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My Conversation With Jc Devine


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#1 45fan

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 01:34 AM

Hello everyone. I guess I've sort of gotten my cart ahead of my horse posting here previously. I should introduce myself:
My name is Sam, and I'm a (recovering) J.C. Devine bidder.
(everyone) "Hi Sam!" (Sincere apologies to anyone who has/is going through a real 12 step program.)

Anyway, I live in the same little town in Ark. as boardmember John Jr. We have been good friends for many, many years. After being FORCED to shoot John's '28 Savage a number of times, I am now looking for a Thompson to call my own. A curse be upon him! dry.gif I'm mostly a lurker on discussion boards so you all will probably not hear much out of me unless I think I have something of value to add to the discussion. I have enjoyed reading about the topics here and even participated in the Thompson chat Sunday before last which was a lot of fun.

The Auction
For a number of reasons I won't get into here, I'm primarily looking for a Savage 1928 or '28A1 for my first Thompson. Lot no. 78, a Savage "Tommy Gun" marked tsmg caught my eye. I made arrangements to bid by phone including sending a rather hefty deposit in order to establish credit as a first time bidder with JCD. Devine's phone bidder called Sun. morning at about the time that no. 75 was being auctioned. He didn't have any instructions or anything so I asked how he expected to handle it when no. 78 rolled around. He told me he would keep me abreast of the bid and I would simply tell him what I wanted to do. Simple enough, I thought. To make a long story short, my experience virtually mirrors that of TD and rsilvers (except that I didn't buy anything). The auction was over with in about 15 seconds, if that long. My bidder didn't even advise me that it had started and when he did, he couldn't seem to decide just where the bid was at that moment. I was eventually reduced to yelling numbers at him and demanding responses.

For example:

Me: (yelling) Bid me at 9(thousand) . . .
Me: Well, did you bid?
Me: What is the bid now? (still yelling)
Bidder: Uhhh, do what?
Bidder: Uhhh, no I didn't get your bid . . . you want to bid 9? It's at 10 now.
Me: Ok, bid 10!
Bidder: Uhh, I think it's at 10.5 . . .
Me: Ok!
Bidder: What?
Me: Ok, bid 10.5!!!
Bidder: Oh, did you want to bid? It's gone.

mad.gif You get the idea.

It's hard to type this dialogue but I wanted you all to have some idea what it was like. And yes, I did bid $10.5 on that gun and it sold for $10K because my bidder failed to get it to the auctioneer.

I've read many of the posts here in recent days about this auction. I appreciate some of the sentiments expressed here and the calls to action. Personally, I don't wish to pursue this any further at all. I have no idea whether the problems encountered were due to an almost amazing ineptitude on the part of the phone bidders or whether there's something more sinister at work as has been suggested in some posts here, or something else. I really don't care either. I'm not angry. I don't feel cheated. I'm just very disappointed with the whole experience and I will never have anything to do with JCD, Inc. again for reasons that you will soon learn. I called JCD Monday morning following the auction and spoke with JC Devine himself. Below is our conversation taken from my post last Monday which I wrote with it still fresh on my mind . . . and then deleted in an abundance of caution.

**********

I bid in the (not so) Devine auction yesterday, with particular interest in item no. 78--Savage M1928A1. I had the same difficulty discussed herein above in following the bids and in getting my own bids submitted. This was my first Devine auction, but I have participated in a number of auctions in the past both by phone and in person. I have never, ever had an experience like I had yesterday.

I phoned J.C. Devine, Inc. this morning (Mon. March 8) and spoke with Mr. Joe C. Devine himself. I politely explained the difficulty I had yesterday. I related some of the details of my futile attempts to bid on the tsmg. I also inquired, in light of the discussion on this thread {the original Devine thread}, as to who exactly won auction no. 78 since I was unsure whether it might have in fact been me. I was told that it was won by a bidder on the floor for $10K. No problem. Mr. Devine did most of the talking to say the least. He proceeded to tell me of his vast knowledge of almost all things, including but not limited to consumers of several nationalities (U.S., German, Belgian are two that I recall). He told me of his education experience--Boston College in case any of you are wondering. He asked what I would have bid on the gun (maximum). After telling him that I had envisioned having to go as high as $12-$14K, he informed me that, "as auctioneers we aren't interested in getting the last penny." I also mentioned that I knew of at least two other bidders who had had similar problems bidding yesterday (with the thought that as a business owner he would appreciate such information) and was told, "I did believe you before, but now you're telling me that all three of you guys had trouble? I don't believe you. Goodbye." And he hung up on me.

I know you're wondering . . . yep, I couldn't resist. I called back. Still maintaining a polite and civil tone, I explained that there was no need for him to hang up on me. I had simply called for two reasons: to learn whether I had indeed bought no. 78 or not, and to let him know of the problems encountered yesterday in the interest of being helpful to him.

Here's where it REALLY gets interesting.
Mr. Devine informed me that me and "my buddies" were just mad that we didn't buy these guns. And as far as he was concerned, "FUCK 'EM!" His words, not mine. I apologize for the obscenity.

It is not my wish to discredit the JCD auction house. All of the above happened but a few minutes ago exactly as I have described it. I felt sure that some of the board members would be interested. I know that speaking with Mr. Devine surely was an enlightening experience for me. Sorry my post ran so long.

**********

Well, there it is for what it's worth. And I am again sorry this post ran even longer.

Sam

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#2 colt21a

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 01:53 AM

WOW a real class act.........and people say i'm strange........i am glad i am out of the thompson bizz.........it gets stranger everyday........and life is too short..............
good luck sam in the next deal...............Ron

and thanks for the info............
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#3 Walter63a

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 02:18 AM

As I wrote in the other thread, "I won't deal with J.C.Devine." The Thompson world is too big to be concerned with them. Thompsons can be purchased at, generally, more reasonable rates, and from more competent and gracious people. smile.gif biggrin.gif laugh.gif cool.gif Regards, Walter
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#4 Fencer

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 06:03 AM

Well.. There.. You.. Go.. huh.gif

JCDevine... we put the F in professional. biggrin.gif

I would have waited to get my money back before posting that as well.
Someone of that caliber, would make me nervous having a large sum of
my money.


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#5 Fencer

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 07:02 AM

Anyone who wishes to file a complaint about the JC Devine March 7, 2004
auction can do so through the State Board of Auctioneers, in New Hampshire.

Their ethical code and how to file a complaint can be found at
New Hamphire State Board of Auctioneers Link

Good Luck
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#6 rsilvers

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 12:39 PM

Once again, I did not real PhilOhios entire post (too long for me) but all you have to go on is:

One guy is unhappy because he was willing to bid more than the item sold for. So Device earned LESS commission than possible.

This is, let's say, not a strong case.

Is Joe Denive a little gruff on the phone? It would seem so. John seemed very nice when I met him.
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#7 21 smoker

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 01:20 PM

So much about this unique NFA community is about TRUST...It can`t be bought...you earn it or you don`t...no offense rsilver,you did well...but I wouldn`t touch devine with a 10ft.pole.This whole affair just smells bad...I`ve been involved in alot of gun deals,probably more than most here,except maybe the longtime dealers,and based on this thread will never buy from him,out. wink.gif
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#8 John Jr

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 03:17 PM

What irritates me the most about this was the poor seller got screwed. My Thompson is not for sale, and I don't forsee that it ever will be, however potential sellers should know what this guy thinks regarding the sale of firearms at his auction.

The gun that Sam wanted was similar to mine. The seller got a mere $8,000 after paying devines outrageous fee. This auction service brings NO ADDED VALUE to selling a Thompson.

Jr
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#9 Mike Hammer

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 03:50 PM

Incompetence, simple incompetence, it abounds....it's everywhere nowadays. If the seller knew how poorly the auction of his item was handled, HE would be the one taking action against Devine. I hope the seller does find out, but as for this auction, it sounds like a done deal. sad.gif

Mike Hammer
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#10 rsilvers

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 04:00 PM

We know a few things:

1. Devine could have gotten higher prices if they milked them a little more.
2. Even though some of us wrote in higher prices on our mail-in bid forms, Devine did not seem to use that against us and we often got the guns for less. So they did not do anything like use inside information.
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#11 Fencer

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 04:11 PM

Rsilvers,

I would think that you, as a current and future purchaser of NFA weapons, would want to
relay your experiences to the proper people. At the least don't you think you should let
Mr. Devine know that his phone staff are, well incompetant is probally to harsh,
"less than able" to relay the proper information.

What was the hurry at this auction? The world was not scheduled to end? Could they
have not taken some time to get things relayed to the people who are willing to pay
the big bucks?


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#12 john

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 05:05 PM

Hmmmmmmm.....

J.C. Devine
J.C. Earl

Seems to me that (according to stories I've heard)
Earl considered himself "Divine"??


Anyone believe in reincarnation????? unsure.gif

john
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#13 rsilvers

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 05:18 PM

I learned from it that if you want to be sure, you have to go there. Short of that, you are leaving more to chance.

I have not done other auctions so I am not sure they are incompetent. I do know that I probably helped myself by telling them upfront to bid high amounts and not ask questions and wait for answers. It did not seem like there was time to ask a question.
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#14 kyle

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 07:16 PM

QUOTE (rsilvers @ Mar 16 2004, 04:00 PM)
We know a few things:

1. Devine could have gotten higher prices if they milked them a little more.

Ah... Robert, you must think like a criminal to see the angle. I'm referring to lot 78, the Savage 28. Reportedly, someone on the floor bought it for $10k. Others were trying to bid more but were shut out.

Just for the sake of argument, let's assume the fair price of the gun was $14k. What if the floor "buyer" was actually in cahoots with Devine. Their "team" buys the gun for $10k. The seller pays a 20% consignment fee of $2k. The buyer's premium is meaningless since the buyer is actually the auction house. So now they've bought a $14k gun for a net $8k. $6k is a hell of a commission.

Again, ths is all hypothetical and I have no proof that any of this happened. I'm just playing a little "what if..." with you.

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#15 21 smoker

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 07:23 PM

Kyle,... Good point!
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#16 full auto 45

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 09:47 PM

Go back and write down the serial numbers they had listed. When it comes up for sale in a couple of months at the next auction...then you nail 'em. All the numbers were listed on the site if I remember right.
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#17 TD.

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 09:54 PM

I think we all owe Sam a debt of gratitude for his willingness to share his experience at the last JC Devine auction. Of all the posts I have read about this auction, it is obvious Sam, Robert and I were involved with the auction using phone bidders. Yes, it was fast - you really had to experience how fast they sold these Thompsons to believe it. And yes, the communication was terrible. Actually, almost non-existent in Sam’s case and mine! I too would have bid more on several of the items - but I was never provided the opportunity because my phone bidder could not tell me what the current bid was so I would at least have the courtesy to know how much I was bidding. These auctions were over in 15 seconds or less. Robert certainly had the best plan for this auction: allow your phone bidder to bid all they could in the time allowed. It worked. Robert bought three Thompsons and did not know how much money he spent. I don't bid that way. I like to know how much I am bidding. Again Sam, thanks for the post. It was so nice of you to allow Joe Devine the opportunity to showcase how he promotes customer service and satisfaction. biggrin.gif
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#18 JimFromFL

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 10:06 PM

Sounds like an interesting phone conversation.... too bad you didn't get a recording.

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#19 John Jr

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 12:54 AM

There is no good reason that this auction went the way it did.

Why is it so hard to clear the phone bidders prior to selling to a floor bidder? IF the phone bidders knew what they were doing, they could have called the buyers and laid down the rules. Such as:

"If you want to bid say "BID ME AT $X""
"If you want to know the current bid say" current bid please? "
The phone bidder should say "This auction is closing, the current bid is $X and you will need to bid $X, would you like to bid?

When the auctioneer says going once,... going twice ANY BIDDER SHOULD HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE ANOTHER BID. Including phone bidders.

None of this happened. For a man to have been in the auction business since 1975 he should have made sure the phone bidders were clear and there were no more bids from them as well as the floor before slamming the gavel down and closing the auction. He owes this to the seller (or should).

QUOTE
we aren't interested in getting the last penny."


No kidding! Really?

He should have been quoted saying "we aren't interested in getting the last several thousand dollars."

I guess after all I was right in saying the seller gets half of what the gun is worth in a JC devine auction. The gun in question is worth at least 16k.

John Jr
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#20 John Jr

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 01:03 AM

One more thing taken from the JCD site

QUOTE
Are you planning to sell your gun, blade or Militaria collection, in its entirety or in part? Our firearms auctions include a huge variety of collectibles, everything from Civil War weapons to machine guns, Colt firearms to every kind of Winchester rifle, Japanese swords, or German Militaria. If you have an estate gun collection , or only one gun for sale, consider letting us sell it in one of our gun auctions.

We are dedicated to getting the best prices for our consignors and have set many records. We are ready to handle consignments of any size, from a single piece to large collections, with careful attention to our customers' needs.


WHATEVER JC DEVINE!
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