
that she "knew where this one came from". I
assumed she had not seen the photos of the identical quilt on my Arch
webpage, so I emailed
them to her, along with two past
auctions for the same quilt by other
sellers. She did not correct her auction description.
forbids anyone other than the seller from contacting a bidder about a
current or past auction, bidders remained unaware they were bidding
not on a Mennonite original (which appreciates in value) but a
second-hand, factory-made quilt (which like all mass produced bedding,
loses its value). The high bidder ended up paying nearly three
times what Arch quilt retailed for when new, and at least ten times
more than what
used Arch quilts sell for on ebay.
days later the same seller listed
another of this same quilt,
exactly the same auction description (it sold for even more than the
first one). (See images from auction at right; click
same day, seller glock940
listed an identical quilt, calling it "handmade,"
"hand crafted" and "hand sewn" and saying
that "Someone did an awesome job making this quilt".
images from auction below; click to enlarge.)
A week after
that, an identical quilt was listed by gjwberg
- a seller with the integrity to state that she bought the quilt in
the 1990s at Marshall Fields. (See images from auction below
left - click to enlarge.) Pictured below right
is an identical quilt, with its Arch tag showing.
In July 2008
seller countyline91 emailed me to complain about appearing on
this page, but never pointed to any inaccuracy on it. She said she
bought three identical, brand-new Bethlehem Star quilts from
glock940. She expressed no regret for having misled bidders
into overpaying, claiming to see no similarity between her quilts and
the others pictured above.
A few hours
later she changed her ebay ID to goldenoak161 and listed
another Chinese knockoff (screenshot here)
as "vintage" "country" "handstitched"
quilt, which she further implies is homemade by stating it has
"machine binding". But photos show the quilt has no binding,
and is finished
with the "knife" edge common to Chinese knockoff quilts.
On July 31,
2008, seller goldenoak161 listed yet another Bethlehem Star
quilt identical to the others she had previously sold, once again
advertising it as a "Mint>Heirloom>Quality>Mennonite
Quilt": "The Amish & Mennonites make the best Quilts in
the world. If this is a reproduction of an antique pattern, the work
is Excellent...This is the last one I own. I have sold 2 others in the
same pattern, each a little different because they are quilted by
different people." (screenshot here)
On January 3,
2009, an individual with the email address email@example.com
attempted to jam my email box by sending me 123 emails with the
subject line "REMOVE YOUR LIBELOUS [sic] FROM YOUR
WEBSITE!!" but no text and nothing to identify the sender or what
s/he found objectionable on any of this site's 40+ pages. For a
statement to be libelous, it must be false, so I offered to discuss
any falsehood the sender wished to identify. The sender
responded that s/he had "nothing to discuss with" me, and
the emails stopped.
April 2009: On or about April 6, 2009 ebay
apparently suspended glock940's account, tagging that ID as
Registered User" ("NARU"). Although closed
auctions typically remain in ebay's database for 90 days, as of this
update all 137 of glock940's auctions (representing 6% of all
the listings in ebay's Antique Quilts category) had been removed from
the ebay database, including
those which closed less than 24 hours before. Ebay rules
bars suspended users from using an alternate ID to buy, sell, or
communicate with other members. By April 9, bubbaandsis was
and that ID's current
auctions were also abruptly ended and removed from the ebay
database. This suspension lasted about a week. Since these
sellers resumed listing around April 15, 2009, all their auctions have
been located in the Collectibles category.