Michael Cull Flees to Europe to the Dismay of Irate Customers
More than a few years ago there was an auctioneer in marbles named Michael Cull. He ran Marquee Marble Auctions for ten years. He was well respected and had a bevy of high end marbles he sold at auction. In some letters I’ve received of late, Mr. Cull was apparently not all he seemed to be. It turned out he was a dealer in marbles and a thief.
In the spring of 2007, Cull decided he apparently had enough of working for a living and decided to run two auctions, one in March and the other in September. As it turns out, Cull didn’t pay his consignors and he only sent some of the winning buyers their marbles they won. Things weren’t going right.
A man named Sam Price emailed me and asked me if I had heard of this guy and frankly I hadn’t but I told Sam that I would do a piece on the theft as it is continuing to hurt a great many people. Sam lost $10,000 and now on Social Security and says he will never be able to make up for what was stolen from him. Sam points out that he was one of the smaller customers. Sam even sent him a 7/8th inch Lutz for grading and included a check for $100. He never saw either one again.
Apparently Cull headed for England after the second auction and although we’ve heard this story before, I’ll briefly explain how it happens. An auctioneer has an auction, he buys a car, his girlfriend a diamond ring and before long he doesn’t have the money to pay the consignors. So he continues to take marbles for his next auction and staves off the earlier consignors by sending them partial payment or a promise of payment in the near future. Meanwhile he puts the second auction together, and now instead of paying the first auction consignors, he’s living the good life and just splits.
Being an auctioneer takes a lot of things but honesty isn’t one of them. It’s not something you learn. You either are honest or you’re not. It’s a business like any other business. The difference is you’re handling money that’s not yours. It’s expected of you to take care of the people that keep you afloat. So when I say honesty isn’t a requirement to be an auctioneer, I mean it’s a requirement to be a human being. Being an auctioneer is just something human beings do.
This guy Cull has stolen a lot more than anyone knows. He fed off the people who thought they were his friends. Sam didn’t even list the grouping he sent him, he trusted him. That’s not a wise thing to do but I’ve seen worse. When someone is truly honest, and it happens, they are tested when they are presented with a lot of other people’s money and are expected to pay their customers the same way you give change at a book store. The same way you cash a check at a bank. Maybe Cull was honest but at this point it doesn’t matter because he ruined lives and stole something that wasn’t his. If he was honest he sure became dishonest fast. It’s a crying shame.
This letter is to reach out beyond our private conversations and maybe get some conversation going on where this guy is. It’s been six years but that’s not that long and a lot of people would like to know where the hell he is? He was last described as a “burned out alcoholic with a red nose like Rudolph.” That could be anyone but if you are out there Mike Cull, it’s time to make amends. The people you stole from might forgive you and hopefully you can pay them off in time. But you need to save your name, yourself respect before someone finds out where you are and handles the situation their own way.
It’s too bad…it’s too bad that this kind of thing happens. What drives an ordinary nice guy into a lying, cheating degenerate? I have more adjectives but I’ll save them. The Madoff’s of this world, sucking other people dry aren’t members of my society. We can all live together and do the right thing, it’s simple. Treat others how you’d like to be treated. It’s that simple. But a lot of these guys never get caught and then again some do. For you Mr. Michael Cull, I hope someone sees this, and despite not having a picture, knows you and turns you in. You deserve to spend some time in jail and make redemption. Until then, you will have to live with yourself. Good luck on that.
So how much did Michael Cull steal? No one knows because it’s impossible to determine exactly who sent him marbles and who didn’t get paid. Is it $100,000? A half-million? Unless he shows again no one will ever know. Probably not even him. But for those of you out there, let us know if he took your marbles or money and maybe we can get a better idea. Maybe he’ll show his face again and maybe justice will be done. Maybe.