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“How NOT to ship beer steins and well almost anything!”



STILL     =

Shortly before Xmas 2010, this great saltglazed stoneware wine / beer pitcher was advertised on eBay. The big city’s California”s seller’s name has been changed to protect the innocent = “Me” as I have no doubt this  egocentric asshole would not stoop to suing me if I used his name, claiming some dumb ass notion like defamation of character even thought the whole thing was this idiot’s fault.

So let me just call him “Mr. Oldeboy” (as in “Good olde boy!”)

When the wine server didn’t sell for the asking price, I emailed the seller via eBay system and made a dollar offer that was accepted. I had had one not too great experience with this seller years ago, who accuse me of all thing of damaging a small German silver beaker by using the nationally known and used silver cleaner “Tarn-X.” The issue was resolved but the fact that this “California Antique Dealer” Mr. Oldeboy would say anything that goofy still confounded me.

None the less, I “jumped” into the pond again as this was a great piece that I had never seen one quite like it either in my reference books, or any of the drinking vessels catalogs, or at any museum.


Monumental Antique Blue Salt Glaze German Pitcher

Item condition: —

Price: US $1,870.00

Seller info      xxxxxxxxx’ed   out
Member id       xxxxxxxxx’ed   out

100% Positive feedback


Monumental antique blue salt glaze pitcher. It’s the largest one we’ve ever seen. It could also be used as a very large vase. It has a crowned coat of arms on both sides indicating it may have been a special commission piece joining two royal families or countries. The top of the pitcher has a sculptured head of a man with a long flowing mustache. This is a rare and unusual piece in very good condition. Height 26-1/2 inches, widest width from front to back of handle 13 inches, widest diameter 11-1/2 inches. Signed on the bottom of the base with a blue glaze mark.


————–  Additional Information for Bidders:
For any questions, or for more information on a specific item,  xxxxxxxxx’ed  out

We strive for 100% customer satisfaction.

NOW,  what is really is, is a wedding present, with the recipient‘s two family’s coat’s of arms shown on the applied roundels. He is correct they were royalty. Extremely large and probably unusable due to the weight, but decorative as hell!

This piece was made in the city of Raeren, Germany (not made in the “Westerwald.”) Circa 1600 (and quite likely before.) A 26.5 inch tall saltglazed stoneware wine / beer pitcher. Certainly never a damn vase!

For some brief  information on Raeren stoneware, see:

After conclusion of the email deal, [12 -9] I then wrote Mr. Oldeboy expressing my concerns of his proposed shipping this piece by using the United State Postal Service and even offered to pay more for another shipper! See below:

—– Original Message —–
From: Stephen L. Smith

Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2010 7:09 PM

Hello again,

Please do hold off shipping until after Christmas!!

And if it costs extra for UPS then I’d be happy to pay it.

The USPS service stinks here in Fairfax!!


His reply [12-9]

—– Original Message —–

To: ‘Stephen L. Smith’
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2010 4:11 PM

Thank you Steve,

I will email you the tracking number on Tuesday when I ship the pitcher.

Need to get some special big boxes to handle this shipment. No worries it will be fully insured

and I am an expert packer. It will arrive in perfect condition.

All the best .

Kind regards,






See the ‘nice new hole’ in the body, going all the way through?


So that day I sent Mr. Oldeboy this “endearing” email:

—– Original Message —–
From: Stephen L. Smith

Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 12:39 AM
Subject: Re: Shipment tracking number 0310 1230 0002 0592 2619


I am so mad I am sick.

The PO man put this on a dolly for me – I lifted it into my car’s trunk and used my dolly to get it inside my home.

I gently laid the box down on it’s side, opened it and when I slid it out this is what I got ! = see 003 first

There are only two surviving pieces – I think the other missing one was beat to dust. (A friend helped me find it later.)

Have you and your people never heard of double boxing and “bubble pack” ??

I don’t know who did your packing — but for some one to [a] put a 1/2 inch piece of Styrofoam on the bottom of a box hosting about a 80 pound ** piece of pottery and [b] just surround this piece with peanuts so it can slide about in the cardboard box while it goes 3,000 miles, that person should be taken out and fucking shot !

see photos 001 and 004 = As one can see the weight caused the piece to go completely through and squash the Styrofoam leaving the pottery beer server no option but to be broken every time it hit a hard surface!

That piece was hundreds of years old and now it is ruined due to someone’s stupidity!

I am sick!

Steve Smith


** Note: I was off on the weight of the package. It is only 30 pounds or so. It just felt that heavier to me when I was trying to get it o ut of the box, where of course it was stuck into the Styrofoam panels he had placed on the sides. [See photo] The left side panel of 5/8th inch thick Styrofoam came out of the box attached to the pitcher! Of note: The box was marked with “Fragile” stickers on all the sides and top, but NOT on the bottom.


Photo 001

Photo 004 The above photo shows the “totally flattened” piece of Styrofoam that was under the round base of the pitcher. The weight mashed it flat, and tore out a hole equal to the size of the base.


His reply to my perhaps “less than nice” email!:

—– Original Message —–

To: ‘Stephen L. Smith’
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 1:17 AM
Subject: RE: Shipment tracking number 0310 1230 0002 0592 2619

I will send you the original receipts to file for a broken piece damaged in transit. It is not supposed to be dropped and broken.

It was re-enforced with fiber tape and packed carefully. You won’t lose one cent on the transaction it was insured for the full value.

Will send you the original receipts needed to file your claim priority mail tomorrow.

They should make the handlers who drop and brake items like this responsible for the payment.

Maybe then they would be more careful. I doubt the pitcher weighed more than 35 pounds certainly not 80.

I am sorry they were so careless with this shipment.

That “was” (a) wonderful piece.**

Kind regards, MR. OLDEBOY

** [his words!]


Some of Steve’s reaction to the above email are  below: (and I did not send any of this to MR. OLDEBOY) = What would have been the sense in doing that [?];  he had already declared none of this was his fault!

“I am an expert packer.”

[1] how fast he became “not the expert packer”

” It will arrive in perfect condition.”

[2] How fast he forgot how he said it would get here

“They should make the handlers who drop and brake items like this responsible for the payment.

Maybe then they would be more careful.”

[3] See how fast he blames someone else! (He should have been a politician!)

“It was re-enforced with fiber tape……. and packed carefully”

[4] The tape that he refers to only made the paper box stronger. It did absolutely nothing to cushion the piece inside the box.

“… and packed carefully.”

[5] Obviously fxxxxxx not!

“You won’t lose one cent on the transaction it was insured for the full value.”

[6]  Now – I don’t care “one frigging thing” about the money. I am a collector and I wanted this piece in my collection… and I wanted it as it was; not damaged by some idiot who can’t think past his nose!


Now I’m not in any way telling or suggesting to anyone they should not deal with MR. OLDEBOY. I am just presenting the true facts, the true emails, and the true photos pertaining to the shipment of this pitcher.

As the title of this “S/O/S” page says– It is intended to show how antique drinking vessel’s packing SHOULD NOT BE DONE.

It is left to the reader to decide whether there is anything to be learned from this exchange. My hopes are such!


Below: Additional photos of the details on this great stoneware piece =  the before photos.




The base  = before!

[END – SOK – 09 -R5]



         You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice!



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