After ordering, Lynch picked up a bottle of 1998 champagne and said, "The champagne here is from California, so you must give it a try."
"You're right. Should we talk about the stamps now?" asked Hans.
Lynch gave him a slight smile before continuing, "We can start now, but I don't know too much either since I'm also a beginner in this profession."
Establishing a collection was quite the challenge for one's judgment, and stamp collection was no exception.
"When collecting stamps, you need to first find the number of stamps that have been released. As you can probably guess, the less of a certain stamp released, the more valuable it becomes. In addition, due to various reasons, after their release, a lot of stamps will be damaged, reducing the numbers even more."
"Less is more," commented Li Du.
Lynch gave him a smile before continuing, "Exactly. The second point is the material used as background. Stamps are often released for reasons such as historical events, to honor famous people, or revolving around other topics such as special animals and plants. These stamps are typically better than others."
"Such as the September 11 remembrance, or those in honor of sports stars, right?" added Hans.
Nodding, Lynch then said, "Another aspect is the time that the stamp was released. There's not much to say here but that the older a stamp is, the more valuable it becomes. Stamps like the black penny that was released by the English government in 1840 is valued at tens of millions now!
"The fourth thing is the reason why the stamp was released. Special events such as the assassination of JFK will give the stamp more value.
"This knowledge is not something difficult to acquire, but the next two points are just as important. These are error stamps, and stamps that were printed with irregular shapes also tend to be more expensive."
After a bit of thinking, Hans pointed out, "This is a variation of the first point: that they are more valuable since not many of them were released in the first place."
At this moment, several beautifully cooked dishes were presented to them, filling the room with an enticing aroma. Sausage-cantaloupe wraps, tuna potato salad, bacon wrapped asparagus, marinated salmon, and more.
As the server removed the lid for his meal, two servings of black peppered steak cooked in red wine revealed itself to Li Du. Seeing the perfect meal, he immediately started eating.
I'm not a foodie, but I really am hungry!
In the meantime, Lynch and Hans continued their conversation.
By now, Hans had become a very modest student who continued seeking knowledge, while Lynch acted as the respected teacher that patiently explained everything of importance.
Without anyone realizing, most of the food on the table had already been emptied, and when it came for Lynch to eat, many empty plates and serving platters sparkled under the lights.
With this, Li Du gave Hans a stare that conveyed: nice cover buddy!
Thankfully, Lynch wasn't here for the food either. He still had his steak, so he began elegantly eating it as they got into the main topic.
"Russel, you are Flagstaff's most renowned collector, and now there are six precious stamps in front of you. You don't want to miss the opportunity, right?" asked Hans.
"If the price is right, then that's the truth," Lynch calmly returned.
"Then what do you think is the right price?"
"How about 18,000?"
"For a piece?"
"How can that be? Even if you had the entire set you wouldn't get that price!" laughed Lynch. "I'll buy these for 18,000. It's the most reasonable price. "
"In order to get these stamps, we undertook a great risk, so I believe that 36,000 is a better price," Hans suggested.
"Thirty-six thousand? Then I won't be able to buy it. How about twenty thousand?" Lynch said, firm in his position.
"How about 34,000? That's a fair price."
Li Du immediately called a waiter, "Get me another serving of the previous food. Come, eat first and talk business later."
As the extra food was presented, the price war still continued. In the end, the bartering ended at 28,000 dollars.
Hans wanted to continue increasing the price, but Li Du stopped him. "How about this, for my sake Fox, we'll take 28,000. However, Mr. Lynch, would you be willing to take the bill for today's dinner?"
Looking at the plates in front of him, Lynch smiled. "I would love to."
After Hans's phone informed them that the money had been transferred to their account, the tense business atmosphere immediately became much lighter, and both him and Lynch shook hands as a show of good business.
After finishing everything, the two left. As Lynch was taking care of the bill, the cashier told him, "Sir, it comes out to a total of 955 dollars."
"That much?" Lynch asked in a shocked tone.
The cashier then showed him the bill. "The two gentlemen ordered some food for takeout as well."
With that explanation, Lynch could only look at the stamps before letting out a bitter smile. "Those two stooges."
Twenty-eight thousand dollars; Li Du's cut was over seventeen thousand. As he looked at the continually increasing numbers in his bank account, he couldn't help but let out a smile.
Seeing the take-out that they bought home, Hannah also smiled. "So you guys went to the Golden Aquatain again; you guys must have had a great trip."
"Of course! You should know that a very curious thing happened today," Hans proudly stated. "Um, don't touch the tuna, that's for Ah Meow."
Ah Meow: "MEOW!"
As it fiercely protected its tuna, its stare clearly conveyed its message: If there's anyone that dares touch my food, then you will have to spit out what you eat and give back what you took!
After Hans retold everything that happened today, Hannah was quite shocked, and continuously praised Ah Meow's mysteriousness.
"To be honest, I still feel that it was Li's effort," commented Hans.
"What do you mean?" Li Du nervously asked.
"If it weren't for your kindness, then Ah Meow would have already died in the cage. If it weren't for your training, then it wouldn't have known what to do. So, if it's not your effort, then who's effort is it?"
Understanding what he meant, Li Du calmed down and awkwardly chuckled, "Hehe, what are you saying..."
"Don't be so modest," interrupted Hans, "what I mean is—hey, Hannah, stop eating. Listen, you should go for Li. Don't you feel something for him? Don't you love him? Aren't you going to marry him? Then quickly say that you love him!"
Li Du, who had just calmed down a moment ago, suddenly jumped up again, shouting, "F*ck, what are you saying?"
Hannah also seemed to have been rendered speechless by this statement. After a shocked moment, she said, "Hans, are you crazy? What are you bullsh*tting?!"