LORDS OF THE RINGS...
Regular users of eBay will know there's no shortage of Speccy items available. What was once considered obsolete skip material has now become highly collectable, and mint condition hardware and scarce software titles regularly go for a pretty penny.
Unfortunately, some people seem to think ALL retro computing items more than 20 years old are incredibly valuable. The classic trick of some sellers is to stick 'RARE' in every heading, so you get ridiculous listings like 'RARE!!! Make A Chip for Sinclair Spectrum', when in fact everyone who owns any quantity of Spectrum software has at least ten copies of this damn program. I've often wondered how many copies of Make A Chip were actually produced - the total surely runs into millions!
Anyhow, although I (and the rest of the Spectrum community) generally laugh at eBay sellers who give a 60 quid starting prices to 48k macines without a box or put a 10 quid Buy It Now price on a copy of the Horizons cassette (you know, the one that came free with the computer), occasionally I am left totally dumbfounded by the sheer cluelessness of some sellers, who have got the impression if it's old and computer-related, it must be worth a good wedge.
Take, for example, this recent listing for 'Lord of the Rings Sinclair Spectrum Game'. For this title, in mint condition, complete with both cassettes, instructions and the novel, the going rate on eBay is anything from £5 to £10. Without the novel, you are perhaps looking at £2 or £3 maximum.
Therefore, it was something of a surprise when wombleulike from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire decided to start the bidding for an incomplete copy of LOTR at £30, with a Buy It Now price of £40. Click here to see a screenshot of the listing.
Unsurprisingly, after several days of no bids, the seller pulled the item and relisted - at a starting price of £7.00 and with a Buy It Now price of £14.00. Click here to see the second listing.
But there was something different about the listing, and the text describing the item as 'missing original free novel' had been removed. Whether this was an innocent oversight or a deliberate attempt to make the game appear more valuable, is not clear
In the event, the relisted item only attracted one bidder who offered £7.00. As this didn't meet the reserve - which was apparently set at a tenner - the auction ended without a successful bidder.
To be fair to the seller, when contacted by the Sinclair Lair for his side of the story, he did admit to feeling rather foolish about his attempts to flog the game for such a stupid price.
"I thought seen as Lord of the Rings is the vogue at the mo that I'd get something worthwhile for a game that I got way back in the late 80's," he explained. "My spectrum doesn't work anymore and so I have no use for it, I've never seen any of the Lord of the Rings films either (4 hours of sitting would make my back go numb).
"I did some research and although I found out it was rare I couldn't find any prices. Then I stumbled across a poster advertising the C64 version of the game on the US ebay that was going for $35. I figured that if that's how much these fools would pay for the poster then £40 wouldn't be over the top for the actual game itself.
"As it happens I was the fool and no one wanted it, even for a tenner!" The last comment seems to refer to the reserve price specified when the game was relisted, which wasn't met.
The seller added that it was nice to know an article had been inspired by his "stupidity and greed".
As this is written, wombleulike hasn't yet relisted the game. But if he does, hopefully they will remember to state the novel is missing and give the item a rather more realistic starting price.
* Seen any similarly overpriced
Sinclair Spectrum items being offered on eBay? Drop us a line at alex@Xwaddington.fslife.co.uk.
(Remove the X before sending your email).