From the President's Corner PDF Print E-mail
Written by BMWVMCA NEWS   
Thursday, 31 July 2008

 From the President’s Corner 

“The Myth of Value in relation to Rarity”  

How many times have we heard someone tell us the bike they have for sale is worth so many $$$$ because it is the rarest of the rare? And it turns out that the asking price is more than double the current market prices for comparable models?  

I believe ‘Rarity’ plays a part in influencing our perception of value, but that value should not be solely dependent upon the limited number of particular bikes produced.  

‘Desirability’ must certainly play an important role in our decision to place a value on something. Take a look at the Corvette. GM made boat loads of them. Check out current market prices, and make some comparisons with available Kaiser Darrins, of which Henry J. Kaiser did not make very many.  

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ I didn’t make that up. Somebody else said it long before Shakespeare did. The meaning still holds true. While attending an Allegheny meet some ten odd years ago. I witnesses the even exchange of an original and average condition 1931 R2 for a really nice, original R90S.   

The R2 caught someone’s fancy. I didn’t ask what he was going to do with it. He might just want to sit and look at it. I have a good friend who has some really interesting bikes in his collection, which he has never ridden. Intrinsic and aesthetic value to him is often as important as practical value.  

The R69S is a bike to watch these days. Some recent sales have been as high as $13,500 for a single bike. BMW built and sold 11,317 of them. They only built 2956 of the R69 model, which is seldom seen on the market today. The last two R69’s I saw for sale were a $2000 basket case, and an all original and running ‘58 in better than average condition for $5500. Would an R69 fetch the same price as an R69S in equal condition? How great a role would rarity play?  

I should point out that what one individual pays for a bike, does not necessarily mean that all other bikes like it will fetch that much. The buyer probably only wanted one example, and did not want to spend fruitless months searching and paying finders fees. How many of us have such luxuries? That’s a rhetorical question, no response is needed.  

There are many examples of more common models selling for greater sums than rarer, similar models. Rarity alone does not stand for value.  


Last Updated ( Thursday, 31 July 2008 )
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