Saturday 26 April 2008

Rowing boats on eBay

The pretty antique rowing shell on eBay sold for an outstanding £720 after intense last-minute bidding. Does the buyer want to row it or hang it from the ceiling of a riverside restaurant? If anybody knows, do drop me a line.
The sale is a big contrast with this new 12ft skiff, still awaiting its first bid with less than a day to go. It looks very nicely made but not special. It is significant that the opening bid is a whopping £500. The seller of the old sliding seat boat had the courage to set the starting bid at £1 with no reserve, and it clearly sparked interest that led to a good result.
Brian Pearson was one of the interested parties (though not to the extent of 720 smackers). He notes:
"Hi Chris - yes, I always thought it was very special and am pleased it was valued by the bidders - good old eBay. I had a bike for sale on a cycling website, no takers and some enquiries saying my price was wrong. Began to believe them and would have taken a low offer after a month unsold on the site. So I put her on eBay, at my minimum with no reserve, and no bids for 6 days. Last few hours the bidding started and I sold her for more than I had her advertised on the bike website. I have had another chap get in touch about a Sprite [rowing skiff]. Again 10 years old, little used and wants a £1000. A new kit is about £770 so I do not understand.
That's the power of eBay - the free market establishes the real price without distortion by seller greed or buyer tightfistedness. The best strategy when selling on eBay is clearly to put it to buyers with the lowest starting price you can live with - and wait for the market to speak. If the selling price is less than you hoped, then you were deluding yourself and it is time you came out of denial.
The seller of the Cornish pulling boat Henry has a realistic starting bid, which has already been matched. The boat looks lovely but there is a catch: it is in desparate need of restoration.
Built sometime between the wars, Henry is 14ft long, carvel built, and was apparently used as the harbourmaster's boat at Fowey in the 1990s.
The owner is frank about some rot and a hole, but this is the sort of boat that needs detailed examination before committing actual folding money. Bidding stands at sixty quid - it will be very interesting to see how far it goes. It would be nice to see it restored. It would suit Chichester Harbour very well, but I personally would rather build a new one rather than spend a lot more money and effort restoring a time-expired hull. Old boats are like old cars, lovely to look at but hell to own.
UPDATE Sunday: The rowing boat Kingfisher sold with a last minute bid at the starting price of £500. Impossible to tell if setting a lower starting price would have set of a bidding war that would have sent the selling price higher, or if the high initial price meant the sole bidder didn't get a rock-bottom bargain. Anyway, a good result.

No comments: