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The Elizabeth Gardner Treasure Trove


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So I doubt anyone’s forgotten the Gardner lot that was up a month back, and there was a glitch that seems to have been an eBay glitch (no other connections in my house had issues) that resulted in an error instead of a bid. I contacted the seller in case the high bidder didn’t pay (we all see things go back up when winners don’t pay), but didn’t state what I was willing to pay because, if the high bidder backed out, I didn’t want to be told I coud have it for what I was wiling to pay of I could get it for the high bidder’s bid.  Long story short, high-dollar sale meant Paypal was going to hold funds, buyer and seller decided to cancel it, it was offered to me, but on the condition of a local pickup to try to eliminate payment processor issues.  I couldn’t go to New York.  So that was sad, and I just had to hope that whoever got it was in the market to flip it.  My info went with it.  And by a miracle, I was contacted again, but also in-person sale only.  I talked with the seller on the phone a few times, who said he felt it was supposed to be with me.  When talking price, he wasn’t willing to take as much as I was willing to pay.  That stunned me.  The issue was just in-person sale, which I found out from someone highly regarded in this forum that that’s not necessarily unusual.  I’ve had a few well-regarded members in the loop am I’m very grateful for their advice and input.  That helped a lot.

 

Long story short, a friend and her husband went to New York for me, it was so hard to Western Union five figures that I lost a lot of sympathy for people who lose their live savings that way (friend and her husband met the seller first and had everything in their hands with me on Facetime before the seller got any money, it was as secure of a setup as coud be—turns out there’s a daily pick-up limit, but the seller had them go ahead and take off with the stuff and got the rest of the cash next day), and today…

 

It is mine.  In my hands.  UPS overnighting with that must insurance was more than I expected, but worth it.  To say I’m beyond fortunate for my husband is an understatement.

 

And, folks, had the first seller photographed everything included, this would have gone significantly higher.  I’m a big collector of old photos and such, and so this extra stuff is an amazing bonis right in line with something else I enjoy.

 

When I call this a treasure trove of Gardner family history, I’m so serious that one of the first thing I did today was search for relatives on Ancestry to see if they had the info I now have.  They don’t.  And a family mystery has been opened up.

 

The pictures I’m going to share will not include photos newer than 1950 if I have reason to think anyone in them is still alive.  That just wouldn’t be ethical, no matter how amazing it is to see Libby’s (or Lora, as she went by) later years.  The one later photo includes a fellow now-deceased WASP.  This post will be in lots of parts.

 

To start, the pins actually includes her discharge pin, which I know to be very rare.  I have one, and am stunned to have two now.  That was an unexpected bonus, as was her congressional medal.  The gold is in the Smithsonian.  Recipients get bronze ones.  I put this together in a locking case with a shatter-resistant glass and it’s Airtagged.  Not entirely theft-proof but harder when taken out and for events.  It’ll also be modified to have be harder to pick up and walk off with.  Chain.  Weights.  That stuff.

 

Coincidentally, since I collect old magazines and newspapers with articles about the WASP, and WASP and Air Force newsletters, I have the magazine covering her December 1945 caterpillar flight (is that what that flight would be called?).  I had no idea about those pins until a few days ago, and now need to see if I can find one for the other flight.

 

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Some of the documents included are some of her licenses and medical cert, and there’s a mystery here.  Elizabeth Bigler? Where did Bigler come from?  First name signature and other info matches.

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Who is Bill Bigler?  They seem to be celebrating something.  So now her…I think great-niece?…will be looking into this.

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I love her sense of humor.  “Bucket Brigade,” “the forest at Sweetwater” being a single tree, and “praying at dawn” to a plane!

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Childhood photos.  The ones with the woman, then by herself, are with her mother when she was 2 years old.  The bitty baby was when she was a few months old.  November 3, 1921.  I’m floored by how much they documented.  “Grandfather Smith” is her mother’s grandfather.  So that’s Lora (that’s what she went by more, according to this stuff I have) with her great-grandfather.

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Later photos.  I love that one color pic.  The haughty look on her face and the caught-with-her-hansd-in-the-cookie-jar look on her pal’s face!

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These show her sense of humor. There are several of these books about her travels in her teen years.  I love the sarcastic, “Yes, it’s wet!” And then BOOM, hit by a wave, and that “quick change” like it was supposed to be viewed as magic.  Those are the exact sorts of captions I’d write!  Just silly stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

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Her father, Herbert, and her uncle, Frank.  It would be interesting to know more about them.  Frank is the man she’s with in the upper middle photo in the large frame in the second post.  

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There are dozens of other photos going back to the 1880’s, but I doubt they’d be of much interest here.

 

This all just has be feeling a lot of disbelief and awe.  My gut said this was supposed to be with me, but my head didn’t think it really would be.

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manayunkman

Congratulations Noelle!!

 

I have never seen anyone pull off such a sale on eBay, just amazing.

 

 

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rathbonemuseum.com

Congratulations on being the new steward of this archive! Clearly it was meant to be. 

Cheers,

Tod

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Thanks for posting the pictures! Sounds like an adventure, just getting the lot! The Bigler interested me, so I took a quick look and this might be them:

 

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Also, this is his High School picture, and possibly you could do a better pic or a good scan of the pic you have of him, as it sure looks like the same guy:

 

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https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/218897189/wilbert-james-bigler

 

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What were her parents names? I might be able to find some military info for her Dad.

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Brian Keith

Stunning Archive! Congratulations! 

Amazing the family history that was included!

I'm very happy for you! 

BKW

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I was the high bidder on the Elizabeth Gardner WASP grouping that closed March 12 on eBay. 

 

I won the auction in the final moments with a high bid of $11,726.00. I immediately paid in full through eBay and contacted the seller to make shipping arrangements. All was above board and I was thrilled to win. 

 

The next morning the seller messaged me to say that he received a new 15K offer.

 

He soon followed up with a string of short messages telling me his eBay account was locked. He was unable to access funds and he had bills to pay. I was unsure why any of this was my problem, but it was clear that the transaction was going south. 

 

As I suspected, the seller cancelled the auction a few minutes later.

 

While I was relieved to receive a full refund from eBay, the post-auction meddling ruined my opportunity to close on this grouping. It was really undeserved.

 

- noted

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flyingtigerfan

This is what I alluded to in the last thread regarding this grouping which was eventually locked.   Basically that it is one thing to message a seller on ebay after missing out on an auction that one would be interested if the high bidder does not pay.   It’s entirely another thing to message a seller that you will pay more for a lot than it sold for.    In this case it appears that the rightful winner lost out on the lot due to a greedy seller.   Had a higher offer not been proffered likely the sale would have gone through.    I’ve been selling on ebay for 24 years and have never encountered funds being held by PayPal, ebay, whoever…  due to a large ticket sale.   I’ve sold items in the high 5 figures and this never happens.   I had thought long and hard about bidding to win on the lot but decided otherwise toward the end.   I’m glad I didn’t win because I’d be very resentful after what transpired.    I feel for the high bidder in that they are blameless in this transaction.    It seems to me that the winning bidder is out his lot, ebay is out their fees, doesn’t quite sit right with me.  Making a higher offer on a sold lot is not cool.  

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