Re: [CR]A question of value (slightly long)

(Example: Framebuilding:Tubing:Falck)

Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 09:08:00 +0000
From: "recycle" <>
To: Paul Williams <>, "" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]A question of value (slightly long)
References: <002801c2c7b5$276da3e0$>

Paul, I have a bit different view on this "parting out" activity. Isn't this the exact behavior that makes collectibles collectable? How many of us have "just missed" the dumpster full that some bike shop disposed of, "we got tired of looking at the old dead inventory" ? Make way for the kid's helmets, Isn't that experience what makes the the real find more savory? more valuable? How many of us has bought a bike that might or might not fit ,just for the parts?

How many of our collections would be depleted in value and uniqueness if no-one ever tossed anything out. Has anyone noticed that what is common in certain circles is "incredible" when taken to a venue somewhere else. (east coast- west coast) (europe- USA)(USA- Japan)(this side of the street-that side). It is allot about perspective and familiarity.

Paul Williams wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I know that not too long ago we discussed the topic of perceived value of certain bicycles and the issue of parting out. However, this issue was brought home to me again yesterday when I made an enquiry of a seller on E-bay whose 1950s/60s "English" bicycle ( ) did not get any bids. I asked him if he was going to relist and noted that I had been travelling and was unable to get a bid in. The pictures were terrible and I also wanted to see more. His reply reads:
> << No, I did not have any more pictures. I think that's why I had no bids. it
> is in very poor shape so I plan on selling it as parts it is more Valuable
> that way. Thanks for the inquiry.>>
> It is not a lightweight and not the usual thing we discuss on this list, nor the sort of bike that would usually interest me. But there was something about it - a certain charm, a certain tug at my British roots, and perhaps the challenge of restoration. It would be another good little winter project. Moreover, it is relatively complete (although he notes in poor condition - I haven't had a chance to ask him what he means by that) and kind of funky. I am not sure whether to reply to the seller, pleading with him not to part it out (although I must admit that I am also not sure that I wanted to pay that much for it).

Is that not being "driven by the issue of monetary value" in reverse?
> I am a little concerned by the mentality of parting out because "it is more Valuable that way," especially when a bike is virtually complete and largely original. It is a shame that, in this E-bay, or "Antiques Roadshow," universe, we are too often driven by the issue of monetary value and we tend to forget issues of social or cultural value: the intrinsic value of an
> object as a marker of our heritage, in this instance our cycling heritage.

The monetary value is what brought the item to your local bike shop to begin with. When do the Bikes take on something more than that? Is it a memory of a certain time in one's life, a certain bike / ride? Is it the lust you felt when you saw that ultimate bike hanging just out of your reach (physically or economically) in the local shop? Or more intrinsic ; the craftsmanship that went into the item? In an economically driven culture it is impossible to separate the intrinsic from the monetary. Starbucks vs. Folgers crystals.
> In my academic work, I research this issue of "value." In particular, I look at the value we place on material things from the past and how these become important in bringing meaning to our lives and in establishing a sense of who we are and where we have come from. I am fascinated by the idea of the "cultural biography of things": What is their story? Who owned them? How have they been used? How have they been mis-used? How have they been altered? Where did they come from? Each object, each bike for that matter, has a story.

Where "they all went " is it's own statement on the culture.
> In my past career as an archaeologist, I taught about the problems associated with the un-scientific removal of artefacts from their archaeological contexts. How this strips an artefact of meaning - often rendering it meaningless in terms of date, association, and interpretation. Do we accomplish the same thing when we strip the parts from a bike (leaving aside the issues of replacing broken or worn parts) and sell each piece off individually? What will happen to frame #6097 when stripped of its parts? Will it end up in a landfill somewhere? Maybe that is where it should, and probably eventually will, end up. Maybe this bicycle isn't of any real value. Maybe parting-out is the next installment in its story, I don't know. What I do know is that it was valued by someone in the past and has come down to us today with a story or two to tell.

Doesn't EVERYTHING end up in the landfill eventually? Even the collector.
> I would have liked someone who has an interest and an appreciation for bikes to have made the decision on its ultimate fate rather than someone who is clearly driven by the pursuit of the almighty buck. Perhaps I am becoming more nostalgic, but, maybe I just wanted to add yet another chapter to the "cultiural biography" of this particular bicycle. Maybe it is not too late.
> Paul "perhaps waxing too lyrical" Williams,
> Ottawa, ON, Canada

I knew a car collector 35 years ago who had the theory that what you drove, (rode) or wanted, in high school is what you want in later life. This curve is always creeping forward. The collector knows this intuitively. But wait too long and the item looses value due to the decrease in the base of folks that remember or become too old to have any interest in it. I know, I know the crown jewels hold up better than carnival prizes but, you can't ride a Crown.

Going to the dump today David Cowie Sutherlin, Oregon 50ยบ overcast, geese happy

can't have everything, where would I put it?