Saturday, August 2, 2014

Checking in & out with Harry Ritz & Family

By Steve Crum

Several years before I sold the bulk of my large autograph collection at huge loss to a rip off dealer in Los Angeles (but that’s another story), I was parceling out pieces of it on eBay. One of those pieces was a cancelled check signed by the late Harry Ritz of Ritz Brothers fame. 

I had originally purchased it via an eBay auction a couple of years before that, and hoped to make a profit in its resale. But before the week-long auction ended, a roadblock appeared. I received a private eBay inquiry asking for information about the item. It was from the Harry Ritz’s daughter, and she had a question from her mother, Naomi, Harry’s widow. Somehow the word got to them about the Ritz check. 

Anyway, the tone of the daughter’s question put me ill at ease. “Where did you get that check? It’s my father’s, and my mother wants to know.” I must say that I was visibly shaking, while thoughts about a lawsuit for selling someone’s bank check, albeit cancelled, loomed. And this someone was high profile. 

I really thought her inquiry was step 1 of being sued. I double checked eBay’s rules and found nothing prohibitive about selling a cancelled check. If so, eBay would be just as guilty as I for allowing me to post it.

I responded, via eBay, that I had purchased the check by eBay auction a couple of years before. The next day, I received a response to my response…from Harry’s widow.

“That is Harry’s signature and his check,” she said. “I was just curious as to how you got it. Thank you,  Naomi Ritz.” Whew, not even the hint of any legal action. 

End of inquiry. Soon end of auction…selling Harry’s cancelled check for $30. 

But the value of having interacted with the Ritz Family is priceless.

No comments:

Post a Comment