THE most frequently asked question:
"How much is my old bike worth?"
or
What determines vintage bike value?

Updated 1.21.2017

1.) Original condition is very important, in both parts and finish, including decals. Restoring, in other words 'repainting', damages a great deal of the value 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 Flickr, Ipernity, 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, fork offset.

9.) Where to offer the bike for sale:
- BikeForums Classics & Vintage SALE section.  Requires an upgraded ($) membership.
- 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 spots...
- The Classic Rendezvous Google group requires joining (free) and 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 price.

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 "What's it worth; Appraisals & Inquiries". The opinions expressed by its member vary significantly based upon geography and the experience of writers. Better than nothing perhaps...?

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!
 

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