Dave Moulton

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« Minimalist | Main | Smaller Wheels »

Supply and Demand

What determines the price of anything, especially collectables and used stuff? Simply supply and demand. It is not what individuals perceive an item is worth, it is the ratio of people wanting to buy an item, and the numbers of that item available for sale.

Take a recent eBay auction when a pair of French Prior Large Flange Hubs (Picture above.) went for a whapping $1,325. Interestingly, the bidding started at $1.00. The reason it went that high was because there were ten individuals all with more money than sense wanting the same pair of hubs.

The bit about “More money than sense” is just my opinion, possibly it was a good investment. The quality of these hubs can’t be any better or worse than say, a pair of Campagnolo large flange hubs. But if I put a pair of Campagnolo hubs on eBay and asked $1,325 for them there would of course be no takers. It has nothing to do with quality, Campagnolo hubs are just not rare.

This scenario is no different than the people who put up bikes that I built on eBay and Craig’s List, asking as much as $2,000 or $3,000. Sorry, I built a lot of bikes, they are not that rare. It has nothing to do with quality, or my reputation as a builder. There are just more frames and bikes out there than there are people wanting to buy them.

Put one up and start the bidding at $1.00, the price will probably reach $500 or $600. That is the reality. Buy one of my bikes if you want a nice bike to ride, not as an investment. Although if you do pick one up for that amount, you could ride it for a number of years and get your $500 or $600 back, or even show a small profit.

Occasionally I hear of someone who finds a Fuso at a garage sale, swap meet, or thrift store. Sometimes as low as $10  or $20. If that happens to you, snap it up and make yourself a few bucks, but don't expect to retire on the proceeds.


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Reader Comments (1)

I don’t know of any maths that determine the price of used items. Buyers set the price. Thus rarity, quality, substance, function, form or quantity can’t determine worth. People do, because all these traits are debatable, not innate.

Obviously those hubs will never be used; they’d probably crack if built up anyway. Like collectable film cameras, they will just sit there. There is also the Stradivarius effect, versus the Mario Confente/Brian Baylis effect: mystique, intrigue, a good back-story, a following, or just plain bullshit, play into what price you will get.

Stradivarius violins: Because of their unmatched sound quality, they are still being played, hundreds of years later. This contributes to the high price they command. But I don’t know of any antique bikes, or parts, possessing an unmatched ride or function. Thus uselessness sometimes brings even higher prices. Also, how much display room you have.

April 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
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