Ebay again, seems to never end.

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Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby Jagdmann » Aug 31, 2008 8:35 pm

This stalagmite ends in less than an hour although ebay has been contacted several times by several folks concerned. The kicker in this one is that the seller claims to be a caver, but they didn't personally vandalize the cave it came out of so it's OK if they make a buck on it... :shrug:
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Aug 31, 2008 11:11 pm

rptyd wrote:This stalagmite ends in less than an hour although ebay has been contacted several times by several folks concerned. The kicker in this one is that the seller claims to be a caver, but they didn't personally vandalize the cave it came out of so it's OK if they make a buck on it... :shrug:

Gee if I had that "caver's" morals then I'd be flippin rich by now from all the broken, lying on the floor speleothems that I could've carried out of every cave I visited in the last 30 something years. (sarcasm)...
No, it's definitely NOT okay to do this because it just encourages others to go ahead and do it themselves.
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby Mike Hood » Sep 1, 2008 8:04 am

I can understand non-cavers selling formations out of ignorance, but someone who claims to be a caver should know better! :bleep: :bash:
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby batrotter » Sep 1, 2008 3:13 pm

With the nice straight bottom, it looks as though it has been sawed off? That defintely raises the suspicion meter?
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby Jagdmann » Sep 1, 2008 4:49 pm

There was actually several angles presented for a presentation of the sale. The bottom has very distinct, circular blade impression. Another individual had a beautiful formation up for sale from an estate that she was getting rid of. She had a 100% positive feedback so I contacted her and kindly asked her to check the banned item list and explained the problem with encouraging other folks and she came back w/ a really sweet reply and removed it 2 days ago. I love people like that.(Hell, she wasn't even a caver!) ..... :big grin:
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby Teresa » Sep 1, 2008 8:24 pm

batrotter wrote:With the nice straight bottom, it looks as though it has been sawed off? That defintely raises the suspicion meter?


Huh? What's suspicious? That the person has a silica carbide rock saw, (not usually taken into caves, because they are rarely portable, but no, they aren't illegal by any means-- it's the usual method for a lapidary to cut slabs or open geodes) or that the stal was shaped afterwards to be a paperweight or bookend? Such paperweights/bookends were quite common for sale at showcaves up to the mid-1960s.

I just looked up stalactite and stalagmite on Ebay. Of the 24 items IDed as stalagmites, only 4 are actually what cavers would normally call a stalagmite, and only 1 is IDed as from a cave in the US. Of the 42 items IDed as stalactites, 9 are what we would call stal (not all stalactites) none from US caves.

Alledged cave formations taken from mines or 'vugs' in the US are not protected. Cave formations taken from places outside the US are not protected by US law. Ebay seems to be doing its job in vetting the overwhelming majority of rocks put up for sale under those two names. To be classed as a protected item, a cave formation has to either be stolen property, or taken from a cave without the owner's permission in the US where a cave law is in effect, and the owner doesn't have the written permission to possess the item. This includes items taken without written permission from federal and state lands where laws apply.

Keep up the good work, but know what you ID before you start in on Ebay.
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby batrotter » Sep 2, 2008 4:40 am

Teresa wrote:
batrotter wrote:With the nice straight bottom, it looks as though it has been sawed off? That defintely raises the suspicion meter?


Huh? What's suspicious? That the person has a silica carbide rock saw,


Well duh! The only thing I meant by suspicious was that it appeared as though the formation was sawed off rather than accidentally broken. Yea, you would probably use a saw for such a nice straight cut.
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Sep 2, 2008 8:46 am

rptyd wrote:There was actually several angles presented for a presentation of the sale. The bottom has very distinct, circular blade impression. Another individual had a beautiful formation up for sale from an estate that she was getting rid of.
Sounds like a formation that's been handed down or bought by another and saved until they themselves died and now passing it on so t'wasn't her idea but trying to get rid of it... but yeah, it's great that she removed the item anyway... wonders what she'll do with it?
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby Teresa » Sep 2, 2008 10:38 am

batrotter wrote:
Teresa wrote:
batrotter wrote:With the nice straight bottom, it looks as though it has been sawed off? That defintely raises the suspicion meter?


Huh? What's suspicious? That the person has a silica carbide rock saw,


Well duh! The only thing I meant by suspicious was that it appeared as though the formation was sawed off rather than accidentally broken. Yea, you would probably use a saw for such a nice straight cut.


Sawing rock (even limestone) takes more time and makes more noise than you might think, and requires lubrication (oil or water) to keep the heat down and from shattering the stone, even if you are using a diamond saw. There are a number of ways to 'saw' stone in a quarry, but most are not conducive for use in a cave.

Most stone to be finished is broken out of the ground by one method or another (including diesel and wire knives) and finished with saws and grinders elsewhere. So I don't find the fact that the stal has a sawn face at all suspicious, except that someone wanted a specimen that would stand without wobbling. In fact, it is much easier to break off a rock, and saw it later, than to saw it in place. The only people I know who saw in place are paleontologists and fossil collectors, who have to remove specimens in matrix, either for preservation or aesthetic reasons.

I'm against people stealing cave rocks as much as any caver. I think it's much better to look at them in place. Many rock collectors share my opinion, especially after you show them glitter in a cave versus the dull, flaky reality of calcite stal which have been out of caves for even as few as five years. But this is a complex issue; the reason I keep commenting on these topics is to get people to think and investigate for themselves, not just to knee-jerk react to what they think they know.
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby wyandottecaver » Sep 2, 2008 5:27 pm

So long as something is desirable people will want it and other people will get it legal or not. I do think we get over worked up sometimes regarding the possesion and sale of speleothem material. I may be in the minority here, but in the last analysis it's a rock. It's primary value is in our aesthetic appreciation of it (or lack thereof in damaged caves). They *generally* are insignificant from a biological, hydrological, historical, or ecological standpoint to the cave. But just as important, as Teresa said, we also have a habit of pouncing on Ebay or other sellers even when they are within the law. Unfortunately I suspect caver trespassing has probably hurt the practical aspects of caves and caving more profoundly and more widely than spelothem harvesting but in most cases we as a community turn a blind eye when the trip reports or pictures from closed caves surface.
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby Jagdmann » Sep 6, 2008 11:38 am

Quote:(I just looked up stalactite and stalagmite on Ebay. Of the 24 items IDed as stalagmites, only 4 are actually what cavers would normally call a stalagmite, and only 1 is IDed as from a cave in the US. Of the 42 items IDed as stalactites, 9 are what we would call stal (not all stalactites) none from US caves.

Alledged cave formations taken from mines or 'vugs' in the US are not protected. Cave formations taken from places outside the US are not protected by US law. Ebay seems to be doing its job in vetting the overwhelming majority of rocks put up for sale under those two names. To be classed as a protected item, a cave formation has to either be stolen property, or taken from a cave without the owner's permission in the US where a cave law is in effect, and the owner doesn't have the written permission to possess the item. This includes items taken without written permission from federal and state lands where laws apply.

Keep up the good work, but know what you ID before you start in on Ebay.)

(NEW YORK)

)"SUPER RARE and HARD-TO-GET vintage CAVE FORMATION 14-1/4 inch tall STALAGMITE, a type of SPELEOTHEM that forms on cavern floors, under the STALACTITES which hang from the ceiling above -- eventually they may join to form a column. I am an experienced caver and have been thru many of the caves in the Albany/Hudson/Schoharie region of New York State. I know there are hardly any formations of this size to be found, accept in the largest of caverns. Speleothems are formed by minerals slowly deposited by dripping/flowing water OVER THOUSANDS OF YEARS -- they grow about 1mm per year -- and so IT REALLY SUCKS TO REMOVE THEM. However, I am not responsible for removing this formation -- or any other, for that matter. Someone else did the damage, I found it at a yard sale, and here it is for auction. I have no eye deer where THIS STALAGMITE came from. It seems to be made of your basic CALCIUM CARBONATE. There's some evidence of internal CALCITE CRYSTALS visible along bottom edge where the formation was cut. Has some external encrustation -- dark and light -- of who knows what. A few cracks appear; all seem old and stable (no signs of breaking/gluing). One tiny chip has come off side, where a number of cracks intersect. Thin layers of growth/deposit are visible at the concave drip sight at very top. Lots of very intersting, subtile and translucent colors: whites, pinks, greys, some dark veins, &c... Measures roughly 5 x 9 inches across base. Unpacked, the stalagmite weighs 25 pounds.

Please see all the photos. CLICK on any image to SUPERSIZE for viewing DETAIL.

SHIPPING by FEDEX HOME DELIVERY. You MUST provide a RESIDENTIAL or BUSINESS delivery address NO P.O. BOXes or &c... (please read below).

ANY QUESTIONS?

Please ask BEFORE BIDDING. I'll respond as quickly as possible"


EBAY POLICIES-(Prohibited and restricted items ― What items can and cannot be listed. eBay’s restrictions are often based on country and state laws, including copyright or trademark laws.=== "However, many restrictions involve the sale of controversial or sensitive items and are not necessarily prohibited by law."=== The limitations are a result of input by the eBay Community. Before you list your item, it is a good idea to review eBay's Prohibited and Restricted items policy to see if it is on the list of what may not be sold on eBay.)

Artifacts, cave formations (speleothems, stalactites, and stalagmites) and grave-related items that are protected under federal laws, such as The Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988, and the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act are not permitted on eBay.

Please follow the general guidelines in the ”Some Examples” section when listing related items on eBay.

Violations of this policy may result in a range of actions, including.



Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988/Section 7-Sec. 7. PROHIBITED ACTS AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES.

(a) PROHIBITED ACTS.—

(1) Any person who, without prior authorization from the Secretary, knowingly destroys, disturbs, defaces, mars, alters, removes or harms any significant cave or alters the free movement of any animal or plant life into or out of any significant cave located on Federal lands, or enters a significant cave with the intention of committing any act described in this paragraph shall be punished in accordance with subsection (b).

(2) Any person who possesses, consumes, sells, barters or exchanges, or offers for sale, barter or exchange, any cave resource from a significant cave with knowledge or reason to know that such resource was removed from a significant cave located on Federal lands shall be punished in accordance with subsection (b).

(3) Any person who counsels, procures, solicits, or employs any other person to violate any provisions of this subsection shall be punished in accordance with subsection (b).

(4) Nothing in this section shall be deemed applicable to any person who was in lawful possession of a cave resource from a significant cave prior to the date of enactment of this Act.

(b) PUNISHMENT.—The punishment for violating any provision of subsection (a) shall be imprisonment of not more than one year or a fine in accordance with the applicable provisions of title 18 of the United States Code, or both. In the case of a second or subsequent violation, the punishment shall be imprisonment of not more than 3 years or a fine in accordance with the applicable provisions of title 18 of the United States Code, or both.

*

Listing cancellation
*

Limits on account privileges
*

Account suspension
*

Forfeit of eBay fees on cancelled listings
*

Loss of PowerSeller status


NOTE: Because of the inability to differentiate the acquisition location of every speleothem in the US, Ebay usually honors their own selling and prohibited items policy. It is not always because of legal issues but because of the sensitive and controversial nature of certain items. Also, I didn't target any non- US seller. :cave softly:
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby Teresa » Sep 6, 2008 4:47 pm

Federal Cave Resources Protection Act only applies to stal removed without permission from some FEDERAL lands... Dept. of Defense lands are exempt, as are tribal lands, and a number of others.. Only lands controlled by Dept. of Interior and Agriculture are specifically included.

If the seller isn't claiming it came from affected lands, the law does not apply, and the item isn't prohibited.
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby KD5NRH » Sep 7, 2008 5:39 am

This does raise an interesting question for me, though; what happens to formations that are legitimately removed, i.e. from show caves for trail building and such? I would assume that, for the most part, they go to museums and research institutions for study or display, but it seems like there would have to be a lot of stuff removed from large show caves to put in their trails...likely more than would be practical to divide into small samples and donate.
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby ArCaver » Sep 7, 2008 7:59 pm

KD5NRH wrote:This does raise an interesting question for me, though; what happens to formations that are legitimately removed, i.e. from show caves for trail building and such? I would assume that, for the most part, they go to museums and research institutions for study or display, but it seems like there would have to be a lot of stuff removed from large show caves to put in their trails...likely more than would be practical to divide into small samples and donate.


It all depends on the owners wishes. I've seen them used for "education" (letting children handle them), for display, and I once found a large stalactite in the weeds behind a tool shed. Most likely many have been sold in gift shops over the years. I think I remember reading that Floyd Collins would break off pieces and give them to tourists in Crystal Cave. Things change.
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Re: Ebay again, seems to never end.

Postby Teresa » Sep 7, 2008 9:53 pm

As recently as the 1990s, I know of one show cave developer who simply gave the pieces away to visitors. He thought of it as a good thing-- like kittens to a good home. Mind you, this was from a section of the cave where a belly to hands and knees slot crawl separate two magnificent rooms, and mining had occurred previously in the cave, so it wasn't exactly pristine. Since he was developing the cave for a tour route (to state show cave height standards, which is some number between 4.5 to 5 feet-- I'm 5' 3" and have had to duck on show cave routes--) he wasn't trashing the pretty parts, but just bringing the route up to code to open.

It's pretty interesting what happened in Fisher Cave in Missouri-- when trails were built in the late 1920s to early 30s, broken stal were laid lengthwise,like a puncheon floor to stabilize the mud beneath the trail. Also, stal are sometime just moved off-trail, out of sight, and dumped. The folks doing the Fisher restoration have found something like 600 pieces still in the cave, not all of which seem to have originated there.

And that's the most interesting of all-- we've got a couple of caves where stal were transplanted: relatively uninteresting on-trail parts of show caves were decorated with stal from either nearby wild caves, other caves the owner owned, or off trail sections. Sometimes, stalactites were placed upside down as stalagmites, and 98% of the visitors were none the wiser.
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