What Are Friends For?

Ok... here's one to mull over...

Where do you draw the line between a "friend" and your own collecting/selling interests? Here's a story to clarify...

Last week at the Air & Space show, there was a dealer table with a few binders of signed items for sale. I was working the show, so I didn't have the opportunity to peruse the goods. A few hours into the show, a "friend" called me over to show me a Apollo 15 Crew photo signed by 2 of the 3 astronauts, one of whom is dead. The photo was inscribed "To Steve" and was priced at $140. As my name is Steve, this was an excellent opportunity for me.

The third astronaut, Dave Scott, was at the show and could have completed the item, but we didn't know how much he would want to complete it. After bringing it to my attention, my friend suggested that I go ask Dave Scott how much he wanted to complete it, and if the price was right, it would turn out to be quite a bargain.

I did that and learned Dave Scott would want $150 to complete it, bringing the total price for the crew photo to $290... about half the going rate for this signed crew photo. So I went back to the table that had the photo and learned that my friend had just bought the photo inscribed "To Steve."

I was not happy with him, and told him so. I asked him what kind of friend he was when he knew the crew photo was something I needed for my collection and it meant nothing to him other than an item to resell (as he is a dealer as well.) He swore up and down that it was for his collection and not for resale. Given his track record, I'd be a fool to think this item will not be re-sold soon.

So, it boils down to this: Do your friends come first or your collection? Would you pass up a bargain that you could resell for a profit if you knew a friend needed it, or is it everyman for himself when it comes to collecting? My sense is, that if you subscribe to the latter philosophy, you probably don't have many true friends.