ZX81 Fails To Sell For £500 Shocker
Following on from our article earlier this year about an optimistic chap trying to sell Lord of The Rings for the ZX Spectrum for a bargain £40 on eBay, we have another amusing Internet auction tale to recount.
On 10 October 2004, a recent member called 'daffordil123' from Cardiff decided to auction off a ZX81 on eBay. Nothing wrong with that you might think - except for the fact they started the bidding at a whopping £500!
The item, which was listed without a picture, was described as thus: "SINCLAIR ZX81 COMPUTER PLUS CASSETTES ALSO INSTRUCTION BOOKLET PLUS MAGAZINES IN VERY GOOD CONDITION WILL SELL FOR £500. BUYER TO PAY FOR POSTAGE. A COLLECTERS ITEM SO BID NOW."
The last comment suggests the seller was expecting to be deluged with demand for his 'SINCLAIR ZX81 COMPUTER + ACCESSORISE. IN VERY GOOD CONITION. NOT IN ORIGINAL BOX". But the response from vibrant Sinclair Spectrum community to this listing was a mixture of amazement and laughter! Click here to see a screenshot of the listing.
The Lair was first alerted to this potential bargain by Mark Webber. "You'll be very surprised to see the starting bid," he wrote. "You'll then laugh yourself stupid when you read the 'Questions from other buyers' section."
And laugh we did, when we spied a question from someone called 'Adam', asking why 'daffordill123' was demanding so much for the vintage but fairly common computer. The reply came as quick as a flash: "I know that this item in mint condition with original box would fetch between £900 to £1000 but the one I am selling is in mint condition but without the original box."
Word of this gem of a listing spread quickly across the Spectrum and retro computing communityand by the time the auction ended on 20 October - sadly, for the seller, without a single bid - a massive 1270 people had viewed the item.
Still, at least its appearance prompted a lively exchange in the World Of Spectrum 'Sales' forum.
In response to the seller's assertion a mint ZX81 would be worth around £1000, Monty.mole proffered: "Where? On planet Zarkon?!? Zarkonian Pounds, is that?
"This is one of the more ludicrous auctions I have seen! Yet another zero rated trader jumping on the 'retro' bandwagon, selling something without conducting any research whatsoever!
"I hope they come back down to Earth with a resounding thud. Either that, or I'm sitting on an absolute goldmine of Sinclair hardware myself. A nice nest egg for my early retirement! Now, what's the number for that security guard firm "
psj3809 replied: "I messaged him a sarcastic one saying was it made out of gold or something! I mean i don't mind people selling retro things to make some money as you don't know their situation but this auction? Come on!
"It's probably cost him about 6 quid to list it with a high starting price and even a reserve! With a reserve set why on earth didn't he just put it at a pound starting price? At least he would get bids. Crazy."
Given the seller's astronomical valuation and willingness to throw money for listing fees down a big black hole, The Lair suggests 'daffordil123' might want to consider specifying their location as 'Mars', 'Pluto' or 'Venus' the next time they log-on to eBay.
Who knows, more great bargains may be just around the corner; perhaps a 'rare' copy of Horizons with a slightly ripped inlay starting at just £20, or maybe a +2 with a dodgy tape deck and a missing 'J' key for a bargain Buy It Now price of £200? We wait with baited breath!