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.
GETTING READY TO SELL:
6.) Carefully, gently but scrupulously clean the bike; use a
tooth brush, car cleaning products like
or equivalent (no build-up in crevices...) Just as in selling a
home or an automobile, a grubby item will not appeal to
most buyers. (There are some who prefer to leave the patina 100%
untouched. Certainly if this a historical bike, like Gina
Bartali's old bike, that makes sense. But, as with a nice object
of any kind, clean & well adjusted trumps rough.)
Many high quality
digital pictures are needed, of whole bike and many details
of frame junctures, decals, and components. Find a
very plain background and shoot on a slightly overcast day. (Avoid
"scenic" backgrounds; grass, trees, seascapes, etc. and
do not shoot outside in sunny days) Natural light and no flash.
Upload these pictures to a
photo-hosting web site like
Sharing, etc. and then refer
potential buyers to those pictures. They can also be linked
in your online auctions or selling sites.
8.) List and describe in detail
model of every component part.
9.) Include precise physical dimensions
of the frame and parts. At minimum, include seat tube length center-to-center and
center-to-top, top tube, bottom bracket height, stand over at
center on top tube, chain stay length,
fork rake or offset.
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 or goodhigh
- The Classic Rendezvous Google group requires joining
then offer your bike to the approx. 3500 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. So much preparation is necessary before posting.
8.) It is difficult to predict what the selling price
for your bike might end up being. On occasion,
certain bikes sell for very high amounts, but do not 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. Be cautious in
accepting the comments there.
9.) Owners often
exaggerate their bike values, it must be an ego thing... 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.) If nicely asked and supplied
with the pictures mentioned in #6, most vintage lightweight
bicycle enthusiasts will give you an opinion/an educated
guess of what your bike might sell for. It takes a
little research to find those people. Unfortunately, as per the rules, Classic Rendezvous Google
forum members are not allowed to be asked "value". But they
could be asked privately...
Best of luck!