Gail on January 16th, 2015

I buy and sell on eBay, Amazon and various other internet site.  Recently, I came across a seller on eBay who has found a way to increase his base profit by 7.3% without doing a thing.  He is charging sales tax for all 50 states.  Only every sale, he collects an additional 7.3% of the total price.  How is this a scam?  He isn’t turning in his proceeds to the individual states.  He is located in Israel and also he is collecting sales tax for states that don’t have a sales tax.

The biggest scam though is that as far as I can tell his business is not registered in 50 states, nor in any state.  To legally collect sales tax, the business needs a resale or tax license from the state.  With this license, you are then entitled to purchase items from a wholesaler for the purpose of resale and you are obliged to collect sales tax and turn that tax over to the state.

If you collect sales tax illegally, it is a felon in most states.  I suppose I could check with the state of Michigan  to verify if he has a license and turn him in.  However, I doubt if Michigan or any other state would prosecute if he is a small seller.

How much is this one seller raking in tax free and sales commission free from eBay?   He has 1200 items for sale on eBay.  Not everything will sell in a month but he may sell items repeatedly.  Let’s say, he sells 600 items per month at an average cost of $25.   In addition, he receives 7.3% on every sale.  He is putting in his pocket $1125 every month from illegally collected sales tax.  Not bad.  This is on top of any profit that he may make for his sales.

If eBay would ask sellers to charge sales tax for their license, the sleezy sellers would stop collecting.

Moral of the story, when you see sales tax on an internet purchase, look to see if it is legit.  For instance, if you live in Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware or Oregon, you should never pay sales tax on any purchase.  The seller who is collecting is obviously scamming.  There is no sales tax division in that state.  You should only pay sales tax when the seller has a presence in your state.  Send an email and ask him for his business registration or buy somewhere else.

The issue is not whether the seller is collecting sales tax, the issue is what is the seller doing with it.


Gail on July 11th, 2013

Should I Sell on Amazon or on EBay?

As the owner of Osmun Gifts, an online retailer, I am asked this question quite often.   Amazon and eBay take different approaches to selling and in how they treat customers and sellers.  They are different.  This essay will not touch on fees.  There are a lot of articles on fee structures out there.  Instead I will focus on the actual selling of your items.  Osmun Gifts sells only new items though most of the things mentioned here are applicable to used items also.  A presumption is made here that you are also approved as a seller on each platform.

Listing items:

EBay and Amazon take different approaches to listing items.  On eBay, you need to take your photos, list your item and write a description even if there are 20 other sellers selling the same item.  On Amazon, typically you need a UPC for the item.  Then you search for that UPC or an identical item that you have and link to that item in the Amazon catalog.  This means that if you are selling a 50th Anniversary Photo Frame, you can list against an existing listing.  No photos to take or description to write.

A potential customer looking for this photo frame on eBay does search and multiple listings will show up.  The customer then has to look through multiple listings to check on condition, pricing, and shipping of each one.  On Amazon, the potential customer can do the same search and in an ideal world find the photo frame that is wanted.  On Amazon, every seller with that item for sale is listed underneath the photo and description.   A prominent seller will be shown next to the listing of the 50th anniversary Photo Frame and clicking on the right side of the listing will show you all of the sellers of this item.  Sellers are sorted by total cost of the item plus shipping.  Also featured is how long it takes the seller to ship the item.   On Amazon, if the item that you have has not been added to their catalog, you create the listing, similar to the process on eBay.

Amazon is very strict about listings.  For instance in the example of the photo frame, on eBay is you wanted to add a gift card or free gift wrapping or a golden bell, you could just put that in your listing.  On Amazon, if you want to add something to the photo frame, you cannot unless you create a new listing.  Amazon wants customers to be able to compare based on price, the item for sale by each seller is presumed identical.  That is why Amazon uses the item UPC for identification.

On both eBay and Amazon, make certain that your description matches your product.  If it does not, the buyer is entitled to and will receive a full refund.

Selling Items:

After an item is listed, then the waiting game begins for someone to buy it.  On eBay, potential buyers are encouraged to ask questions of the seller about the item.  It is difficult on Amazon to send an email to the seller until you have actually purchased the item.  You can pick whether to relist items every few days or to have 30 day listings.  On Amazon, the listings are forever until you remove them.

Shipping Items:

Both eBay and Amazon have a user friendly shipping program but again each takes a different approach.  You weigh the item, specify the mailing class and print the label.

Getting Paid:

On eBay, after the item is sold, the money is immediately deposited into your Paypal account.  The seller is expected to ship within the time stated on the listing.  When an item is sold on Amazon, Amazon pockets the money.  After you ship the item, Amazon moves the money into a holding account and every 14 days, they move the money to your bank account.

Customer Complaints:

Amazon almost always sides with the customer.  If a customer states that a package didn’t arrive even though there is a delivery confirmation from the mailing service, Amazon will still force the seller to refund the money.

I had this occurrence happen with an eBay customer.   EBay refunded the money to the customer and allowed me to keep the money.  EBay stated that I had fulfilled the transaction and shouldn’t be penalized for it.

Both Amazon and eBay refund money to customers when there is a problem with the seller.

Customer Service:

EBay wins this category hands down.  You are encouraged to call customer service and you speak with a real person who has American English as their first language.  With Amazon, if there is a complaint you fill out a form detailing the issue.  The reply may be in a phone call or in an email.  The customer service is in India.  They are always courteous but at times, you simply want to pull out your hair when trying to explain the issue.   At the moment, I have spent a week trying to explain to Amazon seller support that the description of an item is incorrect.  The seller who created the listing added another item as a gift.  This is OK on eBay as each seller owns their listing but on Amazon every seller now must add that 2nd free item to the original item in order to meet the product description or they cannot sell it.  The seller in this case has highjacked the listing.  For the life of me, I cannot make seller support understand this.  In the meantime, I cannot list my product.


Both eBay and Amazon offer opportunities for selling items.  Each takes a percentage of the sales price.   EBay encourages communication between buyer and seller.  Amazon frowns upon communication between buyer and seller.  Each is unique.  If you are looking to sell online, both are good markets, just remember that each venue takes a different approach to listing and selling.

Enjoy and happy selling.

Gail on August 23rd, 2012

The 23rd Psalm is recognized by almost everyone in the English speaking world. People may not know that it is Biblical scripture but they find it familiar to them when they hear it. It is often used in funerals to bring comfort to those grieving. The psalm is attributed to King David. It evokes the simple imagery of God the shepherd caring for and tending his sheep, the people of earth. God provides a place of comfort, a place of shelter and a place of safety from our enemies. We will stay with the Lord forever. Jesus in the book of John is described as the good shepherd. Our shepherd looks out for us, protects us and gives us peace.

Osmun Gifts  carries memorials that refer back to Psalm 23.  It is hoped that these memorials stones help bring comfort.
Psalm 23 KJV
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


The Lord is my Shepherd Stepping StoneThe Lord is my Shepherd memorial Chime

Gail on March 19th, 2012

The Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross and Via Dolorosa refers to Jesus and his cross from the time of condemnation, to the crucifixion, and to the burial. The stations began in Jerusalem with the first Christian tourists. Pilgrims then and today had a desire to walk the way of the cross and to follow the path of Jesus. It is customary to stop at each station saying prayers. Traditionally, there are 14 stations. They are:
1. Jesus is condemned to death by crucifixion
2. Jesus accepts the cross to carry
3. Jesus falls the first time from the weight of the cross
4. Jesus meets His Mother along the way
5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross for Jesus
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls the second time walking to Golgotha
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments
11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus’ body is removed from the cross (Deposition or Lamentation)
14. Jesus’ body is laid in the tomb and covered in incense.

The stations of the cross may be prayed at any time but is often done during Lent especially on Good Friday. Traditionally, these stations are depicted in a series of paintings or carvings inside the Church but there are also items to remind you of the Way of the Cross that can be used at home.

Crucifixes from the Holy Land made of native olivewood can be found with the 14 stations represented in pictures made of silver plated zinc. Rosaries, dedicated to the Way of the Cross can also be found. These are not classic rosaries but chaplets in that there are 3 prayer beads between each station.

For Christians, the following the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem is as powerful today as it was for those pilgrims more than a thousand years ago. And today, as then, if you cannot go to Jerusalem, you may still make a spiritual pilgrimage following the Way of the Cross through prayer and meditation.

The following items may be purchased through Osmun Gifts to help with your devotions.

14 stations of the cross with holy land relics

14 Stations of the Cross with Holy Land Relics

way of the cross rosary

14 stations of the cross rosary

Shopping on eBay can be daunting if you have never done it before. After all you are buying from someone that you have never met and you have to trust. Here is a beginner’s guide to the wonderful world of eBay.

1. First decide what you would like to buy. eBay is a treasure trove for hard to find items. Just last week, I bought a collection of boogie woogie piano sheet music from the 1940′s for my son. On eBay, you can find snow boots in July, and bikinis in January. Look around at the listings. Decide if you want to bid on an auction (more about that later) or buy it now. Buy it now is similar to shopping online at a retail store. You can sort on Best Match or by Time or by Price plus Shipping. I like the latter because I don’t like the surprise of shipping costs.

2. Read the descriptions of the items offered carefully. Just because the picture makes the item look large doesn’t mean that it is so. As a seller on eBay, I try to give detailed dimensions and when possible show the item either being hand held or next to a ruler. However, I still sometimes have unhappy customers because they expected the item to be bigger! What is the item made of? We here at Osmun Gifts sell a lot of scripture based costume jewelry bangles and bracelets on eBay. We don’t advertise that it is silver and for $11.95 with shipping, don’t expect our customers to think that it might be. eBay is like any other store. If the offer seems just too good to be true, it probably is. Be cautious with electronics. My advice is to only buy from a reputable dealer on eBay.

3. Check out the seller’s feedback. Inside the item’s description, the seller’s feedback is listed on the right. Click on it. Look at how long the seller has belonged to eBay. What is their average rating? How many negatives do they have? Look at some of the feedback comments, both positive and negative. If most of the negative feedback is given by eBay newbies, keep that in mind. Also, look at how the seller responded to any negative feedback. That tells a lot about the seller. You may not know this but sellers are not allowed to give negative feedback to buyers. However, buyers can give negative feedback to sellers. Personally, if I were new to eBay, I wouldn’t buy from anyone with less than 100 feedback. The combination of new buyers and new sellers sometimes leads to problems.

4. Don’t wonder about anything. Send an email to the buyer and ask a question. At the bottom of the listing, there is a question and answer section. Click on Ask a Question. Normally, you get a response within 24 hours.

5. Check shipping details. More and more eBay sellers are using free shipping but make sure you know the shipping before you buy. There are 2 tabs on the listing, Item Description and Shipping. Yes, there is more to shipping that just the postage. The seller pays for the box and the packing material. Free shipping is free but it is still a cost to the seller. The price for shipping has already been included in the item price. Check the shipping time. If you think that you might not receive the item in time for Christmas or that special birthday party, send a note to the buyer. Look at when the buyer is expected to ship and look at where the item is coming from. If it is being shipped from Hong Kong, it probably is not going to be at your house in 2 days. Unless you pay for expedited shipping when buying from overseas, it will take a couple of weeks.

6. If you decide to bid on an item rather than using the buy it now. Here are some tips. Decide before you make your first bid, exactly how much you are willing to spend. Make that your maximum bid. If the bid is $10 and you put a maximum of $20, eBay automatically bids for you in small increments. Example, if the bid is $10, eBay would then bid $10.50 on your behalf. If there are other bids, eBay will keep increasing you bid until you reach you max.

7. If bidding, don’t get pulled into a bidding war in the last hour. This is how people overspend on eBay. Though illegal to put up bids artificially, it is done. Someone may come in when the auction is almost done, and bid over you in an effort to get you to increase your bid. Remember that on eBay, there is almost always a similar item for sale the next day. In fact, the seller of the item that you just have to have may have 10-20 in stock and sells them one at a time.

8. Before buying, check out the seller’s return policy. Some sellers will not accept any returns. Please note, that if the item does not match the description, the buyer can still return the item. Personally, I don’t buy from sellers that do not accept returns unless there is a reason. For me, a legitimate reason not to accept an item back is that it might be cosmetics which could have been used.

9. Whether you have won an auction, or clicked on Buy It Now, please pay for your item then. It is easy. One of the great frustrations from being a seller is that buyers wait to pay for items. After a few days, eBay starts sending out unpaid reminders to you. Again, if you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it. Remember on eBay, if you are buying from one of the sellers with a store, they usually have more. It will be there when you get paid.

10. And last and definitely the best is the FEEDBACK. As mentioned previously, sellers cannot leave negative feedback. Sellers can block a specific buyer from buying their products and they can respond to feedback left by a buyer but they can’t leave negative feedback. My advice, wish, and plea is that if you as a buyer are unhappy with your purchase, whatever the reason, don’t leave negative feedback until you contact the seller. Let me repeat this. Contact the seller before you leave negative feedback. Most sellers and most buyers, are good people. I have had items that broke during shipping. I have no problem with either replacing the item free of charge or refunding the money. Many sellers would like the item back but personally, you can send me a picture. Bottom line, contact the seller first. Another thing about feedback, if you look at the feedback from the sellers with more than 3000 feedback comments, most of them come from new eBayers. Usually, this is a lack of communication. Again, contact the seller first. I once had a lady tell me that she didn’t believe that the item was damaged during shipping. She was convinced that I had sold her a broken item deliberately and told me that she had left me bad feedback to teach me a lesson. She never contacted me at all, just left the feedback. I refunded her $5.95 but she told me that she didn’t want the money, she wanted to hurt me. This is not a good plan. eBayer’s both buyers and sellers need to work together.

So, have fun with eBay and if you have a question, contact the seller! It is a great place to find anything and everything.

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Gail on October 18th, 2011

Angels and angel like creatures are found in many cultures and religions. From the Christian culture, angels were created by God and live in Heaven. From what is written in the Bible, angels don’t die, don’t marry and don’t have children (Matthew 22:30). As humans, when we die, we don’t become angels. Angels are angels and worship and glorify God. They are not to be objects of worship (Revelations 22:8-9). However, angels can help us. Angels can serve as God’s messengers, God’s soldiers and guardian angels. They are usually depicted in paintings as having wings though the Bible is not specific about wings. Cherubim and Seraphim are described specifically as having wings but not angels.

I have never seen an angel but do believe that I have been protected by guardian angels. Once long ago, when I was about 20 my mother was having surgery. I wanted to be there but I lived in Colorado and she was in Alabama. I had no money and didn’t think that my car would make it there. I decided to hitchhike to see her. I was scared but determined to get to Alabama. I heard / felt something telling me to go now. I had a friend take me outside of Denver. We were driving on I-25 when I saw a car with Louisiana license plates. A young man was driving. We pulled up to him and I rolled down the window and yelled out, “Can I ride with you?” He pulled over at the next exit. We talked and I had a ride all the way to Little Rock. He was a Christian youth minister who had been in Colorado for a meeting. Once he let me out of his car, I waited for a while and relied on my instincts also known as my angel to tell me when to put out my thumb. Looking back on this, I realize now how risky this was. At the time, I just wanted to see my mother. I stood on the side of the highway for about 5 minutes and a trucker pulled over. He was able to get me all the way to Huntsville, just a few miles from the hospital where my mother was. In addition, he fed me and protected me. Of course, there was a few lectures along the lines of “Do you know that you could have been killed or raped?” but I deserved those. And I never hitchhiked again.

Angels are everywhere. We just need to be aware of them. As a Presbyterian, it is fitting to end with a quote from John Calvin who wrote:
The angels are the dispensers and administrators of the divine beneficence toward us; they regard our safety, undertake our defense, direct our ways, and exercise a constant solicitude that no evil befall us.

Have you ever been protected by angels?

ivory colored Visor clip with the words Angels Watch over me with carving of angel looking down

Angels watch over me Visor Clip

"Exalt His Name" stands 17 1/4" tall. It is an African american Angel figurine, part of the Steven Davis Heavenly Vision series

Exalt His Name African American Angel Figurine

Gail on September 27th, 2011

What does the term Fair Trade mean? According to the World Fair Trade Organization, Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.

We here at are happy to join in this trading partnership with ladies from a small village in Guatemala. We now carry handcrafted shoulder bags. The Spanish word for these are morrals. They were made in a small village in the Ixcan region of Guatemala. The women here as in many small rural villages work hard to keep their families intact. Many are poor and often the men of the family must leave and seek work elsewhere so that their families may survive.

The commissioned work on these bags was done according to Fair Trade Practices. Only adults performed the work and the women who created these beautiful bags were paid directly. The price for these bags was the market price of the region. In addition, the women were provided with the materials to make the bags.

AnaMaria showing her bags made according to Fair Trade Practices for Osmun Gifts

AnaMaria showing her hand made shoulder bags

Pictured here is the lady who made most of these bags. AnaMaria works very hard to put food on the table for her family. The village where AnaMaria lives does not have running water. To make money, AnaMaria brings water to other people’s homes, carrying 3 tinajas at a time filled with water. A tinajas is a 3.5 gallon water jug. She carries one under her arm, one hanging from a strap down her back plus one on her head. For this labor, she is paid Q1 for each tinajas in Guatemala currency or the equivalent of $.12 in U.S. dollars. For this she can buy 2 rolls. For Q4, she can buy a pound of rice or a large bag of laundry soap. To put this into perspective, 1 gallon of water weights more than 8 pounds. At one time, she is carrying more 80 pounds of water.

Osmun Gifts heard about this village and the ladies through a contact that lived there. Great Commission Air was serving there. Great Commission Air provides Air Transportation for Christian Missions and Humanitarian Relief. They provide medical evacuation services for the injured, and transport medical volunteers and supplies to where they are needed in these rural regions. In addition, GCA provides transportation for Christian missions that are working to implement social programs and spiritual teachings. Please visit their website Great Commission Air for more information.

10% of all proceeds will go to the Great Commission Air. Regretfully, due to the violence in Guatemala, GCA had to leave their home there of almost 8 years. They will be relocating to Peru in 2012.

We hope you can join us in supporting this great cause by buying these beautiful handmade bags to enjoy yourself or to give as meaningful gifts for friends and loved ones.

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Gail on August 15th, 2011

The death of a loved one tears a hole in our heart. We suffer deep physical and emotional pain that is raw and at times overwhelming. For those of us who believe in God, we can find comfort and solace but that doesn’t mean that our loss is not painful. It takes time to heal. Grief is a process that can’t be rushed, can’t be solved by taking anti-anxiety drugs, and shouldn’t be ignored. With time, and comfort from others, we can find the strength to continue.

It is my belief that memorials help. Whether Christian, atheist, agnostic or other believer, having something to hold onto, aids in our healing. It can be as elaborate as structures built in memory or someone or as simple as something that someone says. At my mother’s funeral, people told us how much they liked my mother, what a good woman, how sorry they were. These were kind words that were spoken but one lady who I barely remember from my childhood made a lasting impact on me and my mother’s memory. During the funeral service, Arlene stood up and told of a time 60 years before when she had been a young girl about 10 years of age. She was the oldest child in a large family and her mother had recently given birth and was very sick. That left all of the household duties to her. She had to cook, clean and take care of her younger siblings. There was no TV, running water or electricity. Her father farmed and was out in the fields all day. My mother was her neighbor and at this time had a few children herself. My mother came to visit one day early in the morning. My mother told the kids to go outside and play and then she turned to Arlene and told her to go with them and enjoy the day. My mother stayed that day, cleaned the house, watched after all the kids, and cooked. Arlene talked about how while others had given food and even helped a bit, my mother was the only person that noticed that life was hard on a little girl. She never forgot that kindness and loved my mother for it. That story was my solace. I clung to that story during those early days of grief and still hold to it today. I loved my mother and it meant a lot to me that others loved her too.

Memorials can be spoken, a gesture, or tangible such as an article of clothing, a picture. When my brother-in-law was killed in an accident, his 3 daughters each cut their hair and put their pony tails into their Dad’s coffin. A simple tribute but the best for them.

To help others in their grief, again simple things are the best. A sympathy card, memorial photo frame, a stepping stone for the garden, a verse written by your or others, or a simple teardrop necklace. These all convey sympathy and love. It is hard sometimes to think of the right words to say to those who have lost a loved one but a small gesture of love is always appreciated.

Again, it is the small effort that means the most.

This picture frame has the  memorial poem, Broken Chain by Ron Tranmer is perfect gift for one who is grieving and holds a 3X5 photo.

Memorial Photo Frame

Reclining Angel memorial stone with verse

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Gail on June 4th, 2011

In 2008, eBay changed their feedback system. Since then, a seller cannot leave negative feedback for a buyer. However, the buyer can leave whatever they want for feedback. The buyer can give the seller low rating on the Detailed Seller Ratings without even communicating with the seller. I have never really had any issue with this. My store on eBay is Osmun Gifts Too and I put many of the items there that I also sell in my retail store, Osmun Gifts. I have been selling for a year and have never had any issues with a buyer. Now this doesn’t mean that everything has been perfect. It has not. I have had some items broken during shipment. The customers have notified me and I have refunded or reshipped the item. I have had a few quality problems with merchandise and again I have either replaced or refunded the money. I always give the buyer the benefit of the doubt. EBay has the buyers rate the sellers on a 1-5 scale in the four categories. Below are my current rankings in the categories. The number in parenthesis is the number of low ratings in the 1 and 2 range that I have received:
Item as described4.930.23% (1)
Communication4.960.00% (0)
Shipping time4.960.00% (0)
Shipping and handling charges4.930.00% (0)
This week I was the recipient of a disgruntled customer on eBay. I was totally blindsided by it. The customer ordered a $3.95 automotive emblem, a magnet of the Christian fish symbol. With shipping, it was $6.80. I won’t mention the customer’s name but she does live in New Mexico. The customer gave me a neutral rating because she stated that the item was not new, and that it was damaged. I sent an email to her, asking if she would like a replacement or I could refund her money. I assume that the item must have been damaged in shipping. She refused both options and sent me an email stating that I needed to learn better customer service and that she would punish me for being such a poor seller. I refunded her money and politely asked for her to retract the feedback and to cancel the transaction. She refused, telling me that I was rude. So now I have the 1 rating in the feedback. Frankly, I don’t think that I deserve it. However, in the eBay world, the buyer has most of the power.
I should mention that the reason that these ratings are important is because with a certain sales volume, the seller receives a discount on their fees if the customers are happy. EBay can also restrict the number of sales that you can have every month if you are a bad seller. I understand this and I truly understand that there are many unscrupulous sellers out there. However, I don’t think that bad feedback should be given until the buyer at least tries to communicate with the seller. Then if the issue cannot be resolved, allow the buyer to leave the negative feedback.
I called eBay and asked if there was an arbitration board for cases like this. I was told that I could appeal but unless the feedback contains inappropriate comments or was extremely malicious it couldn’t be removed without the buyer’s consent. I told them that I could prove that the item was new but to no avail. I was told not to worry. Out of the feedback, this was my first bad one and that sometimes people don’t want customer satisfaction.
I like eBay. I like selling on eBay. It has a wide range of customers and it gives me an idea of what will and won’t sell in my store. I have made some eBay friends that are repeat customers. I also like buying on eBay and have favorite sellers that I continue to buy from. In the 8 years that I have been a member of eBay, I have had only one bad experience with a seller. He wouldn’t accept payment through his eBay account and wanted to redirect me to another account. This was resolved, I paid through eBay and he sent the item and we both retracted the feedback.
I want to continue to buy and sell on eBay but after my experience last week with the feedback slam, I have to admit that now, I cringe when I see my feedback score increase. I am afraid to look for fear that it will be another poor rating. I feel like I have been convicted of a crime that I didn’t know that I even committed. I now know that the seller has zero control over what the buyer does.

Christian Fish Automotive Emblem


Gail on May 27th, 2011

At the time of Jesus, there in circulation a number of very small copper coins. The poorest segment of the population would have likely been widows since they had no source of income. We all know the story of the widow’s mite. It is recounted in the gospel of Luke and in the gospel of Mark. See below for text. There are a few interpretations of this scripture. One is that the value of the gift is not to the receiver but to the giver. For a wealthy person, 2 coins, would be nothing but for the widow, it was everything or most everything that she had. She kept nothing for herself. Many have taken this scripture to mean that we should give generously of ourselves and our talents to the Lord. Another interpretation of this lesson is that those who make sure that others know how much that they are giving impress men but do not impress God.

The Bible verses shown below are from the English Standard Version. Notice that the term widow’s mite is not mentioned. This term was used in the King James Version. The term, mite or mitj was in common usage in 1611 and referred to a small copper coin. Though I must admit, the term widow’s small copper coin just doesn’t have the same ring as widow’s mite.

The small copper coins have been found in digs and sites all over the Holy Land. They no longer have the sheen of bright burnished copper but instead are dull with lots of bluish oxidation.

Whether known as small copper coins, or widow’s mites, they are a reminder of the sacrifice that the widow makes for the Lord.

Luke 21:1-4. Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Mark 12: 41-44. And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

At the time of Jesus, there were a number of small copper coins that were in circulation in the Holy Land. They were called widow's mites. The coin in this pendant is one of those coins. It is from the time of Christ and from the Holy Land. Each is different, each is unique due to the age and wear of the coins. There is an 18 inch sterling silver chain with the pendant. the pendant is 5/8 inch in diameter.

Widows Mite Pendant