The Wanderlust Lady and the Door to Door Salesman - 14
September 10, 2012
Update on the progress of Mystery Hit and Run Victim
No one has been able to identify the old woman in Marple who was killed by a hit and run driver on August 31st. But progress has been made at least in terms of eliminating one avenue of investigation.
Many people reported seeing a woman answering to the description of the lady which we ran in the paper when she was first killed. They remembered seeing her in Marple Library – although none of them or any of the librarians knew her name. The officer in charge of the investigation decided to explore the information on the Stockport Library computer – which Marple Library is part of. They did a search on all women of 60 or older who were library card holders. They had to include areas other than Marple, as she might well have had an address in other areas and still have been using Marple Library. Then from this list of several thousand, they did another search on those who were frequent users (taking books out at least once a month) but who had not used the library service in any way since the 31st of August, the day on which she was killed. This brought the number down to 20. Officers were assigned to check into these 20 women, and found them all accounted for. Some were ill, some were on holiday, and some just hadn't fancied going to the library in the last month. But none of them were dead.
As far as the other part of the investigation – trying to track the vehicle which hit the old woman, there have been numerous reports from garages of white vans which have been taken in for service during this month. The vans were then tested by the police for traces of blood or DNA on the vehicle where the damage had been done. Again several had positive reports – some for animal blood and some for human – but none of them matched the blood of the victim. Of course there is no evidence that a white van was involved in this accident. But it would have been too difficult to test every car of every description that had gone in for repairs in the last few weeks. The police are still hopeful that someone will come forward who has not already done so - and will provide the necessary clues.
September 10, 2012
Monday dawned bright – too bright for me. I had such a head after my late night out. And those bloody birds. The old man next door seems to have an aviary or something – with bird houses and feeders all over the place.
But I had had a good time, and for awhile there I even thought I might score. But bringing a girl back here didn't seem like a good idea – even in my rather confused state last night. I'd gone off without the coat and hat costume, and hoped nobody would have noticed me coming back to the house at midnight. I had to leave earlier than I wanted – but needed to catch the last train back – or I would've been sleeping on a bench in Piccadilly Park.
I dragged myself out of bed, threw my old clothes on (I really will have to do some washing) and went out to the kitchen to boil the kettle. Nice bright sunny day today. Hopefully it would be a lucky day for me, with my money paid over by the bank – and good news with my list of sovereigns – and when I went to the library and checked on the computer to find out just how rich I was going to be.
I had wondered whether Minnie might have come back last night when I was out. She would have been surprised – finding somebody else's stuff around – and the picture down from the attic. But needless to say, she hadn't come back. And for all I knew, she was never coming back. I had to think positively.
This time when I let myself out at 10 a.m. (I knew the library didn't open till then on a Monday, having stood outside and read the message often enough while I was waiting for my lift.) I felt stupid wearing the rain coat and hat – with the sun shining. But people were used to Minnie looking odd and doing stupid things, I thought. And with the summer we'd had, people expected rain every day, (and often got it) no matter how sunny it started out.
Of course, once I got into Birch Crescent I put the coat and hat in my bag. I intended spending most of the day in the library, so it might well be raining when I came back home. But first port of call would be the cash machine outside the NatWest in the centre of town. I had a look at the various shops as I passed them – thinking there just might be an advert about some job or other. And I would ask somebody where the post office was, and make note of any jobs that were advertised there. Bar staff – kitchen help in a restaurant – gardening – I would do anything. And now that I knew I had a secret stache of valuables – which I could get rid of one by one as and when I needed to, I didn't worry overly much about what I would get paid. I'd go and sign on next Monday in Hyde. No point in not keeping up that source of money as well. If the government are dumb enough to provide a regular kitty, who am I to turn my back on it.
I put my pin number in the machine, and bingo – out came five crisp £10 notes. It left the account virtually empty – but it saved me making this trip again. I'd have to ration this money for a week, but generally speaking, I wasn't a big spender. It would give me £7 a day for food, but I'd better keep a bit back, so that I'd have my bus fare to Hyde for when I had to sign on. I spent nearly all Minnie's money last night. But that was an exception – it wasn't my money – so it didn't really count. Before going to the library, I bought a sandwich at the Co-op. I'd like a drink too, I thought, and then in future, I can fill the empty bottle with water and make do with that for drinks during the day. So I picked up a large bottle of coke. The total was nearly a fiver. Maybe I should make my sandwich and bring that with me too. I had bread and cheese at home. I put the food in a bag, and walked the small distance to the library.
“Okay if I use a computer?” I said to the woman at the desk, with a smile.
“Do you have your pin number?”
“Yes, I kept a copy from when I used it last week,” I said.
“Use any of them you want. We don't get many people in on a Monday, so stay as along as you like.”
I was pleased that she hadn't even asked my name. Tomorrow I'd not ask – just go straight up and see if anybody worried about my being there. I picked the machine I'd used last week, as I knew it had worked okay, and didn't like risking a different one.
Once I'd successfully logged on, I got out my list of coins – and decided I would put in “Sovereign” and the date on a search and just see what came up.
I found the profusion of information rather hard to deal with. First of all, most of the items dealt with buying sovereigns rather than selling them. I did find one entry where it said somebody would buy your coin for about £250 – but in another advert, it talked about you being able to buy the same coin for £385. That is a huge mark up for the seller.
The people who want to buy gold are very cagey. They provide their phone number, and say they want to deal with all of whatever you are selling to give you the best price – and that they will match anyone else's offer – but they won't put on line the sorts of amounts of money they're talking about. I suppose the price of gold goes up and down each day – so that isn't surprising.
I looked to see what sorts of amounts were being got by private sellers on Ebay. One of my type coins (Jubilee 1890) was in the process of making $452 – and there were still 10 days to go on the auction. Others were more around the $400 mark – and the Queen Elizabeth more modern ones were $390.
Actually I had been surprised that the value of the coins when you are buying them are not much influenced by date. The modern coins in mint condition cost as much as the Victorian ones. There were the odd few dates that commanded a slightly larger price – an extra £5-10 – but nothing in my collection came into the area of being rare and exceptionally valuable. That was a disappointment for me – but even so, I was getting this money for very little effort, so shouldn't be greedy.
The half-sovereigns specifically mentioned were about £145 - down to £130 depending on condition. I was sure mine were top quality condition – so might be worth a bit more – but I didn't think they would be all that much more. So the half-sovereigns were not worth half the value of the sovereigns as I'd hoped they'd be. But still, worth a lot more than I'd ever dreamed.
Now the question came down to whether I would do better by selling the coins on Ebay – and dealing with them privately – or sending them in a special little bag that is provided for you – to a company that buys gold. First of all, I needed to convert $452 to pounds.
I used the computer to find a converter and the answer was £290. That's a lot better than the £250 that I found mentioned on one buying website.
I put down on the paper: 21 X 290 = 6090
21 x 140 = 2940
6090 + 2940 = 9030
Wow. £9000 plus pounds. I'd have a little expense to take out of it – like padded bags, and the postage costs, but I would add that in to what I charged the customers. I found out that Ebay doesn't charge customers who buy from them, but they do charge those who sell with them. £2 is the insertion fee, and then 11.0% of the initial $50.00, plus 6.0% of the remaining balance. So taking a round number like £300, if I was selling something for that, I'd pay £22.50 overall. If I sold them one at a time, I'd make £277.50. It was still £27 more than the amount I was working from for going through a gold dealer.
Next I needed to find out what I would have to do to sell things on Ebay. So I spent another half hour or so reading up on how Ebay worked.
I would have to provide a bank account number or a credit card. I don't have a credit card – but I do have a bank account and a debit card – so I could use that. One problem was my address – as the one I'd given for my bank account was that room in Hyde where I no longer live. Did I dare give Minnie's address? Why not? I would tell people that I was her lodger. And maybe if I made it clear to the neighbours that that was what I was, I wouldn't have to disguise myself any more – or only occasionally. Maybe if I trimmed the hedge in the front yard one day – and commented to anybody I saw walk by that I was the new lodger – then the message would get around.
I should research my product – finding out how others describe their coins, and what details they provide.
I spent the next hour going through lots and lots of Ebay ads for sovereigns, and found that most of them did it on a bidding basis – where the seller puts a time limit for taking bids – and a minimum amount for each new acceptable bid. I supposed there must be an amount that I could stipulate that I wouldn't sell it for less than. Most people seemed to provide postage, but one person put an extra £5 for postage. And another one said that the item had to be collected in person. Most people were prepared to consider returns, but some said, no returns. And one dealer was selling multiple coins – but one at a time, and it wasn't on a timer. He had what was called a “private listing”. That probably cost him more in commission. One of the items had only minutes to run, so I decided I would go back and see what happened when the time was up.
When the time ran out – a sold sign came over the item, and the sold price was shown. Most of the prices for sovereigns were less than the £290 I was expecting for mine, but then again, from the pictures, they looked worn so no wonder.
Having done all I could for the moment, I shut down the computer, had a quick look for jobs in the local papers (and didn't find any worth noting) and left the library to eat my sandwich and drink my coke in the park.