Wednesday, August 29, 2007
On the 29th August, Paul Daniels successfully bid for an erotic mermaid wood netsuke. "What's a netsuke?" I hear you cry. I asked that question myself. Luckily the seller, ebay user mokrat4, explains exactly what one is in his listing for the item.
"Netsuke's originated in Japan and came into being over 300 years ago. The Kimono (traditional Japanese dress) had no pockets so the people carried a small hanging object - AN INRO- to keep all their possessions in. The INRO had drawstrings to keep it closed and to attach it to the wearers waist. The toggle which secured the drawstrings to the waist was known as the NETSUKE and was both functional and aesthetically pleasing.The OJIME (sliding bead) was strung to the cord between the netsuke and the INRO to tighten or loosen the opening of the INRO.... NETSUKES were made from wood / bone or ivory and were probably always delicately carved. This required enormous skill and craftmanship from the carver. As time went on the carvers became famous for their originality and imagination and often they signed their work in respect to this."
Hmmm... so, without wishing to be disrespectful to any Japanese readers it seems that a netsuke is a... erm... toggle!
The seller has written a long and forceful description and really gone on the hard sell but I have to take issue with him/her over one thing. They describe the Netsuke as being a "beautifully carved and erotic wood netsuke of a half naked erotic mermaid posing with her long fin." Now, let's ignore the double use of the word "erotic" and instead focus on the description? Is she really "half naked?" I don't think so. She is a mermaid. She is half-human and half-fish but both halves are fully naked.
Anyway, the seller really went to work providing practical details, ("the piece on offer here is 5.5cm in length"/"the netsuke is signed by the artist") as well as pure salesmanship, ("the detailed work on both the mermaids body, face and tail is exceptional"/"these pieces will probably increase in value over time so there is an investment opportunity")
Hmm... well, I suppose one has to admire the seller's listing technique. Whether Paul bought it as an investment or because of the carving's erotic appeal we can only guess at. What I can tell you is that he was the only bidder and that he paid £4.99 for the item plus £2.75 for postage and packaging.
I'm sure Paul will enjoy his 5.5cm long, Japanese carving of a completely naked mermaid. Not a lot!
Monday, August 27, 2007
I'm sure you can imagine how that whetted my whistle. I couldn't wait for the magic man's next bout of ebay action.
I didn't have to wait long and he soon had some of those books up for sale.
The first is called Empires, Hippodromes and Palaces. It is written by Jack Read (surely, he should be called Jack Write!) and has a foreword from radio funnyman Roy Hudd. It is 9.5"(inches) x 6.5" and Paul proudly declared that it is in excellent condition with only a slight curling of the dustcover. The book tells the story of Frank Matcham, who Paul says was the greatest theatre designer and architect of all time. As you'd expect it contains many photos of his creations but Paul was also keen to point out that there are many photos of the artists who worked in them. A great find for a theatre buff that's for sure. Paul had what I thought was a steep asking price of £5 and £3.50 p+p but I suppose he must feel like he got burned over the recent glass-bowl-with-swirling-design-sold-for-99p debacle.
It was sold to the one and only bidder; tattyratty who must be delighted to be buying a theatrical book from one of the countries leading practitioners of the theatrical arts!
Next up was a book with the racy title, The Ultimate Seduction by Charlotte Chandler. Don't worry, it isn't Paul revealing the secret methods he used to woo the magical beauty Debbie McGee, it's actually a selection of celebrity interviews.
Paul makes it clear that in this book the celebrities are people who've really earned the title and are not what he dismisses as "TV 15 minute wonders." And he's not wrong, Woody Allen, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Alfred Hitchcock, Henry Moore, Laurence Olivier, Pablo Picasso, King Vidor, Mae West and Tennessee Williams are all in there. (To be honest, I have no idea who King Vidor is or what he has done to "earn" his celebrity, but that's just splitting hairs.) Here's a top tip for any ebayer - use a bit of wit. Paul certainly does. "The dustcover paper sleeve is slightly... dusty... so it has done its job." See what I mean... by using a gag he has turned the negative (a dusty dust cover) into a positive (it's done its job.) Well done Paul.
I'm amazed this item didn't start a bidding war, but no, it sold to its one and only bidder for the princely sum of £5 (+£3.50 p+p) but this time the lucky reader was thebubba666. 666! Yikes! Still, that sets Paul up with a running total of £10.
The next book was called For Millionaires Only so maybe it wasn't bought because people assumed that unless they were millionaires it wasn't really for them. You don't get many millionaires hanging about on ebay after all! (Except Paul Daniels, of course!) But actually this book by Gordon Cruickshank is all about the world's most glamorous cars. It shows you the history and lifestyle that goes with the most expensive cars and features many beautiful photographs. It is 9"(inches) x 11.5" and Paul adds "apart from some curling and dust on the dustcover, is just about as new."
Why Paul chose not to do the dustcover gag on this listing is a mystery and might go some way towards explaining why the book didn't sell. Maybe it's because the book was published in 1993 and the world of millionaire's cars has moved on significantly since then. Maybe it's because Paul misspelled the author's name wrong in the listing. Anyone looking for a book by Gordon Cruickshank won't have found this listing, as Paul missed out the vital middle 'c.' Paul was offering the book for £4 (+£3.50 p+p) but is still the proud owner of a book about expensive cars. Oh well. Running total... still £10.
Finally for this batch (there are more coming in a few days!) we get to It Ends With Magic. One can imagine Paul - the nation's favourite conjuror snapping this up purely because it has the word "magic" in the title. If that was the case he would have been disappointed to discover that it is actually a memoir by the late great Spike Milligan.
In Paul's listing he says, "this is quite a large, heavy, book and it is the story of the Milligan family. Filled not only with wonderful reminisces of a bygone age, Spike also inserted a lot of photographs and his own drawings."
He also quotes Spike's words from the rear of the book;
"This story is in essence true. I have written in my own whymsical style, which I inherited from both sides of my family, it has been gleaned from my mother's and father's diaries, letters, notebooks and stories passed down by word of mouth. Fortunately, since the age of four, I have remembered very clearly any stories, recollecitons I've heard from the adults of my family. I've never written a book like this before; it is an atempt to collate a history of the Milligans and Kettlebands for my descendants to read." Spike Milligan.
thebubba666 was clearly delighted with both of his purchases and has now left identical feedback for both purchases saying, "Great Packaging. Totally Fab books....all good.....many thanks" and the buyer of Empires, Hippodromes and Palaces, tattyratty, agreed, saying "Excellent item. Excellent service. Many thanks." Paul has given both buyers positive feedback, quite possibly using a cut-and-paste technique as it is identical each time: "Good buyer, prompt payment, valued customer, highly recommended."
Paul has more books for sale and the auctions end in less than a week so check back soon to find out how they go.
But for now, I'm sure Paul will enjoy the £18 he has made from selling 3 out of the 4 books. Not a lot!
Sunday, August 26, 2007
On August 26th, Paul Daniels bid for, but did not win, a remote control for a Nintendo Wii.
I think the seller !etty1978 did very well here. They know they have a highly desirable item and they know how to market it. They put this up for a one day auction and at a starting price of 99p! Within 24 hours it had gone up to £18.25! That's top quality ebaying.
Their listing gave all the vital information telling us that it was a "brand new and sealed Wii remote" and a "PAL - UK version" that "has never been used or taken out of the packet." They added that it "comes with 2 new batteries so is ready to play immediately" but also alerted people to the fact that it "does not inlcude the wii Play Game as they are being sold in another auction."
I like this listing. There's no room for confusion. No one who has a non PAL console can complain that it's the wrong remote. Nobody can complain that they thought it was the game they were buying. It is what it is and it says what it is. And it paid off.
The starting price was 99p but pearson081701 came in with a bid of £2.21. Paul was having none of that and upped it to £12.25, a bid that was later pushed to £14.75 before being usurped by adturb's bid of £16. Paul retaliated with £16.25 but he was fighting a losing battle an with only minutes to go, laurawilliams21 came in with £17.25 and then, ten seconds before the auction's end, lissigibson won the day with a bid of £18.25.
Five bidders, seven bids... it really was top ebay action. !etty1978 gave lissigibson great feedback saying, "Fast payment, a pleasure to sell to! Please call again" but I'll bet that what makes lissigibson really happy is the knowledge that she beat Britain's best magician in an ebay auction.
I'm sure Paul will enjoy the knowledge that lissigibson now owns a Wii Remote Control and he doesn't. Not a lot!
Monday, August 20, 2007
If you ever see Paul perform live there's a very strong chance that you will see him do something pretty remarkable with a lemon and an orange - it is, I believe, one of his strongest illusions. But I was unaware that he had any particular interest in fruit.
Well he obviously has. Hence his latest ebay purchase: The Fruit Expert by Dr. D. G. Hessayon. The book claims that it is the world's best selling book on fruit.
It was sold by bonzopepi who I think could learn a lesson or two from Paul about how to sell on ebay. His simple listing said simply: Brand new book. All you need to know on fruit. Any questions, please contact me!! Please see my other listings!!
Is it illustrated? Are there photos? Does it concentrate on any particular fruits? What about the more exotic fruits? He doesn't say. Still this didn't deter cannersforever from opening the bidding on August 14 with a cheeky £2.01. But Paul was a wily bidder (would we expect anything else?) and he managed to sneak in as the auction ended with a winning £2.21. With £1.99 postage and packing, Paul has managed to spend a total of £4.20 to secure his copy of the world's best selling book on fruit!
The seller was clearly delighted with Paul's ebaying and gave him great feedback saying, "100% great buyer !! fully reccomend!!!" Paul has returned the compliment with "Great service, thank you."
I'm sure Paul will enjoy learning everything he needs to know about fruit. Not a lot!
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Well, there is evidence of his improvement with the placing of another item on ebay. It's a glass bowl with swirling design. Paul doesn't know too much about the item but wisely says, "The photographs say it all." - and I think he's right. I mean, just look:
Paul adds, "This is a beautiful 12 inch diameter shallow bowl (2.5 inches high) having a swirling design. I know that it is quite old as it used to belong to my wife's grandmother. I am afraid that I know nothing more."
In the posting options Paul decided to not post the item at all saying instead that it was available for local pick-up only. This seems to me to be a mistake from such an experienced ebayer as Paul. Maybe this is the night-walker ebaying and not the sharp as tacks magic man. It makes sense when it's an item like the cast iron lamp post, street light that he sold last August... it would be impossible to post. But with a 12 inch diameter glass bowl, while postage might have been prohibitively expensive to some it has surely reduced the potential buyers. While I would expect some people would consider the chance to visit Paul's Wargrave home would be an added bonus to the purchase there will be others who would like to buy the bowl but are just not prepared to drive to Berkshire to collect it. Hmmm. An odd choice to be sure.
And no doubt this is responsible for the poor performance of what is a lovely item. There has been only one bid, from a user called numpty07 who has snapped up the bowl for a measly 99p. Imagine that! For less than a pound numpty07 has bought a lovely glass bowl with swirling design that was formerly owned by Debbie McGee's grandparents and secured a visit to Paul Daniel's lovely riverside house. (Incidentally, you'll be glad to know that his house has been undamaged by the recent floods. The garden was soaked but the house was fine. Paul also came up with the novel idea of leaving his valuables in small inflatable boats which proved invaluable in the garage where water did land.)
It is too early to know if and when the bowl will be collected by numpty07 but I will do my best to keep you up to date with any information that reaches the public domain regarding this sale. I can tell you that while numpty07 has yet to leave feedback for Paul, Paul appears to be a bit unhappy with his 99p and has lashed out rather using the ebay tactic of neutral feedback saying, "An ordinary low price transaction, no comments either way." Oh Paul... I'm sure most ebayers agree, feedback shouldn't have anything to do with the price paid... it's all about how numpty07 conducted him or herself.
Oh well, I'm sure Paul will enjoy spending the 99p he has earned from selling this glass bowl with swirling design. Not a lot!