View Full Version : Auction Blues.

05-17-2006, 07:58 PM
Well I attended my first machine auction Tuesday. I was looking for a vertical mill they had 7 that fit the bill up for auction. They all went for almost double what I thought they were worth. Maybe it is just me but I saw things go for new prices and it was used stuff. I was going to bid on some carts these were not production made carts but they were built nice square tubing welded together 2'x3' size I am thinking $20-40 they went for like $200 each. I saw a 6" dividing head and tail stock go for $700. Kurt 6" mill vices for $370 used. I can buy a brand new Kurt vice same size for $445. I just don't get it don't people know what this stuff is worth? Maybe it is me but I don't like to pay more than about 50% of new when I buy used. These prices were before the 10% auction premium.

05-17-2006, 08:28 PM
That's high, but if you're expecting bargains at an auction, forget it. Dealers are scrounging for inventory the last 2 years because manufacturing is booming. Typically Kurt 675's go for $150-250 depending on condition, BP's are $1500 and up, and tooling is going for outrageous money(although your indexer price is waay outta line).

The other problem is Ebay, you have alot of guys playing at being a dealer, and willing to pay 80% of resale, because it's "easy money". the smaller the item(and hence, the easier it is to deal with), the worse the problem gets.


05-17-2006, 08:39 PM
A lot of the stuff locally SouthEast Mich is just being sold for scrap shop door to door and floor to celing. The stuff that is auctioned is about what you described big dollars. no matter what the item is to many new people with auction fever I guess.:D

Nick Carter
05-17-2006, 08:41 PM
Was it the one up in Portland? (if so, I was the guy with the long hair). Things did go very high, my friend I was with didn't buy a thing which is highly unusual. I think it being an EDM-Grinding shop had something to do with getting some people in who had money to burn. That's the story with auctions though, you have to hit a few before you get to one with good deals. Carts are usually much cheaper...

05-17-2006, 08:48 PM
That was the auction. I was the big guy with the orange shirt blonde hair I was wearing a baseball cap that said North River on it. I remember you and your friend. You saw the rolling carts in the corner did you think they would go for $200? I should go into business making them probably an hours work and $30 material in them.

Doug Smith
05-18-2006, 07:20 AM
I had a very good experience at my first auction, nearly purchasing an entire machine shop for under $3000.
I have since attended about ten auctions and it is a crap shoot as to the prices. Yesterday I say a guy from England buying very heavy tools for top dollar and still having to crate and ship overseas.
It does not make sense.
Sometimes great eals come along. It all depends on who shows up. Stay in there and wait for your deal. It will come.

John Stevenson
05-18-2006, 08:43 AM
I Yesterday I saw a guy from England buying very heavy tools for top dollar and still having to crate and ship overseas.
It does not make sense.
Can't weight that one up when machines and tooling here are so cheap.
£1,000 UKP get you a choice of manual bridgies.
That Beaver mill made £103 yesterday.
A BT40 spindle CNC BED mill made just over £2k and it was running and able to be demmoed, 1990 machine.

Last couple of buys I have had off Ebay.co.uk have been a brand new INT40 6:1 spindle increaser for £135 [ no collets ] and a hardly used one for £45 with full set of collets.
Swing grinder for £75, gear hobber with 54 hobs for £50
Plus we can't go 1,000 of miles to collect them or we get wet :)

I don't bother with auctions anymore - let it come to me


05-18-2006, 12:20 PM
I have been to a couple of auctions, with high hopes and no success, I might add. There is always some idiot who wants to pay more than list price for some used item. Sometimes the auction company has "ringers" out in the crowd who help run up the bidding by upping the antie a couple bucks at a time. A friend went to the DRMO auction at Jacksonville Naval station a couple of years ago and they ran things up so high that they probably didn't sell much to anyone outside the auction company.

I have found that if you look through some of the Ebay Stores, go and visit any that have what you want, that aren't too far away, you might get some good deals. I got my basic 3 (bridgeport mill with tooling, Clausing lathe with tooling, and MSC manual surface grinder with micromesh chuck) for $5K. I don't think I could have done much better. The mill has travadial indicators, the lathe came with all the chucks and toolholders, and I got a Jacobs rubberflex head and complete collet set for $250 on my next trip by his shop.

Keep your chin up and keep looking around. THe stuff is out there.

Jim (KB4IVH)

05-18-2006, 01:37 PM
don't forget ,a lot of auctions are rigged. Shill buyers, sometimes employees of the seller, or the auction house are used . Sometimes, machine tool dealers will piggy back on the auction, and bring in their own machines to sell,and protect them with their own employees shill bidding.

I think maybe 1 in 10 auctions with machine tools have what I consider resonable prices, and tools never go for what they do in the rust belt of the US.

Peter N
05-18-2006, 02:31 PM
Gundog, I’ve been searching for a Bridgeport in the UK for the last month or more since I sold my 6x26 mill. I thought I had one from a toolmaker we used that closed down, but I missed it and had to bid at auctions. So far I’ve bid at 5 auctions in the past month (bidding over the net after live viewing) and without doubt *all* the Bridgys have gone for very high prices. This has turned around in the last 6 months as last year they were almost giving them away.

The last one I bid on was yesterday, a 95 2J2, very little wear, with DRO and power feed on the table. I pulled out way before the end and the final price with the buyers premium and VAT was over £2700. Similar story last week at another auction up in Gateshead in the UK, final price on everything was all the wrong side of £2.5K. My search continues but there is nothing local to me, so its all a bit of travelling involved to view, and I refuse to buy anything sight-unseen.

However, (and you may want to stop reading at this point at the risk of ruining your day :D ). Although I missed out on the Bridgy at this auction - http://www.bachetreharne.com/plantandmachinery2006_A63205A_ElizaTinsley.asp - I did decide to bid on Lot 61 after I’d been to the viewing as I’d noticed a 15”x6” mag chuck at the bottom of the pile that wasn’t actually shown in the catalogue picture. When the webcast bidding came up nobody seemed very interested and I won the bid for just £25 ($45).

Welll – when I went to pick it up early this morning before some thieving sod decided to add anything from my pile to ‘his’, I got quite a surprise as there were more items included in it then I had previously thought, as some were on the floor underneath the table. I managed to arrange about 90% of the stuff I got in a small enough area to take the picture below.


And now for a mini-gloat. The lot included 4 x 26” boxed vernier height gauges (one digital) including a mitutoyo centring probe, the mag chuck turned out to be a 20” x 8” Eclipse, there were 4 x inside (bore) micrometer sets reading from 1.5” up to 15”, a dial bore gauge, a 25” Brown & Sharpe Vernier calliper, 4 x depth micrometers reading up to 200mm, 2 x dial indicators with 0.01mm resolution, a 450mm eclipse surface gauge, a 5-30mm inside micrometer, 2 vee blocks (4” & 8”), an adjustable screw thread gauge, a set of scribing trammels, a set of round ‘sine bar slips’, 2 x slip block cages complete with anvils, 4 sets of parallels from 3” x 1.5” to to 12” x 3”, a heavy old cast Johannsen comparator reading ± 20 microns, 4 x mitutoyo bore measuring standards ring gauges from 1.5” to 6”, a set of imperial and a set of metric dill blank gauges, a pair of chuck blocks for the Eclipse mag chuck, and a couple of smaller assorted boxes I haven’t sorted yet.

So now I can measure everything I make even more accurately than before, except that I don’t have a Mill to make the stuff on. Aarrrggghhhhhh!!!
Far too much stuff for me to ever use of course, and even the mag chuck is too big for my little grinder, so e-bay is beckoning me on at the moment.

And for the doubters who don’t believe the story, here is a picture of my invoice <VBG>.



05-18-2006, 02:45 PM
Is the yellow thing a hardness tester of some sort.

John Stevenson
05-18-2006, 03:00 PM
Sounds about right Peter for 25 quid, you did OK

Pity the other three hight gauges weren't digitals :rolleyes:


Alistair Hosie
05-18-2006, 03:46 PM
Good for you peter well done!!! I have had a couple of good deals at auction myself mostly woodworking stuff .Keep up the good work no one should disbelieve you as these things happen regards Alistair

Peter N
05-18-2006, 03:50 PM
Hi Wolf

No, its not a hardness tester, it's an old fashioned comparator. It works basically the same way as a dial indicator, but far more accurate.
Set up a known reference on it, zero the needle, substitute reference with workpiece and read the deviation to 0.001mm.
With apologies if I'm stating the obvious that you probably already know.



Peter N
05-18-2006, 03:55 PM
Thanks Alistair.
I think the small stuff like I got went cheap as the major buyers there were after the really big gear. Press brakes were selling like hotcakes for £30K apiece, and the Daewoo machining centre went for £275K in a deal after the auction closed.
I did have a quick look for rotary tables for you whilst I was there, but they nothing under about 16" which is far too big.


05-18-2006, 03:58 PM
And I thought Eliza Tinsleys made nails......
What had they been making in that place, Peter?


Peter N
05-18-2006, 04:07 PM
Tim, I think they had several big manufacturing sites around the country which all got shut by the Banks, and the company was know as Eliza Tinsley Group plc so maybe nails were part of their portfolio?

At this site it was multiple fabrication and casting. They built chassis' for the UK/European Bus companys; buckets, tracks, and excavator arms for Caterpillar; and had built all the escalator steps for London Underground for donkeys years. The steps were all welded structures with an aluminium casting for the treadplate.


Peter N
05-18-2006, 04:08 PM
Sounds about right Peter for 25 quid, you did OK

Pity the other three hight gauges weren't digitals :rolleyes:


I can't interest you in one then? :D


John Stevenson
05-18-2006, 05:00 PM
No thanks, I got about 4 or 5 when Plessey shut down in Beeston.
They never had a sale or auction everything went as scrap tender, the scrap contractor paying by weight.
Small stuff went into the general rubbish skips and weren't even weighed.
They just never cared and an absolute fortune went out that way.

Originally as Errisons Telephones they had 7 tool rooms and made all their own equipment, they made their own machine to make their own parts. They even made all their own taps and dies.
As they downsized as electronics took over from the old Stauger exchanges they moved better machines to other shop and scrapped what was left before having the scrap and demolition guys pull the old shops down to save rates.

Somewhere round about shop 4 closure they were told to put a brand new Colchester lathe outside in the corridor to go the shop 3, scrap the rest and pull the shop down, which they did.

Two years later when they were pulling more buildings down in this area Malc, the scrappie, broke through a plasterboard wall and 'found' the lathe still where he had left it two years earlier. The guys from No4 shop had be made redundant, no one had told No3 shop they were expecting a new lathe and the builders had boarded up and made good.

So Malc got a new lathe for a bit of 'overtime' one Saturday morning :rolleyes:

When I was looking for a small milling machine Malc said he'd look out for one. Now small to a scrap man is relative, if he's buying it's small, if he's selling it's large. So one day he calls round and says he's 'found' one at Plessey ' like new'
Like new is also relative, usually means it has a bit of paint left on ;)

So went down to see and there was this brand spanking new Cincinatti No2 with every available extra, vertical head, high speed head, dividing head etc etc How much ???

£90 says Malc but it was far too large for me with a small shed and single phase at the time.
That's one machine I do regret loosing and I never asked if it was sold or just scrapped.


Charles Ping
05-18-2006, 05:10 PM
However, (and you may want to stop reading at this point at the risk of ruining your day :D ). .....

Nice buy Peter.
If you look for something other than a Bridgy one will come up.


05-18-2006, 06:11 PM
Tim, I think they had several big manufacturing sites around the country which all got shut by the Banks, and the company was know as Eliza Tinsley Group plc so maybe nails were part of their portfolio?


We used to use 'strong clout nails' or 'plate nails' for fastening steel to oak. After Nettlefolds stopped making them the only ones available were Eliza Tinsley's,with the initials ET stamped into the head. They weren't as good as the Nettlefolds nails although they were better steel, the point was the wrong shape & tended to split the wood.

When they were no longer available we went on to number 20 woodscrews, which in truth did a better job than any nail, but I don't think you can even get them now :-(
I don't do wooden boatbuilding any more, so don't have to bother about such arcane issues