Category: Auction Antics

Auction Antics: My First Two Auctions!

Long time no post! I’ve been busy as hell, after finishing my degree I ended up doing a masters, and now I’m juggling volunteering, a job, my degree, and allegedly looking after myself as well. Tech trading is still something I do, and currently my database tells me I’ve got 42 laptops in stock! Nothing is really ready to go at the moment and a lot of those will be sold as-is as they were acquired in a job lot which I’ve sold the good stuff out of now. I also currently have a selection of TVs, audio gear and laptops currently on eBay.

I do intend to get this going again, but for the next month or so while I’m dealing with assessment hand ins and, oh, I don’t know, finding a job and somewhere to live post-university, I’m going to try and get out weekly posts of past stories. Once everything’s all over and I have a house with some proper space to work from (I look forward to not having a stack of laptops under the bed!), I might even try the vlog thing again! I’ll try and keep Twitter (@SorryNoRefunds) updated with brief pictures of purchases I make/things that happen in the mean time between posts.

Anyway, enough rambling, let’s hear about my auction experiences!

When standing a car boot a couple of years back, someone told me of an auction on a certain road nearby (about 15-20 miles from where I live, but not ridiculously far from where this boot was being held). I never found this online, so didn’t know when it ran, and when I drove past the ‘site’, it looked like an abandoned building. Fast forward to last summer, and a man I previously bought items from on another car boot mentioned this auction again. This time I managed to find the time and dates of the auction out. So, mildly nervous as I’ve never been to an auction before, I headed there one Friday and gave it a go.

It was a bizarre experience. I mean, it was being held in what looked like an abandoned village hall, it was hardly going to be Sotheby’s. Tat in every spare gap in the room, and only about 25 or so people there to bid on said tat. The auctions were fast paced. But eventually I plucked up the courage to start bidding… and that I definitely did! Here’s what I got (sorry for the lack of pictures on most things!) – Just to clarify, each price had 30p commission added on top.

  • Two CD/radio stereo systems – one missing a speaker grille – £1
  • A box of electrical tat for £1, containing:
    • A rechargeable torch with the power of a million candles (cue Rhod Gilbert set)
    • A Camping Gaz gas heater
    • A USB keyboard
    • Two table lamps
    • A desk fan with a damaged guard.
    • Some surround sound speakers and assorted wires
    • A really dodgy looking extension cable
  • A desktop PC in a rough looking Coolermaster case – £1
  • Three MP3 players – £1
  • A Dyson DC05 vacuum cleaner – £1
  • A Hoover upright vacuum cleaner – £3

How much did I pay for the lot including commission? £9.80. Upon testing, the Dyson and 1 MP3 player were dead, and the fan was scrap, but everything else worked. The Dyson sold for £3, the Hoover, after a damn good clean and a replacement belt (£1.69), sold for £20, the torch went for £2, the heater for £1, the stereos for £2 overall. A total so far of £29, or roughly £17 profit.

The desktop PC? Well, that’s a Core 2 Duo E6600, with 2GB RAM, a 320GB hard drive, an Nvidia 7900GS, a DVD drive and a card reader. All working, and with a fresh install of 7, it sold for £30. So we’re at £47 profit with two MP3 players, a keyboard and the two desk lamps left. The MP3 players then sold for £2, so that’s a total of £49. I threw the keyboard in with a system, and binned the rest due to them going mouldy in storage.

The next week, a friend decided to get in on the action and come and join me. So, this is what I ended up with this time:

  • A basket of laptop chargers – £7
  • A Dell Latitude D610, charger and bag – £5
  • A Sony DAB stereo – £2
  • A box of CDs – £1
  • Three old car stereos – £1
  • A Logitech iPod dock – £3

Total spend, £20.80. Out of interest, my friend ended up with a trolley jack for £1. The Dell worked when RAM was added (2GHz Pentium M, came with 512MB RAM of dead RAM, upped that to 1GB, and an 80GB hard drive), but is missing two covers off the base which are 99p a pop on eBay. The charger and battery were dead, but I had a good charger and battery in stock already. Sold for £20. The DAB stereo was dead but looked smart so was sold for £2 for spares, the Logitech dock does work when tested with a spare power supply (nicked from the basket of chargers) but needs a proper power supply at £10 – it’s a Pure-Fi Anywhere and has quite a decent sound, so I’m tempted to keep this for myself. The CDs are an alright mix of music, and I made about £2.50 on the car boot with various CDs and then another £1.50 at CEX with the leftover ones. I may have kept the ‘Best of Sash!’ CD.

The chargers are a varied assortment, some Vaio and Toshiba (the 15v ones like the older ones take) power supplies in there, although the Vaio one I tested didn’t seem to work at first. The basket has come in useful as storage though, and had a £5 price tag on it from Matalan! The car stereos are an interesting punt – they’re all from old 80s vehicles. I know enthusiasts do like to put the original equipment back in where possible, so these could sell for money. I’ve got a Ford ESRT 21 PS that sadly doesn’t support FM, but would have been equipped in Mk2 Fiestas from the research I’ve done, a generic Philips unit with an Austin Rover part number on the base (this allegedly came from a late 80s Rover 216, a vehicle most would recognise as being from the sitcom Keeping Up Appearances), and a Jaguar branded Clarion unit that was allegedly fitted to the XJS and XJ12 models. These were put on eBay as a job lot and fetched £13.

Fast forward a bit further to a couple of winters ago, and I found an auction in my uni town, and decided to give it a go. There was nothing the first time (and I totally didn’t receive a ticket for going over a level crossing slightly later than I should have on the way there), but the second time I went a couple of weeks afterwards, and I didn’t do too badly. I bought:

  • LG 19″ TV, for £5.50
    • This is an LG M197WD, a monitor/TV combo job with a TV tuner, 2 SCART, component/composite, 2 HDMI, DVI and VGA inputs. Works fine, but has a non-genuine remote. This sold for £25 without me having to source a proper remote.
  • Box of assorted for £5.50, containing:
    • A lot of charity shop/bin worthy junk.
    • A set of Logitech Z-323 speakers – didn’t work. Got binned.

Later purchases from this auction include a set of Logitech Z-506 speakers that didn’t work, but I was able to claim under the warranty with these and got a brand new set, which I’ve kept (total cost to me, £12).

So, auctions. Would I do it again? Yeah, sure. The one thing to remember is buyer beware. Had I looked at items more thoroughly I would’ve spotted the lack of power adapter on the Logitech, the missing screws on the back of the DAB stereo and possibly other things.

Since I originally wrote this, I’ve been back to both auctions and even sold something (a 50″ ancient plasma TV that didn’t work for about £10) at the latter one. The first auction has turned into pure crap really, they do have some more modern stuff like TVs but they want good money for somewhat untested goods, and things like laptops get bid up to hell (£20 for what I think was a HP G62 that looked like it had lost a fight with a pickaxe? No thanks!), and due to it being back at home, I don’t go. The latter one? I’ve been once or twice but they lack technology really. I did get an EEE PC with a destroyed DC jack for about £5 once, which for the screen and hard drive was worth it, but other than that there isn’t really a lot.