The Christian Harp or What is a Shape Note Tune Book

If you saw this book at a library sale would you buy it?

Does this make you want to buy it even more?  It’s ok..

If you say no.. Don’t worry, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second glance either.

A friend of mine asked me to sell this for him.  I agreed to do it, but I was a little skeptical about it.

I’ve never see an song book sell for very much money.

Here’s my write up on it:

Up for auction is an antique book titled: The Christian’s Harp, Containing a Choice Selection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes suited to the various metres now in use among the different religious denominations in the United States: designed for the use Public and Family Worship by Samuel Wakefield, Esq.

  • This is in great condition, especially considering it’s age of 175 years.
  • Leather bound, and there is some wear around the edges of the cover, and a few marks on the front on the leather as well.
  • The previous owner wrote their name on the outside cover: The Property of Alexander Still, 1833.
  • The pages do have some discoloration and tanning – please view photos.
  • There is a bookplate on the inside cover that reads: The Property of: Alexander Still, 12th of July, 1833.  It has a preface, a chapter regarding the Rudiments of Music, and is full of musical scores and the words to the hymns.  This is copyright dated (entered into the act of Congress) 1832, published by Johnston & Stockton 37 Market St, Pittsburgh, 1832.

Here are some of the emails I received on the book:

  • Shape-note singing became popular in churches in the South in the  mid-1800’s. It was a way for congregations to more easily learn to sing and be able to sing in four-part harmony because it’s more visual.  Instead of having to know notes by where they fall on the staff, you can know what they are by the shape, making it easy for even illiterate people to be able to join in congregational singing. It is still used today.
  • Your book is a nice early example of a shape-note tune book and I’m sure there are people who regularly search for this and have it in saved searches. Contrary to the title, it has nothing to do with harp playing.
    It’s a nice piece of Americana.
  • I’ll give you $350.00 to end the auction now.
  • Nice book, do you know they are talking about it on the book boards?

The book sold for $580.00.  My friend was ecstatic, and the buyer was happy.

Which really when you sell for other people, that’s all that matters.

I did have one hitch with this shape note tune book.  The buyer asked me to use his FedEx number to send it to him.  I didn’t have any problem doing that.  I made sure I checked off  “signature required” and insured it for the full amount.  The buyer however, has on his account “signature on file” and they left it at the door and it was stolen/left with someone… etc..  I filed the proper paperwork with FedEx and the buyer left positive feedback.  BUT…

This could have gone completely wrong.  How you ask?  If the buyer would have notified PayPal.. and since there was not a signature confirmation on delivery of an item over $25o.00.. I would have been out the money and the item.  AND to top it off.. it wasn’t my item to begin with.

eBay Buyer Used the item and Now wants a Refund

Dear eBay Queen;
I sell just about anything I can get my hands on. I purchased some brand new sheets at a closeout store, and sold them on eBay. I copied all of the information from the back of the sheet package.
Today I received this message from the buyer:
“After washing and putting sheets on bed, I noticed that the pockets were 14 inches instead of 12 inches as stated on eBay. The reason l bought these was because of the 12 inch pocket. l have a linen closet full of ill fitting sheets, so was excited to find a pair that would fit my mattress.. Very disappointed in the elastic that goes around the fitted sheet. extremely lose… l will sleep with them on the bed tonight and see how they hug the bed, perhaps this can be rectified if they turn out not to my liking, very disappointed.”
I have these same sheets on my bed. The sheets fit fine for us. How should I handle this?
Jennifer; Topeka

Dear Jennifer;
I hope that you have a refund policy that covers items being washed and used then returned. This buyer could be a problem. I don’t know many stores that will let you use an item then return it, especially bedding.
If this were my transaction, I would email the buyer back saying this:
“I am very sorry the sheets are not what you expected. I do accept returns as long as they are in the condition I sent them to you in. Since you have washed them and are sleeping on them, I will not be able to accept these for a return. I have checked on the back of the package, and they said these sheets have a 12″ pocket as the eBay ad stated. Once again I am sorry these are not what you expected.”
After that email, I would wait and see what your buyer does next. She could file a dispute, which you will win, or leave a negative which you can respond to. If you want to avoid all of that, you can refund her money and have her send the sheets back or keep them.

Dear eBay Queen;
I sell was lucky enough to buy out a music store a few years ago, and I am finally getting around to list the items I bought. I have had pretty good success with the CD’s, sheet music and music books. My customers have been very kind up until now!
I sold a $14.99 Buy it Now Music Song Book tonight. The buyer paid right away, and he has 6 feedbacks. He sent a message to me immediately after his payment telling me that he studies vocal music in Los Angles and wants to know if I have any complimentary song books I can send him. Don’t you think that is weird? It is one thing to ask for a discount, another to ask for free stuff right?
I am anxious to know how you would handle this.
Freebie Queen

Dear Freebie;
My Grandma used to say “Sugar, it takes all kinds to make this big world go round”. I believe this is one of the people she was talking about. Do you have anything in your eBay ad that would lead this buyer to believe that you give gifts with a purchase?
You have a couple of options with this guy.
1.     You could send the item, and not respond to his question.
2.      Respond to his question by letting him know that you have lots of music books up for auction now, but do not have any that you could send to him complimentary.
3.     You could respond to his email, letting him know that you were once a college student, and understand his plight. You could then offer to send him one of your cheaper, low cost books this one time.
If this was my transaction I would probably email them to let them know I did not have anything I could send them complimentary, and wish them good fortune in their studies.
It’s pretty bold move on this guy’s part; asking for a free song book. You are not obligated to send him anything but what he paid for. Do not feel like you need to, but if the spirit leads you, by all means send him something.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item 220400875978 (enter this number in the eBay search box in the top right corner of the eBay homepage) Have you been looking for a Life Size Cow Statue? Check out this one SOLD $720