Printed from www.nzmeccano.com
A Salutory Tale
The dangers of internet auctions
Well, it sounds interesting enough. The picture raises the ante substantially, showing a very unusual dark green box with gold Meccano lettering and appropriate amounts of battering around the edges for a well-kept example. The guide price was unsurprising, at between £200-300. Plus commission this wouldn't be too bad.
In the event, it was sold for £360, plus buyer's commission that makes £441, which sounds pretty much right for a boxed GRB, and possibly on the cheap side...
Further research shows us where these might have come from. John Nuttall used to own one of these...
Two people advertised in the Journal as making replicas. Servetti in '66 and Frampton in '67. I presume the ones Maurice Morris was selling were from one of these sources, but I can't say for sure.John Nuttall
Another repro has turned up in the Rust Bucket forum, but we haven't yet counted the teeth. What is interesting is that this one also has the unusual green box with gold "Meccano" lettering. Was this ever a genuine box? It's not been known as such up till now, and the example we're talking about certainly doesn't inspire confidence, especially since we now have two known with the contents unstamped.
It's not looking so good. We now have what are certainly reproduction GRB plates with a fairly rough rebuild of the contents of the spider in grotty 1970s parts.
The only question remains on the box. Is this genuine Meccano? Was there an early (pre-1928) version of the GRB box (or indeed, a late one) like this? It remains to be seen. My hunch is that these aren't genuine, simply because it's in too good a condition. This GRB was clearly bought and used in a model around 1970, and bears the scars from that use. I can't imagine that this box is more than twice the age of its contents -- otherwise why would it be connected with this part? And another identical box has appeared with a reproduction part in it? But I could be wrong... the auction text clearly claims that the box is "original"...
How carefully are we to expect auctions to check the parts they are selling? It's a difficult one, but this auction reminds us that we have to expect the unexpected on occasions. We've all bought items where something turns up in the box that we didn't expect, and I would imagine that we've all bought lemons too (although many of us won't admit it! :-)) But the point is that if the fourth picture above (showing the inside of the GRB) had been shown on the auction, the price would have been less than half what it ended up as.
Just one of those things to think about when bidding on auctions...
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