Sunday, September 02, 2007

September 2

On reflection I think this will go down as a bad day for Paul Daniels and his ebay transactions.

I mentioned in my last post that he had listed some more books and indeed in total he had six auctions set to end today. Sadly, 4 of the items have gone unsold while the 2 that have been bought have gone to the sole bidders. It's not what I'd call "classic ebay action."

The first item is Saucy Seaside Postcards by Alan Wykes. Paul listed it in his usual way, wisely ignoring the rules of grammar, to giving the book's dimensions (in inches) as well as a good, fair description of the contents: "this 10" x 7.5" hardback book, 132 pages, is in Very Good Condition shows a multitude of postcard illustrations whilst at the same time discussing their history and development."

Paul went on to explain the original publisher and cover price of the book when it was published in 1977 although to be honest I can't work out who the publisher was.

"Original price, when published by Dolphin was £12.95. Originally published in 1977 by Jupiter books."

Which one was it Paul? Dolphin or Jupiter. I'm confused. Luckily ebay user pmmunitt wasn't confused and he paid £5 plus £3 postage costs for the saucy seaside postcard book.


Peculiarly, the second item Paul had up for sale was also a copy of Saucy Seaside Postcards by Alan Wykes. My initial feeling was that Paul must have made a mistake and listed the same item twice but that appears not to be the case.

Everything about the listing was identical. I'm guessing Paul did it as a "cut and paste" job - a phrase that anyone familiar with computers will recognise.

To me this is a schoolboy error in ebay terms. What if there were two ebayers keen to get hold of the Saucy Seaside Postcard book? If there were only one available Paul might have been able to get them into a bidding war, pushing up the sale price. Then he could have listed the second book. Price is related to supply and demand and in listing two identical items at the same time Paul was upping the supply - which any economist knows lowers the price.

As it happens it had no ill-effect because there was only one bidder and this second copy went unsold. We are left to wonder why it is that Paul has two copies of such an esoteric book? Maybe he was given them as presents? We will probably never know. Paul's running total: a profit of £5.

Next up - and I will save you the intrigue, it didn't sell - is Design and Sell Toys, Games and Crafts by the strangely named Filis Frederick.

Like the Saucy Seaside Postcard books this was first published in 1977.

Paul was very keen that potential buyers were not put off by the cover saying: "This book, 10"(inches) x 7"(inches), suffers from having quite a childish dustcover, whereas it is a really useful book of advice on the 'business' behind Toys and Games and Crafts. It has chapters on What makes a Good Game; a Good Toy; a Good Craft, how to get new ideas, how to make good models and write good directions and instructions, how to test the product and how to protect your ideas and so on. This is a gold mine of the business of creativity.The book is in good condition with some fading of the dustcover"
Believe me, when someone as creative as Paul Daniels says that this is a goldmine of "the business of creativity" it must be one hell of a book.

Paul's running total: £5.

Next up is The Advanced Airbrush Book by Cecil Misstear and Helen Scott-Harman.

It seems likely that Paul has been quite a serious photographer in his day as we know that on March 20, 2006 he sold two Mamiya cameras, turning a profit of £328.80 in the process. (Those were halcyon days!) Perhaps this interest in photography explains why he once treasured this book about airbrushing. In his ebay listing he describes it saying, "This superb book, although listed here as 'used' is in very good 'as new' condition and is packed with 'how to' instructions and examples of airbrushing applied to different types of media.

If you are interested in, or work at, airbrushing then this is an essential guide and assistant.

Approx 11"(inches) x 9"(inches)"


It would be fascinating to see some examples of airbrushing that Paul himself has taken on. One can only imagine how a master magician could use such techniques to help make one of his illusions work. I can't believe he's ever had to airbrush any pictures of his lovely wife Debbie McGee - she's too lovely to ever need such treatment. (I have met her.)

I suspect that the world of airbrushing has moved on since this book was published in 1984 which might explain why this title also remains unsold.

Paul's running total: £5.

Aahhh... June Whitfield. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that June is one of Britain's best loved actresses. For many years she was the funny lady in Roy Hudd's Huddlines on the radio, she starred as June in TV's Terry and June which ran for many years and more recently she has been a star all over again in TV's Absolutely Fabulous. What a career! This is her autobiography which is wittily titled, ... and June Whitfield.

Paul's listing says:
"This is the Autobiography of one of the most respected and loved actresses, whose work covers every aspect of showbusiness: Theatre, Radio, TV, drama to comedy. This is the story of a truly nice lady with incredible talents." and it is, Paul tells us 9.5"(inches) x 6"(inches)

What follows is, I think, Paul at his ebay best; factual and humorous at the same time. "the book... not June Whitfield, is listed here as 'used'" Geddit? It's not June that is used - (although I'm sure she wouldn't mind me saying that her age she is a bit) - but it's the book. However Paul goes on to make it clear that the book "is in very good condition, having only been read twice."
I can't help thinking that two such showbiz luminaries as Paul and June are bound to know each other. They'll almost certainly have worked together at some time. I wonder if Paul bought his copy of the book or was given it by June at some point. In which case one wonders what she would think to find Paul listing it on ebay for £5 (plus £3 p+p)? Maybe that's why Paul has made it clear that the book has been read twice? Because he wants June to know that both he and Debbie have read the book.

Someone else who'll be reading the book soon is ebay user magic-for-you who was the sole bidder and lucky winner of the auction. With a user name like that I bet they pay a lot of attention to Paul's auctions and they must be delighted to snap up a bargain like this. They get a showbiz biography that has been sprinkled with two doses of showbiz glitter! Well done magic-for-you.

Paul's running total: £10

The Encyclopedia of Yachting by Peter Johnson is a large book and so Paul opts to describe all three of its dimensions. It is 10"(inches) x 8.5"(inches) x 1.5"(inches)

According to the listing it "covers very many aspects of the art and history of yachting." It is, he says, "Full of great pictures and advice on this great sport" and "in reasonable condition." although I have to say from examining the photograph the cover does look a bit yellowed and perhaps stained to me.

The original cover price was £25 when it was published in 1989 but Paul was only asking £5 for it plus £3.50 p+p but still it hasn't appealed to the ebay community and has remained unsold.

Paul's running total: £10.

So there we have it. Paul has listed 6 items and only sold 2 making himself £10 in the process. Not a sterling performance.

Still, while he isn't quite hitting the ebay highs of yesteryear Paul is definitely paying ebay a lot more attention than in recent months. Not only does he have another batch of books on sale at the moment and due to finish soon but all of the four titles that went unsold today have been relisted. That's an example of the never-say-die attitude that took Paul to the top of the showbiz tree. Never give up Paul. Go get'em!

But for now, I'm sure Paul will enjoy the £10 he has made from selling 2 out of the 6 books. Not a lot!

1 comment:

Kendra Crossen said...

I would like to comment on the phrase about the "strangely named Filis Frederick," author of the book Design and Sell Toys, Games and Crafts (http://pdet.blogspot.com/2007/09/september-2.html). Filis was born Phyllis, but she changed the spelling of her name to Filis because she was a disciple of the spiritual master Meher Baba, who was silent for the last 44 years of his life. When Filis first met him in 1952 he was using an alphabet board -- he pointed to letters on the board to communicate. He spelled her name Filis on the board as a short form of her name, and so she adopted that spelling. It's not strange at all. Filis Frederick was a designer for Mattel for many years and was a brilliantly creative woman.