Friday, August 25, 2006

Is this Paul Daniels too?

Hmmm... I offer today's post as something of an oddity as I have no way of confirming whether or not it is related to the Paul Daniels.

As well as there is, of course, and also, an Irish variation,

As far as I am aware they are all connected and there is no reason for anyone to have specific accounts on more than one version... although I may be wrong about this. Anyway, while researching my blog I discovered a recent item sold on that was bought by a user with the name Normally I wouldn't give this much thought... after all it must be quite a common name and on the internet where you can call yourself anything you want to, there is no way of knowing whether or not someone is using their real name. Maybe it was a Paul Daniels fan who was responsible, who knows.

However, something about the transaction aroused my suspicion. The item was sold on June 22. It was listed as a "SUPERB 1930's CIRCULAR BRASS FRONT DOOR BELL PUSH", it had been professionally polished and was in very good condition and the seller was the rather inappropriately named bell-pull. So far, so ordinary. The item was based in Reading - close to Paul's Wargrave mansion. Okay, so that's probably a coincidence. There were 5 bids, starting with bigbadbex666 who offered £14 before thurgo made it £16. rowlandoffice2000 upped the ante to £21, bigbadbex666 re-entered the fray and came in with £23.43 and then the mysterious is-it-or-isn't-it-him stole the item with a £24.43 bid at the last. (Approximately EUR36.15)

The seller had jazzed up their listing with some background graphics. Here's a small version of what a part of their page looked like:

Now any keen observer of Paul Daniels' ebaytivity - and I count myself amongst them - would instantly recognise that graphic from Paul's listing for a lamp post that I described in the post dated August 21. I know a lot of you won't have seen the original ebay page so I have taken the liberty of grabbing a version and here it is:

It is instantly recognisable as the same graphic. So on June 22, someone with the user name buys a 1930s door-bell-push that is advertised using a particular background graphic and almost exactly one month later the Paul Daniels sells a victorian lamp post and advertises it using exactly the same background graphic!! It could be a coincidence I'm sure, but it's certainly possible that a shrewd seller such as Paul saw and liked the graphic and realised it had been useful in attracting his attention and so decided to use the same for his own 'victoriana.' As I said at the top of this post;'hmmm.'

Is it possible that Paul Daniels has more than one active ebay account? If it's true then it opens up a whole world of possibilities for this blog and a whole host of other transactions that should be included... such as a shock-mount for a microphone (the kind of thing someone planning to record some podcasts might want?) an insect screen for a window (the kind of thing someone who lives by a river might want?) and a mains charger for an ipod... (does Paul own an iPod... if he's planning podcasts (which he is) he probably does...)

I wonder if it was the real Paul Daniels. If so, I'm sure he will enjoy his 1930s door-bell-push. Not a lot!

Monday, August 21, 2006

August 21

These are exciting times at Paul Daniels' Ebay Transactions. Not only has there been some media coverage of the blog with The Independent, The Guardian and Richard & Judy all giving it a plug but it has coincided with a resurgence of ebay activity - or ebaytivity - from the man himself.

Anyway... on August 21st, Paul Daniels completed three sales, selling first a cast iron lamp post streetlight with an ornate top and then the technologically more advanced item - a hologram of Sir Clive Sinclair before finally selling the set of golf clubs that he had failed to sell on August 18th!

First, the lamp. The winning bidder (kopots) is a very lucky bidder indeed because they will get to visit the Daniels/McGee abode as Paul made it very clear that the winning bidder would have to collect. This is more evidence of Paul as a shrewd operator because he must know that doing so only makes the item more attractive to his fans.

Paul provided a lot of photos so that buyers could see exactly what they were buying and what state it was in and he was at pains to explain that the photos had not been retouched in any way.

He then described the item as follows:

VERY Old Street Light - Cast Iron Post

This is NOT a modern copy. This is the REAL THING.

If you are the successful bidder be prepared to come and pick this item up because the cast iron post is very heavy.

The height of the post is 12 feet and the lamp part is another 3 feet 6 inches on top of that! This makes for a magnificent garden feature.

The post has a cross piece near the top (hanging baskets?) and at some time someone has run an electric cable into the top of the lamp. Note to the bidders: re-wire it just to be safe. It looks OK but you never know.

The ornate scroll work around the top is of some soft metal and may be lead. As it has been painted green I have no idea whether this is a copper lamp or not.

As always I'm impressed with Paul's attention to detail. He makes suggestions, regarding the item as a garden feature and the possibility of making use of the cross posts for hanging baskets but never suggests that that is all it is capable of. He mentions the wiring but is safety conscious enough to make sure that the buyers know they have a responsibility to check these things out. A famous person like Paul doesn't need the bad publicity that would come with an electrocuted ebay buyer!!

This was an unusual item and it was always going to raise questions with potential buyers. Of course Paul was always on hand to answer them as best he could. The first question came from someone called Rob, who asked, "How much do you think this item weighs as I have a transit pickup that carries 1 ton in weight. Anything over this weight would overload me and i would be taking a chance driving back up the motorway. Cheers Rob"

Paul reply was as honest as normal: "I have no means of weighing it. The top part is very light and I can lift that very easily. The post is the heavy bit. I can lift one end if I do the job properly and bend my knees! To get it into a van is a three man lift to prevent an accident."

Let's not forget that Paul is no spring chicken. While he might appear exceedingly vibrant and energised on stage, in real life he is nearly 70 so if he is able to lift one end of the pole one can surmise that it isn't too heavy. But does Paul promise them that the pole weighs less that 1 ton just to encourage them to bid? Of course not. He lets them make their own judgement - caveat emptor: buyer beware. Fair play.

The next question comes from someone called Bub who frankly appears not to have read the first question. "You say the post is very heavy??...I have Arthritis & my Husband,Bertie is awaiting a Hernia question is:-if we were to be successful in winning this lampost...who would be available to load it onto our pick-up??? you have the strength or means to load it for us??...many thanks,Bub"

Paul doesn't lose his temper with this question, he just replies cryptically, "There's always a way..." and indeed he's right. If you have a heavy pole on a pick-up, you're going to need help when you get it back home... if that can be arranged I'm sure Paul is capable of rustling up some Wargravian help from a few chaps prepared to bend their knees.

Now... the bidding. This started with an amazingly low bid of £1.04 from Samantha4223 which was rapidly overtaken by mistywood29's £1.90 bid. A fifth bid came in at £5 frin chameleon_trading_international (who regular readers will recall was also bidding for both sets of golf clubs recently.) aimeepeers then came in with a devilish £6.66 before twomo29 made what might be the first remotely serious offer of £20.

aimeepeers showed that he/she was actually a serious bidder and came back with £51.13 which was then pushed to another 6-centric bid of £66.66. Then a truly serious bidder made his presence felt when eddierocket0 turned up. His bids rapidly rose from £73 to £120 stopping at £80, £85, £95, £99, £105, £110 and £115 along the way although he was pipped by a £127.05 bid from griss2006.

griss2006 probably thought the lamp post was his/hers for good but right at the last minute kopots stole in with a £129.05 bid and the lamp was theirs. I wonder what they made of Paul's luxurious Wargrave home when they went to collect it? Did they have a cup of tea with him and admire the river views? There isn't room in the ebay feedback section to make this clear but kopots did say "Excellant (sic) Ebayer,Excellant(sic) Service,Thankyou!!!!!!!"

Now... Paul's second sale of the day... the Clive Sinclair hologram. A great curiosity... is it art? is it science? Those aren't my words but the words of Paul Daniels himself as written in his description of the item. The answer, as I'm sure Paul well knows, is that the item is both art and science.

The item was produced by a man called Rob Munday in 1990, a time when Paul claims it was impossible to make a hologram of a living person. This seems like a crazy claim because we know that Clive Sinclair (now Sir Clive Sinclair) is a living person but Paul says that he believes this hologram was made of a sculpture. What a holographer has to do to make a hologram that a statue can withstand but a human can't is not explained. Maybe it involves bombarding the subject with radiation! Maybe it just involves being perfectly still for a long time. That is something I suppose you would have to ask Rob Munday about!

Paul explains how life like the item is (although any fool can see as much from the amazing photograph (are those Debbie's hands?)) and that it is best lit by a normal halogen lamp, the sort that he rightly says, "most people now have set into their ceilings."

The bidding started with the mysteriously named hotv8aw(private) offering £1.04 although this bid soon became £3 and then £5. £5 is also where the now familiar chameleon_trading_international joined the fray although it wasn't long before bigpostie72 came in with £6. (You'd think bigpostie76 would be bidding for the big post that was sold earlier today!) hotv8aw(private) reentered the game with a £10 bid but a new bidder v.i.n.t.a.g.e came in with £11.01 and then £12.01 before frodo_baggins_uk came in with £13. Those extra pennies looked to be the making of v.i.n.t.a.g.e who pipped them with £13.01 but chameleon_trading_international stepped in once more with £15. vanfan2000 raised the stakes with a £21.77 offer, frodo_baggins_uk tried again with £26 but was gazumped by vanfan2000 once more with a huge increase and a statement-bid of £51.77. It wasn't enough though and as is often the way, a new bidder stole it at the last with 3692roy making the item theirs with a £52.77 winning bid. Well done 3692roy.

On August 18th I explained how Paul had failed to sell a set of golf clubs that were made from the propellor of the cruise liner, the QEII. Well Paul obviously doesn't take failure lightly and he has transformed it into a successful sale. The highest bid for the clubs had been £410.01 and they had not met their reserve price. They had a buy-it-now price of £1500 on their first listing. Well Paul obviously realised that he wanted that £410.01 more than he wanted the clubs as today the listing appears to have magically changed... the clubs now have a buy-it-now price of £410.01 and so l7net's bid has secured the clubs. No wonder he/she left feedback for Paul saying "MAGIC - everything - can't be faulted, thank you."

Paul once owned a big cast iron lamp post street lamp, a bizarre hologram representation of a technology entrepreneur and a set of clubs made from a luxury cruise-liner's propellor... but I'm sure he will enjoy spending the £591.83 he has made by selling them. Not a lot!

Friday, August 18, 2006

August 18

On August 18, Paul Daniels failed to sell this spectacular set of golf clubs.
Despite offers reaching over £410, the reserve was not met and the clubs remain unsold.

However, three other golf clubs were successfully sold for £22. I will describe the failed auction first:

They are an astonishing set of golf clubs manufactured in 1988 by the company Swilken of St Andrews and they are made out of the metal from the propellor from the cruise liner the QEII!!

They must have been very large propellors as they made 7500 sets of clubs out them! The set Paul was selling was number 334. I can't think why Paul had bought them as according to the listing on ebay, the clubs are still in the wrapping, in the original foam and in the original crate.

I'm surprised there hasn't been more interest in these as they would be a great souvenir for someone who loves their golf and would make a great wall display on a club house wall. More importantly, Paul, aware of how attractive a set of clubs they were was offering to show them to any prospective buyers who wanted to drop in on his Berkshire home. I would have thought the chance to meet Paul alone would have aroused some interest but sadly not enough.

Clearly aware that this was an item deserving a high price Paul was concerned that buyers might not trust him - after all, buying online can feel a bit risky at times. Paul has an advantage here though as he has a reputation that cannot be beaten as a much-loved entertainer. Which is why he added to the product listing: If you are outside the UK and don't know whether to trust me, well, you can just about ask anyone from the UK to vouch for me. Look at to find out what I mean!

I wonder if any potential buyers from America did ask their English buddies to explain who Paul Daniels was and if they did... I wonder what answer they got? Whatever people think of Paul as a magician, I cannot imagine anyone thinking he was a dishonest man and any potential buyer would have been sure to trust him.

The auction started with several mistaken bids which were withdrawn. On August 12, the first incorrect bid came from a mrozinski5 whose £25.01 was then withdrawn. That was at 11.32 am, but at 21.51 that evening harleysoflittleport made an incorrect bid of £444 and not long after teb44947 made an incorrect bid of £66 at 22.18.

The incorrect bids continued the next day with artyffects making a £450 bid at 20.57 and chameleon trading international making a £100 bid at 03.13. Oh dear... this was a very inauspicious start.

Never mind... on August 15 worldwideaudiobooks made a serious offer of £100 which was later topped by a bid of £250 from 17net. 17net's bid was stretched to £270 and then £300 before worldwideaudiobooks seized control with a cheekt £300.03. 17net took back the initiative with a £350 offer but it swung back to worlwideaudiobooks with £400.01 which was then outdone with an extra tenner and a £410.01 bid from 17net.

Sadly this wasn't enough and the clubs, which had a 'buy it now' price of £1500 !! remained unsold having not reached their reserve.

Now... the successfully sold clubs were rather different and had no QEII connection.
They were wooden shafted clubs and Paul described them as being in good condition although he did say that one of the clubs had a rivet holding the shaft to the head of the club.

Paul described the three clubs as follows:

Club 1: Warranted Hand Forged; MID-IRON; Special

Club 2: Made in Scotland; Hand Forged; Special; H Donegan Hanging Heaton; H Logans; The GENII Model Mashie-Niblick (please note the head on this club is slightly loose)

Club 3: Warranted Hand Forged; Jack White Autograph; Driving Iron (there is also a small circular logo on the head of this club)

Paul doesn't say which 'Jack White' has autographed the third club, but I doubt it is the one out of The White Stripes. (A popular band)

The bidding for this item started with a cheeky £1.55 offer from roialt. This was followed with a bid of £5 from chameleon trading international (which explains their incorrect big for the other clubs somewhat.) This bid was pushed to £10 before magicmayo came in with a £14.99 offer. This was pipped by chameleon trading international with a £15 bid but they weren't in the game for long. fatbig1 came in with a £17 bid, then £20 before magicmayo came back once more with a £21.21 offer. But fatbig1 would not be denied and took the item with a £22 bid. Well done fatbig1.

I imagine Paul will enjoy looking at the golf clubs he still owns and knowing that even though he was ready to part with them he is still has the 334th set of clubs to be made from the QEII propellor as well as the £22 he made by shifting the three wooden shafted clubs. Not a lot!