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  • Interesting tag sale

    Went to a sale today at the house of a doctor who got into woodworking and clock making when he retired. Or so went the story.

    So, I get there, and yes, even an hour after the sale starts, there is a lot of good stuff left. At decent prices for a lot of it.

    The sale had at least a dozen single-foot standard jeweler's lathes.....American pattern and Geneva pattern. Just a couple of them mounted for use, really. Plus one larger American Watch Tool lathe, about a 6" swing x 15", that was bench mounted and obviously had been used, with a fair number of accessories. Also a couple of "turns" as well.

    Oddly, most of the jeweler's lathes were standard WW style, but the only collets I saw were not the usual 8mm (not counting those for the bigger lathe). They may have fitted the Geneva style lathes.

    Lots of woodworking stuff. Several wood lathes, and standard woodworking power tools.

    Seemed he was collecting clock and watch tools more than actual clockmaking....😉 not that there is any problem with that. But a dozen assorted jeweler's lathes? I've never seen that many in one place before. I doubt Mcgyver even has that many in his shop.

    Nice amount of other clock and watch tools and parts, though. I picked up some stuff, a staking set, a fair amount of parts, a poising tool, some movement holders, and a couple more items.

    None of the lathes were selling. They were in my estimation fairly priced, what you might expect to pay, but perhaps the demand is low. And when you have a lot of some type of tool in one sale, you have to expect to discount substantially, since there is clearly plenty of supply.

    I liked the larger AWT lathe, but it was priced higher than I've paid for any of the others at home, so I passed, accessories and all.
    CNC machines only go through the motions.

    Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
    Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
    Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
    I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
    Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

  • #2
    perhaps the demand is low
    How many people, even HSM types, want a jeweler's lathe, as opposed to a regular 'engine' lathe (as they were once called)?
    "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

    Comment


    • #3
      I saw one at a garage sale several years ago. I don't know much about any of them, mfg. name's etc. but I knew what it was from twenty feet away.
      There was no name on it that I could see. It was all chrome plated and looked pretty clean. The hand wheel had a red rubber ring on it from what I can remember.
      There were two guys standing in front of me looking at the stuff next to it and one of them said to the other ... what's this thing ? The other guy said it looks like some kind of a sewing machine.
      I almost laughed out loud. It had a paper tag on it that said make offer. I probably could have got it for five bucks.

      So now you know why they don't sell at garage sales.

      JL..................

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      • #4
        They're not worth anything without collets and at least a few attachments - tailstock, tip-over rest, etc.
        Johnny

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
          .........

          So now you know why they don't sell at garage sales.

          JL..................
          Well, I knew that much to begin with. Not my first experience with estate sales, garage sales, or machine sales in general. But thank you........

          And, this was an estate sale, well advertised as exactly what it was, and no question what was there. Plus, they did seem to sell eventually. I went back the second day, when prices were reduced, and most of the jeweler's lathes were gone by the time I hit checkout. The problem was not "demand".

          The problem was not completeness, either. All had headstock, tailstock, and a toolrest. Most had motors associated with them. Tools were available also, although not packaged with the lathes. Collets ditto, for those that took 6mm collets, anyway. The larger one had many collets, tooling, etc, and was completely set up on a base. Just add oil and electricity.

          The biggest issue was the pricing. I think the estate sale company, which I know, and which usually has pricing set to both maximize the "take" AND make sure everything gets sold, had "instructions from the client" on pricing. The client (the heirs) probably had insisted on a higher range of pricing. That happens, and it generally leads to bad results

          It only works when there is just one of an item. When there are a dozen jeweler's lathes to get rid of, you cannot expect to get full pop or higher for all of them. For any "special" ones, maybe, but not for all.

          Another factor is that in an estate sale, you have 2 or 3 days to sell everything. That means you need to price things to sell, not price them to sell to the one person in town who wants them "that badly" and will pay top dollar. That person might be out of town, unaware of the sale, etc, etc, and the item goes unsold.

          And the sellers need to be reasonable. Sometimes there is a toolbox with random lumps of metal in it that may have been pieces of important fixtures, but have no relevance now. if the "family" is handling the sale, it can happen that "they all know that Uncle Walter had a lot of very expensive tools", even when the family members would barely know a screwdriver from a hammer. As a result, anything in the "shop room" is regarded as a rare and expensive thing, and priced accordingly, even though they may be a dime a dozen in general, or even basically valueless, as with fragments of old tooling..

          I have seen estate sales where cheap "target store" tools, showing evidence of much use, were priced well above their retail prices. Needless to say, they didn't sell.

          For the first day, that seems to have been the issue. The American Watch Tool lathe did not sell by the time I left on day 2, with 15 minutes left in the sale. It was well featured, but was priced at $975, which was not going to happen. And, the crosslide assembly that I think fit it, was being sold separately for $500. A pricing setup that would work on FB marketplace, maybe, but not in a 2 day sale.

          Thing of it was, I think there were also some less than honest folks around.... There was a Boley jeweler's lathe, which on day 1 was complete, tagged at $200, which may have been kinda OK, as it was in good shape (it was the cheapest one there). When I went back, the "Boley lathe" consisted of a bed only. The headstock, tailstock, motor, and even the toolrest and its "shoe" were no longer there. Whether they were swapped onto a different lathe, pocketed, or what, I cannot guess.

          Funniest thing at the sale..... A packet marked as "pivot wire" (raw stock). I took a look at it, and the odd thing was that there were three of every size. Another look, and there was a marked size for each group... Yep, it was a set of thread wires.............
          Last edited by J Tiers; 07-18-2022, 10:14 AM.
          CNC machines only go through the motions.

          Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
          Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
          Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
          I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
          Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by J Tiers
            When I went back, the "Boley lathe" consisted of a bed only. The headstock, tailstock, motor, and even the toolrest and its "shoe" were no longer there.
            Hopefully, the Estate Sale organizer figured out on their own or had it pointed out to them by someone like me that these easily detachable & pocketable sub-assys were vulnerable and then took steps to set the pieces aside in a safe place pending a sale.

            I was very pleasantly surprised when I went to pay for a small lathe I purchased at auction and the clerk said, "I'll be right back, I have a number of parts in the back office that are included with this sale."

            JT, In the distant future, when the time comes for YOUR shop items to be rehomed, how do you propose this best take place?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by EddyCurr View Post
              ............................

              JT, In the distant future, when the time comes for YOUR shop items to be rehomed, how do you propose this best take place?
              Assuming that estate sales are still a thing, and that the new government has not yet made shops illegal, it should be sold off at prices that will make it move.

              But that won't matter to me, I'll be elsewhere.
              CNC machines only go through the motions.

              Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
              Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
              Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
              I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
              Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                it should be sold off at prices that will make it move.

                What I am angling for is your view on how to improve the odds of this happening after departure - reasonably expeditiously and headache-free for those in charge of the task.

                Over the years, you have posted real trophies - large and small. What will keep the thread wires from being misdescribed as pivot wire, so to speak, and priced to move?

                Comment


                • #9
                  It’s sad, I saw maybe 20 in a scrap bin from an old spectacle factory, thrown in. In this day and age the value of machines is the current heavy scrap price
                  its determined on the weighbridge.
                  suppose that’s how our world will be measured, by the ton.
                  wont be long now
                  mark

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                  • #10
                    I went to an Estate Sale a couple years ago, less than 5 minutes from my house. I walked through the house looking for the garage. Jackpot! A bunch of aluminum & SS stock, a well-equipped Tormach CNC mill, grinder, drill press, tons of measuring instruments, surface plate,... and on and on. I started mentally picking out the small items that I could really use. Just then the estate sale guy came in and told me "we want to sell the shop as one lot, $15,000 for all of this." Well, crap, that might be a good deal but I don't have $15K this week. I don't know how that worked out, I didn't go back at the end of the sale to see.

                    Turns out the homeowner & wife were halfway to Tahiti on their (new) 70-foot sailboat, leaving instructions to sell everything. The guy used this shop to develop a "medical device" the rights to which he had recently sold for $$$.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EddyCurr View Post


                      What I am angling for is your view on how to improve the odds of this happening after departure - reasonably expeditiously and headache-free for those in charge of the task.

                      Over the years, you have posted real trophies - large and small. What will keep the thread wires from being misdescribed as pivot wire, so to speak, and priced to move?
                      Nothing will prevent that... I don;t think there is a way to prevent that. I DO know that the stuff will be labeled, not stuck in random drawers etc.

                      But, I can't control it if I don;t do the sale, and by that time it may all be irrelevant, or even illegal, who knows? (I've got a bunch of things that would be illegal for me to possess, in Texas). But it will not be my problem. It will start out organized, after that, it's out of my control.

                      It's just "stuff". If nobody wants buggy whips, then they won't sell.

                      Those "we want to sell it all at one price" folks often find that they end up trashing most of it. It's a wonderful dream, but usually they overprice the lot, and it is loaded up with problematic things that make the deal seem like too much trouble, even for people who would consider the price otherwise. "One price, but you have to take it all". You need to get rid of the stuff you can't use, but first you have to move it. And then move it again, to the scrap yard.

                      CNC machines only go through the motions.

                      Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                      Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                      Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                      I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                      Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I stopped going to tag sales a long time ago, the internet has ruined them. Also living in Florida where everyone thinks they can sell their junk to pay for their mortgage, stuff that belongs in a roll-away dumpster. The estate sales ran by companies set prices so no bargains are to be found.
                        I'm sorry, in the old days when the knowledgeable person died, I'd expect to pick things up pennies on the dollar. The sellers with no understanding of things selling below market value. Perhaps they should of taken an interest in their loved ones hobbies, oh well, not my problem.
                        The internet ruined all of that, junk now priced so high that I won't even consider stopping at a tag sale.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RB211 View Post
                          I stopped going to tag sales a long time ago, the internet has ruined them. Also living in Florida where everyone thinks they can sell their junk to pay for their mortgage, stuff that belongs in a roll-away dumpster. The estate sales ran by companies set prices so no bargains are to be found.
                          I'm sorry, in the old days when the knowledgeable person died, I'd expect to pick things up pennies on the dollar. The sellers with no understanding of things selling below market value. Perhaps they should of taken an interest in their loved ones hobbies, oh well, not my problem.
                          The internet ruined all of that, junk now priced so high that I won't even consider stopping at a tag sale.
                          True of some sales, and sellers, not of others.

                          The real issue is that in some areas, national chain companies have taken over the market. But, the good thing is that they will not accept a sale where less than some total $$ is expected. Some have thresholds as high as $50,000, others lower. The one thing they don't deal with is tool sales other than "collectors" sales. They are purely in it for the maximum $$, which is correct, of course, but the actual maximum is often not what they think.

                          In St Paul MN, there are lots of those high dollar sales. Trying to find a company to handle a tool sale was hard, but I think we found the right one to handle the MN house. In my area, there are not so many of the chain franchises. The sale I started this thread about was not bad overall. I know the company, they are one of the best, and I an pretty sure they would not have put the prices so hogh oif they had not had "instructions". And I still got a number of good deals, which made the tru=ip to the sale worth the trouble, twice..

                          I would think Florida would be the worst. Lots of retired lawyers and other rich folks who collected antiques, and took them with when they moved there. I know some of them who are moving there soon. The market would be expected to be spoiled by high prices.
                          CNC machines only go through the motions.

                          Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                          Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                          Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                          I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                          Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                          Comment

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