Binary Dinosaurs Computer Museum
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Note for the hard of thinking - this contains *sarcasm*, the lowest form of humour.
Some of you will probably doubt the 'humour' part too.
Oh, that end word is supposed to be LOOK, but for some reason sellers think it looks better when spelt 'Latatk'. Go figure.
I was prompted to start this page after seeing Gareth Randall's spoof auction on a real auction site; this was made even funnier by the fact that someone took the bait and bought the item in question! Unfortunately neither of us can remember the exact details of the text (Gareth said "I dunno, something in me just snapped" :o) so here's my own version done in 'auctionese':
WOW! This is a RARE chance to buy a vintage *ORIGINAL* WORKING Commodore 64, complete with POWER SUPPLY!!! These machines were the staple diet of kids that didn't have Sinclair Spectrums and were produced in such numbers as to make their appearance under a pile of clothes at a car boot sale VERY LIKELY INDEED. It is often said in hushed tones that true collectors can pick one up EVERY FIVE MINUTES since they're as uncommon as hot English summers because Commodore produced MILLIONS.
Remember, this is the *original* machine which was out for YEARS, not the NEW SHAPE variety which was just as popular!!

Sort of selling sand to the Arabs if you make it interesting enough :) In other words if I've got a Spectrum 48 for example (a machine that sold in its millions) that still has its box because my parents kept things like that 'in case it ever broke' and I didn't play Daley Thompson's Decathlon using the keyboard and kept it in a cupboard when I wasn't playing with it (not the box mind, that goes in the loft), never typed in the listings from Sinclair User or Crash or Computer & Video Games and didn't put stickers on it, didn't read the manual or bother with the (*rare*) Horizons tape I could auctionese that up to buggery:
FA: WOW! 48K Spectrum *BOXED*!! L@@K!!! FANTASTIC opportunity to obtain an UNTOUCHED MINT example of this *vintage classic* machine. Released before Sinclair Research was taken over by Amstrad and therefore a GENUINE Sinclair computer; people will tell you these are common machines but it's *RARE* that you will ever see one in THIS CONDITION. Just L@@K what you get: Polystyrene and Outer Box, Computer, Power Supply, aerial lead, cassette lead, manual, rare Horizons tape, rare software brochure and ORIGINAL TILL RECEIPT, all absolutely MINT!
Note there how I didn't mention the fact that the machine's knackered because it's an Issue 3 and we all know how reliable THEY were - nobody will even bother to ask me whether it works or not because it's in such good nick. That machine would probably sell for upwards of 70 quid (or in one memorable case, £410) because people will want one that just looks like its been got off the shelf in WH Smiths. I also don't mention the fact that I got the till receipt off someone else, the PSU is a bust one from another Spectrum I've got, the Horizons tape doesn't load because of a manufacturing defect but all that doesn't matter, because it's *mint*.
So! You've got a fuzzy picture of the item to be sold, generally taken on awful carpet or a terrible bedspread, you've got your amusing seller ID, and to be *really* annoying you've amassed item and description into one big JPEG that takes bloody ages to load. Remember to add plenty of asterisks and bangs (!) because that'll make it sell faster. Really. In particular remember that anything made in the Sinclair era (roughly 1979 - 1990) will be double the price of anything NOT made then, even if it's a cassette tape or knackered old 8-bit that's missing severalteen keys, and if the item's pretty clean it must be MINT even if it isn't boxed. Thinking about it, Atari and Commodore people must be pissed off because sellers always advertise things as *sinclair era*. Bless. There were other popular computers round then too you know.
Here is a list of keywords that MUST be used for that wow-factor auction:
BOXED (ie "it has a cardboard sleeve but no poly inserts or bags or any other form of packaging")
UNIQUE ("I've only got one")
VINTAGE CLASSIC ("everyone's got one")
L@@K (that 'latatk' again)
BEYOND RARE! (eep, that's nearly scary)
ULTRA RARE! (que? Surely it's either rare or it isn't)
NR ("no reserve" - you haven't set a value you want the auction to top)
MINT ("honest")
Another way of making sure that your auction will be the one that people look at is to not do any research at all into the current status of your machine and post it on an auction site with some of the words above in the description, then when buyers browse the listings yours will jump out at them because it says 'RARE' or 'MINT' despite the fact its surrounded by 10 others in the listings and is in fact battered. You're never alone with a boxed ZX Spectrum (***Spectrum era***!!!!!)
Also remember that an item must be RARE if its the only one in your house (WOW!), or possibly the only one you've seen this week.
For you unfortunates who can't get to one of the thousands of boot sales every week here's the Binary Dinosaurs cut-out-and-keep guide to mintness and uncommon-ness in the crazy heady world of auctions. L@@K!
horizons tape
Common as muck,
unless you owned an
Amsclair machine
artic zx81 games pack
issue 1 speccy
48k speccy
Like cars on the M25
As uncommon as housebricks
Like Hen's teeth
mint speccy
tatty speccy
Exceptionally un-mint (or "ebay mint")
atari pc3
atari 520st
A bit like paving slabs
bbc micro
In nearly every school
enterprise 64
Not in many homes
apple ][
Millions sold
apple lisa
Bit like Dodos
Now you're all set to enter the heady world of auctions! Do remember plenty of asterisks and bangs though. They're subliminal signals and will make people automatically bid more. WOW!
Finally, to be doubly sure about a high-visit auction, make sure you completely ignore the following advice from eBay:

"Neatness counts. Please don't use all caps, lots of "!!!", etc. We reserve the right to clean up titles we find ugly. [Tip: Avoid using asterisks, plus signs, quotes, and other special characters in your item title. Our search feature may overlook words that contain these characters -- and that can make it harder for bidders to find your item.] Copyright © 1995-2001 eBay Inc. All Rights Reserved. "

All images and text © Adrian Graham 1999-2024 unless otherwise noted using words. Also on