“The FR Way” would be to drill down a little bit before badmouthing your fellow FReepers. Please look at the story I linked in #47, it has a lot more detail.
“’Ill roast and burn them,’ an angry McDonald said Tuesday, saying Harvard offered an ‘insulting’ $7,500 for a collection that includes Greeners 1870 Harvard diploma and was appraised at $65,000.”
No matter for how much they're appraised, they're worth precisely what someone is willing to pay for them.
Nonetheless, there is some reason to wonder whether he's telling the truth. From the same article:
“A Harvard spokesman declined to comment on the ultimatum, but a university source familiar with the negotiation says it offered McDonald ‘significantly more’ than $7,500.”
In any event, if he feels Harvard has made an insufficient offer, he's free to sell them to whomever he wants.
The threat to burn the documents is irrational. If he can get a higher bidder, then he can take that amount and thumb his nose at Harvard, if he so desires. If no one offers more than Harvard did, then he (and his appraiser) were mistaken in the true value of the documents in the first place.
This, though, is egregious bullshit to emotionalize the issue:
“McDonald, an African American whose own education ended at Calumet High School, says he just wants a fair price for whats left of the collection ‘so my 9-year-old twins can have the chance I didnt and go to college if they want to.’
If Mr. McDonald doesn't make much money, there are many programs that will provide financial aid to his children. If they're relatively-average, but college-ready kids when they graduate high school, they may not be able to afford toney private universities that will take them, but they will likely be able to afford, at little or no expense, community college and then state university.
If they're much brighter than average, there will be public and private schools that will offer them affordable scholarship packages.
If they're really, really smart, they will have offers to go to school for free.
If, for example, his kids can get accepted to Harvard (no mean feat), unless he's making more than $65K per year, they're going free. And frankly, that's pretty much the case at most of the elite colleges and universities in the United States. If you can manage to be admitted, and your household income is pretty much right around the median income for families, you're going to go free or nearly so.
At Harvard, financial aid doesn't completely phase out until your family has family income of nearly $250K per year, or you have a bunch of financial assets outside your retirement accounts.
I had already read that article and concluded the man is trying to extort money from Harvard and is playing the race victim card.
If the alleged appraised value of the papers is really valid he’d have no problem getting a legitimate auction house to take them or another university to buy them. OTOH if the ‘appraisal’ is of dubious validity no wonder he has to resort to extortion.
Big deal, Louis Henry Gates (the one who mouthed off to the Cambridge Police and got arrested) is excited about the papers. If the papers are that valuable Christies would be knocking his door down. Harvard is not stupid. If the papers were more than old grocery lists and it filled a need in their museums they’d offer to pay more.
But if you want to believe that a guy from Chicago who buys up abandoned houses is going to burn some papers rather than auctioning them for $60,000 - go right ahead.