Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What happened?

You may remember a certain Herald coming up for sale on eBay a couple of months ago, the 4 door prototype. Due to the new eBay rules in force bidders are now hidden from general view so there was conjecture at the time as to who was bidding, more on that later. We of course had been fully aware of the 4 doors existence for many years (JK had the car/owner details on our system) as had other traders. It was always one of those that we meant to chase up and add to the prototype collection here. As is the way sometimes if you leave them long enough the owner decided to sell publicly. The jungle drums in the prototype community fired up almost instantly and we were deluged with mail, and calls from all around the world pointing us in the right direction. The serious players in this group of researchers, owners, enthusiasts of all things Triumph prototype are small in number and all very well known to each other. We share a pashion not very well understood outside our own group. For some it's fishing, or stamp collecting, for us it's Triumph prototypes. It's a strange yet very mutually beneficial relationship, if something interesting comes along that isn't in the collecting policy of a particular individual then he/they tend to pass that info on to those who would be interested. The mail traffic between us flows back and forth almost daily, and an unrivalled database of information is being assembled with the added bonus of having several guys from the experimental dept itself in the loop to put us right. Hence when the 4 door came along the machine swung into action only with the addition of a new player who previously had shown no interest in preserving important one off survivors, but instead had concentrated on good examples of production cars for their collection. It was a representative of that organisation that opened the bidding on eBay. So the scene was set for a public demonstration of the 'real' value of the previously un-loved unusual. The yardstick for the value of Triumph one-offs is hard to quantify but recently several other important survivors have sold publicly so give us some sort of clue. Most recent was the TR Zest at auction, a beautiful totally unique one off, and in near concours condition, making a fairly modest £20K. Or how about a couple of years ago the oldest Herald saloon in existence, in excellent original condition needing only minor fetling for an MOT, going trough eBay for 600 quid, we got that! A rough guide I know but it gives you some idea, and it always follows the same pattern, £20K+ for a concours TR proto, £1K give or take for a shabby small chassis alternative. So it was for the 4 door, things were moving on and values were slowly creeping up, so it wasn't a surprise to hear amongst our community that anything up to £2,500 might be possible! Second eBay bidder was well known (and made no secret of his bid declaring it on one of the newsgroups!), and the third is sitting not a million miles from this keyboard. Then it went quite, very quite. Worryingly reserve hadn't been met (at bang on the nail £2,450) and time was creeping on. The seller was contacted and made aware of bidding intentions. He let slip that a couple of interested parties had shown interest including a 'National Museum', as you do when you are flogging something! A quick call around our friends in the 'National Museum' collecting fraternity told us what we expected they were un-aware that it was even for sale, and not in the habit of buying resto project fringe interest Triumph's, or they were simply skint. So where to go from here? The eBay auction had stalled, reserve not met, no new bidders were forthcoming, but it was worth a little more. Step forward friends of bidder 3, bidder 4 a good mate but wouldn't have a Herald if you gave it to him, and bidder 5 who is bidder 4's brother and prefers VW's! Throw in bidder 6 who was just in because he overheard us talking about it and fancied the crack and there you have the 'genuine' interest in the 'real' value of Triumph Herald prototypes. Between us we pushed the bidding to where we thought the real value lay, or just shy of £3K. Reserve still not met so seller contacted again, to start talking about what it might be worth at end of auction when it failed to sell, only to be told he was going to pull it because he had been offered £10K unconditional! It took another 12 hours for the seller to actually pull the car from sale, enabling bidders, 3, 5, and 6 to play in the safe knowledge that it had already gone. Big difference between £2,800, and £10,000, and nobody has come forward subsequently to put their cards on the table to say they were prepared to pay anymore than £2,400 (bidder number 1's top bid). The plot thickens, and all of a sudden the value of unusual Triumph's has increased 10 fold, or has it? Better call the insurance man!
Seems our collecting days are over, and we will have to settle for what we have got, with that much money washing around the old guard custodians of the faith will have to play second fiddle to the new money! I suspect with that much money to play with they will amass a superb collection with no real competition from any other quarter.

Bidder 2
Cancelled: £2,050.00Explanation:The seller ended the listing early and cancelled all bids.
Bid:06-Jan-07 23:39:44 GMTCancelled: 15-Jan-07 20:48:39 GMT

Bidder 5
Cancelled: £2,850.00Explanation:The seller ended the listing early and cancelled all bids.
Bid:11-Jan-07 08:42:42 GMTCancelled: 15-Jan-07 20:48:38 GMT

Bidder 4
Cancelled: £2,650.00Explanation:The seller ended the listing early and cancelled all bids.
Bid:10-Jan-07 09:04:05 GMTCancelled: 15-Jan-07 20:48:39 GMT

Bidder 3
Cancelled: £5,950.00Explanation:The seller ended the listing early and cancelled all bids.
Bid:15-Jan-07 10:08:09 GMTCancelled: 15-Jan-07 20:48:38 GMT

Bidder 1
Cancelled: £2,400.00Explanation:The seller ended the listing early and cancelled all bids.
Bid:06-Jan-07 23:53:25 GMTCancelled: 15-Jan-07 20:48:39 GMT

Bidder 6
Cancelled: £5,999.00Explanation:The seller ended the listing early and cancelled all bids.
Bid:15-Jan-07 09:59:31 GMTCancelled: 15-Jan-07 20:48:37 GMT

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