THE most frequently asked question:
"How much is my old bike worth?"
What determines vintage bike value?
1.) Original condition is
very important, in both parts and finish, including decals.
Restoring, in other words 'repainting', damages a great deal of
that might have been there. Repainted bikes are harder to sell
to collectors, no matter how good the paint job is... A good
guide: if you choose to repaint your bike, do it for yourself,
not for any enhancement of it's future selling price.
2.) The brand or bicycle frame maker should be well known; nostalgia drives most
buyers. Sadly, even high quality workmanship means very little if it
is an obscure make. Not fair, but true.
3.) Older is almost always better, but see #1
4.) "Fancier" models trump lower-in-the-range models.
The higher the model within that maker's line, the more appeal
the bike will have.
5.) Historical provenance can significantly increase
monetary value - BUT it must
be proven, the seller must have valid original, confirmable documents that
support claims. Without
that, it is just hearsay and adds no value.
Once the attempt-to-sell commences:
6.) Carefully, scrupulously clean the bike; use a
tooth brush, car cleaning products like
Armorall or equivalent
(no build up in crevices...)
Just as in selling a home or an automobile, a grubby
item will not appeal to buyers...
7.) Take many high quality
digital pictures are needed. Take the pictures against a
very plain background and on a overcast but bright day. (Avoid
"scenic" backgrounds and sunny days) Presentation is very
important. It is best to upload those pictures to a
photo-hosting web site like
Picasa, etc. and refer
potential buyers to those pictures. They can also be linked to
in your online auctions or selling sites.
8.) List and describe in detail
the make, model and every component part.
9.) Include precise physical dimensions
of the frame and parts; at minimum include seat tube c-to-c and
c-to-top, top tube, bbkt height, standover, chain stay length,
9.) Where to offer the bike for sale:
- BikeForums Classics & Vintage
SALE section. Requires an upgraded ($)
- Craig's list (free, but selling something nice on it is
a long shot, but you never know.)
- eBay + Paypal Yes, it costs about 15% or so, but you get 'relatively' safe
world wide exposure and millions of potential buyers - this
simply cannot be matched by any other means. Start high and let the
market tell you if that is not going to work. It costs a
pittance to place an item up for auction; they get you when it sells.
- Facebook has a number of places where bikes are offered
for sale. None have yet emerged as high traffic/high results
- The Classic Rendezvous Google group requires joining
then offer your bike to the approx. 2500 members. The For Sale
announcements can be only made one time, must have pictures
accompanying the offer and must include an 'up front', set
8.) It is difficult to determine what the selling price
for your bike might to be. There are rare occasions when
certain bikes sell for very high amounts.. Do not be deluded
into thinking all such models will match that high price.
To find out
what a similar item has actually sold for (not what was asked)
check "sold items" in
eBay Advanced Search.
Also there is a section in BikeForums.net called
it worth; Appraisals & Inquiries".
The opinions expressed by its member vary significantly based
upon geography and the experience of writers. Better than
9.) People often
exaggerate bike values. In the end, your bike is
worth only what a specific person is willing to pay,
right now, today. Anything other than that is just
wishful thinking. Be realistic!
10.) Most vintage lightweight
bicycle enthusiasts will give you an opinion/an educated
guess of what your bike might sell for if nicely asked and
supplied with the pictures mentioned in #6.
Unfortunately, as per the rules, Classic Rendezvous Google
group members are not allowed to ask value on that forum.
Best of luck!