People who sell vintge lights on eBay and etsy. . Random thoughts

wjv

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Aug 1, 2012
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Just an observation or two or three. .

I realize that many of these people sell all sorts of stuff and don't specialize in flashlights. But still I'm amazed at the number of listings I see that say something like: "I don't have any 'D' (or 'C') batteries so I don't know if this light works".

I always think, for $4-$5 dollars you can go to the Dollar Tree (or similar store)and come home with a pack each of 'AAA', 'AA', 'C' and 'D' batteries. Now I don't recommend these batteries for general usage, but to simply keep in a drawer and to use for testing flashlights and other electronic goods seems like a good investment.

Several times I was about to buy a flashlight, and then saw the "I don't know if it works" tag line. So I passed. Don't people realize that if they can say "It works", it will probably sell faster, and possibly for more money?

I know that some of these people know very little about flashlights, but just 2 days ago I received a Ranger from a seller on etsy. It was described as: Uses 2 'C' cells, and the black square button doesn't work when you press it, but the regular switch works fine.

The light was a 2x'D' light, and the momentary switch worked just fine. The seller had no idea that you had to push the main switch to the half-way point to allow the momentary switch to work. Personally I was quite happy with both "errors". I like the 'D' cell versions over the 'C' cell lights of that vintage, and was also happy that the momentary switch did work.

So no complaints. . Just some observations. Actually makes finding and buying these lights more interesting! :)

On a side note, my biggest disappointment so far has been a "Top-Lite" that supposedly was a light provided as a promotional accessory by GM & Ford in their vehicles.

It is cheaply constructed and has one of the most hideous beams I've ever seen. A large center spot, but with several random dark spots in it. I tried 3 different kinds of bulbs and they all gave similar results. So finally I tossed in one of my 50 lumen LED direct replacements and I gave me a incredibly super floody, fairly artifact free beam. So while I perter to keep original bulbs in my vintage lights, I think I'll make an exception in this case.

The Eveready Baby Captain and the Ranger have OK beams. About what you would expect. But the RayOVac Sportsman has an incredible super focused beam. Reminds me of a MagLite on max focus. I live in a semi-rural area and aimed it at some homes on the next block that I know ate a measured 210 meters away, and was actually ably to see some viable illumination. Not a lot, but enough to easily see. At 100 meters it is quite effective.

Now I have a Olight SR52UT that can illuminate nicely at 700 meters. But for a 50 year old flashlight that probably sold for $1.99 at the time to do what this one does is quite impressive to me!!

BTW: Why do so many flashlights look like they were used to hammer nails into 2x4s?

Heading out on vacation. But when I get back I should have 2-3 more lights sitting in boxes waiting for me. At some point I'll do a group photo.
 
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Minimoog

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With lights I find often a picture speaks a thousand words. I don't mind if if does not work as long as the condition is good and no parts missing. In fact not working is often better as it has had less use that one that has kept on going. Usually just a bad contact. I like fixing broken things and even the 'working' lights are a bit broken in some way when I get them.

My favorites are the Ever Ready torches from the early 1900's - so well built and give a good beam.

One I 3D Ever Ready picked up was dented, switch rattling inside, corroded through in places, tailspring completely dissolved, bulb holder faulty, front glass damaged and the whole thing was corroded. But with cleaning, repair and some care and attention it is now my most used light. I fitted it with a Fivemega 3D 12AA holder with built in charge dock and with 12 Eneloops, 10 Watt bulb and UCL glass it is like a SureFire M4 but more economical. Pure white Halogen beam, over two hours runtime, focusable beam, deep reflector and lovely to use. So even the saddest light can be made great again http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...d-Ever-Ready&p=4903728&highlight=#post4903728
 

bykfixer

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Good point minimoog.

I never did finish the Burgess mentioned at that other thread... a VareBeam jumped in line then this thing called life shoved them out of the way.

The typical eBay seller places roller skates, grandmas tooth pick dispenser, license plates, ashtrays and nearly anything they think can make a few bucks from a box of random stuff they acquired at an estate sale, inherited from Uncle Pete, or from their own attic. I mostly see "estate sale" mentioned. But when they say "don't know if it works" I know if it don't I can get it working.

I bought a vulcanized 2D shorty from the early 1900's that had a body in great shape, clean lens and nickel plating was nearly all intact. Trouble was the business end looked like it had been run over by a car. $100 9 outta 10 rare light for $12.99... yup I'm buyin' it. One Saturday I used a spoon handle and a hammer to push the soft metal bezel back to round and when done at a glance it looked brand new.

But my favs are the ones that work when they arrive and then fail after a couple of minutes. The challenge to figure out why results in a much brighter beam than when it did work.

What I don't like is when a seller posts 12 photos to make you think it's a great light but photos miss the part that was missing, like a button on the switch, yet one photo showed juuuuuuust enough to trick you into not noticing.
Uncool.
 

matt4350

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I take it that "I don't know if it works" means "it don't work but I don't wanna tell you that". You wouldn't sell a phone, computer or radio saying "I don't know if it works", these people should have the decency to check such things or just tell the truth.
 

Minimoog

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I take it that "I don't know if it works" means "it don't work but I don't wanna tell you that". You wouldn't sell a phone, computer or radio saying "I don't know if it works", these people should have the decency to check such things or just tell the truth.

To be honest, even working older items are in fact likely only working to a fashion. I pay no more for an item described as working than for one described as not working. I buy and service quite a bit of vintage kit and I can say that all the working items needed just as much work doing on them as those that were not working.
 

bykfixer

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^^ This!!

It's half the fun of those oldies. Restoring it is fun... Even if it already works you make it work better.
 

Timothybil

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I don't buy a lot from Ebay, but I have bought enough. I got new a old stock G2 and 6C at reasonable prices, but I picked sellers that had a lot of sales listed with a good rating. I realize that sales numbers and ratings can be gamed, But I would rather take my chances with someone with a good rating for lots of sales that someone who has sold maybe five or ten things, and/or has shown like the above that they don't know what they are talking about. I trust them about as much as I would trust the clown trying to sell a NIP G2 incan for $75.
 

Mercyfulfate1777

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Ive learned to ask many questions and possibly more pics, ive bought many lights from The Bay. I like when the old ones come with thier original boxes and have never been used. My Sportsman 3 cell Searchlight is one of my faves.
 

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