Chapter 22: $3,000,000
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
For 3 days straight, Chen Jin visited all the pawn shops, auction houses, and both small and large-scale jewellers in the business district. Everytime he got rejected, he would go to a new place. He paid a visit to any shop that had even a little bit of reputation and credibility. He would find the boss or manager of the shop and offer to sell his precious metals and jewelry.
To prevent himself from attracting attention, at each shop, he displayed only a small quantity of jewelry to offer for sale. The money value of the jewelry traded was also limited to around $100,000. He avoided entering more than three of the chain stores from the same brand; even if each store was separated by a long distance.
Chen Jin entrusted the few most valuable items, including the watch that was embedded with a sapphire as big as a pigeon’s egg, to Sotheby’s Auction House in order to get a better price. With its centuries-long history, Sotheby’s would be able to help him sell off the items. A coordinator from the auction house had promised that his personal details would be kept strictly confidential.
In addition, Chen Jin handed over five oil paintings and three antiques to Sotheby’s. These oil paintings and antiques had unknown authorships and provenance and an eccentric style. Although they had a certain artistic value, their unclear provenance put them at an disadvantage. The auctioneer in charge told him that they could help to auction them, but he could not guarantee a good price. It could be entirely possible that no one would bid on it.
Chen Jin said, “It’s fine. As long as it can be auctioned off, I’ll be ok even if its sells for only $50,000 or $100,000. It’ll be good if they could go for a higher price. Try your best to not let it pass without a bid.” The other party affirmed that the request was ok.
Within three days, by running like this to more than 30 business organisations, Chen Jin had basically sold all the easy-to-sell jewelry that he possessed. So… how much money was earned from his sales? Not much, not even $3,000,000.
From what he had, 1,400-plus grams of gold was sold for $260,000. 28.6 kilograms of silver was sold for $50,000. 300-plus pieces of platinum and diamond accessories were sold for $680,000. He had about 350 pieces of jewels and various gemstones. Some were of high quality while others were fake, hence the big difference in prices too. Chen Jin was not too knowledgeable about jewels and gemstones and had probably paid a steep “learning fee.” But even so, he managed to sell those jewels for $1,650,000. Excluding the sapphire-embedded watch, the 50-plus gold-plated watches were sold for average prices. He received a total of $320,000 from those.
The grand total was $2,960,000.
The 10 odd items that he had entrusted to Sotheby’s were still not auctioned off and it would be some time before the proceeds appeared in his account. So, from the start until now, the profits that he acquired from scouring the City of Tereese was not even $3,000,000. What? After raking through all the high-value items in a city with a population of 100,000, they were only sold for less than $3,000,000? What kind of epic joke was this? But this was the truth. On one hand, the civilians of Tereese had brought along many of their belongings of value and the remaining treasures were slim pickings. On the other hand, it was related to the social customs and habits of the people in Z country.
From his endless bounding across the city these past few days, Chen Jin reached a conclusion: The majority of Z country’s people adored brand-new goods and hated secondhand goods. With the exception of cultural artifacts that were better with age, other things were severely devalued once they were used or old. For example, watches, cars, clothes, computers and mobile phones etc. Their rate of devaluation was very high.
In Z country, not many people liked secondhand goods. Certain goods which had been through a certain number of hands would be degraded to the level of rubbish or even worse. People would express a deep level of dislike, shame, and rejection towards them. Naturally, those items could not be sold for a reasonable price.
Thus, Chen Jin could only shake his head. “This devaluation is too severe. When you want to buy those items, they may cost you upwards of $30,000,000. But when you sell it, you can’t even get $3,000,000 for it. This is simply too…. F**king hell.”
Moreover, once he sold this batch of precious metals and jewels, he had no intention of selling anymore of these even if he did find more after scouring the City of Tereese the next time. Or to put it more accurately, he would not sell his precious metals and jewels on a face-to-face basis anymore. He was worried that it would attract attention from others and subsequent investigations.
“Mom works at the tax bureau as a middle management officer. What will others think when they notice that I’ve brought so many precious metals and jewels for sale? Z country has a law that makes it illegal for one to own large amounts of assets that has no clear provenance. If I am unable to explain the origins of these precious metals and jewels that I possess, I cannot escape from that particular law. I could possibly be thrown into jail for a few years. I might even implicate Mom.”
So this was the last time that Chen Jin would personally do business face-to-face. This was a one-off business deal. He would have to use other means to earn money the next time. “Although $3,000,000 is not much, it’s still enough to last me for awhile. Ah ~ It’s going to take a long time to reach this little goal of 1 billion.”
Shaking his head and sighing, Chen Jin silently lambasted, “Billionaire Wang, are you sure that “one billion dollars” really is a “little goal”? Why do I feel that this goal is a little too big?”
During dinner, He Li suddenly put down her chopsticks and asked Chen Jin with an expression full of concern, “Son, how did yesterday’s blind date go? Are you still in contact with Lin Lin?”
“Um ~” After some consideration, Chen Jin said, “Our chat went well yesterday; we were pretty happy talking to each other. I also gave her my WeChat contact. But, she did not add me as a friend after we parted ways. Perhaps she was too busy.” Chen Jin ad-libbed his lies.
Raising his head, Chen Gang interrupted, “If she still hasn’t contacted you by now, it means that she’s just not that interested anymore.”
Nodding his head, Chen Jin said, “Yes, I think her interest has waned too.”
Glaring at Chen Gang, she then turned to look at Chen Jin and said with a drawn out breath, “Son, I was talking to Lin Lin’s mother on the phone and asked how your date went. I could hear from the implication in her words that they were not pleased with your behaviour.” He Li asked, “Son, did you say something inappropriate?”
Shaking his head, Chen Jin denied, “No, Mom, I didn’t carelessly shoot my mouth off.”
“Then why would Lin Lin’s mother say that you are not suitable for her daughter? Tell me about the situation yesterday, Mom can analyze it with you and find out where the problem lies.”
“Mom,what’s there to analyze? A failure is a failure, there’s nothing to analyze. I too, think that I’m not that suitable with Yuan Lin. We have nothing in common…..” Chen Jin was feeling somewhat impatient as he grumbled, “Z country is full of women, why are you so fixated on her?”
“You —-” Glaring at Chen Jin, He Li felt rage and frustration at his nonchalant demeanor.
Yuan Lin was the blind date partner that I had chosen for you after a meticulous selection process. Did you think it was so easy to find a suitable match that is your social equal nowadays? This little twerp was not treating it seriously. He was even trying out his little tricks to get up to something mischievous.
I had thought that you were sensible, but you are actually still so mischievous. He Li was filled with discontent and despondence. However she did not show that she was upset. She merely put on a happy facade again and gently said, “Ok, since this person didn’t work out, I will arrange another partner for you next weekend. It’s hard to say, but maybe you’ll fancy the next one.”
“No, don’t. Don’t.” Chen Jin waved his hands, “Mom, don’t arrange anymore blind dates. I don’t want to go. I have some things on the next week and will be busier. I don’t have time for a blind date.”
“How about the week after?”
“I should be very busy then too.”
Wielding her trump card, He Li said, “Son, recently, I’ve been planning to buy another house in the north of the city. The down payment is about $1,000,000 with a monthly mortgage payment of $30,000. But, I don’t have that much funds on me. Son, do you think I should buy the house?” She would not believe that she could not keep this disobedient boy in check!
“Buy; you have to buy it. If you don’t buy a few more houses now, it will be impossible when the government implements cooling policies.” Very unexpectedly, Chen Jin expressed his support. He even took out his mobile phone from his pocket, opened his AliPay account and transferred $50,000 to his Mom.
“Ring ~” The notification alarm for the successful fund transfer rang.
Chen Jin told He Li, “Mom, I’m returning the $50,000 that you lent me. I have money now.”
Chen Gang was shocked, “Where did you get that $50,000? You have enough money to return your Mom’s loan?”
Chen Jin explained, “I’ve been working recently and earned some money; about $100,000.”
Filled with curiosity, Chen Gang remarked, “$100,000 is pretty good. What do you do to earn this kind of money?”
Scratching his head, Chen Jin replied, “I’ll keep that a secret, hehe~”
Suddenly, he heard loud sobbing.
“Boo hoo ~. Boo hoo hoo hoo ~” The wailing became louder and more heart-wrenching.
Turning his head, Chen Jin was immediately taken aback. Mom was crying a flood of tears. “Mom, what’s wrong?”
“Wife, why are you crying?”
He Li continued crying, “Boo hoo hoo ~”
Chen Jin stood up in a panic. Walking to her side to comfort her, he said, “Mom, don’t be like this. What did I do wrong?”
Chen Gang shook her shoulder. “Wife. Wife, What’s wrong?”
Throwing herself into Chen Gang’s arms, He Li loudly cried, “My son doesn’t want me anymore!”
With sweat anxiously beading on his forehead, Chen Jin stamped his feet. “Mom, you misunderstood. I never meant that I don’t want you anymore!”
Nonetheless, He Li still cried without a care, “Waa ~ waa waa ~”
“Quickly, you little twerp, take your money back! What a twerp, how could you return what your Mom gave you? Can you afford to return the sentiment behind it?” Grasping the situation, Chen Gang scolded his son harshly.
“Yes, yes, yes. Mom, I was wrong. I will take the money back. Immediately!”
Taking his Mom’s phone, Chen Jin opened her AliPay account and returned every single cent of the $50,000 that he had transferred. After that, both father and son cajoled her for more than an hour straight. Barely holding back her tears, He Li did not resume her normal state until Chen Jin agreed to participate in a blind date on the week after. Then, she finally stopped crying altogether.