CJB Boatyard

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Taking a look at the current market for Sutcliffe Boats

Market Watch....

Early February 2017


The last year has seen the prices of pre war boats rise somewhat. It's simple supply and demand; fewer boats on the market and there may even be some new collectors? (hard to believe though!). So high prices are being asked for anything from the 30's; eg Minxs and Meteors around the £400 mark .. and thats not even with a box.  If you REALLY want one, then they are there to buy, but cheaper examples will sail along if you are prepared to wait.


Anything particularly rare from the 30's or 40's is achieving very high prices at auction; two pull along boats recently acheived in excess of £500... again, no box, and a very nice MkII Racer 1 achieved the same.


The market remains flooded with boxed examples of the 60's and 70's boats and subs. High price tags everywhere but nothing selling! If you are paying more than £75 for a mint boxed Jupiter, Comet or even the re-issue zip, you are paying over the odds.  Same goes for the subs. Nothing much from the 60's or 70's is 'rare' (with a couple of exceptions) so again, unless you *need* that boat, patience will pay dividends and boats will come along (typically in auction format) at much more reasonable prices.


Below is a good example of the 'wishful thinking' occuring on ebay at the moment...


ebay sub rough

Apart from:

- no front diving vane

- no rear diving vanes

- no bung or periscope

- no gun barrel

- no box

- no original key (its a Triang item)

..this sub is in 'very good working condition' and can be yours for £109.99.  Everyone loves a trier but it would probably fetch no more than £20 at auction...


But the keel is interesting! Note the '1/3 weight' use to balance it..

Late Feb - 2017


Every now and then I take a look at Completed listings on ebay. Its a very good indicator of the market as it shows what sold, and for how much, and what didn't.  You can also see when the same boats come back time and time again at a price, but never sell. Clearly, by definition, they are not 'worth' the price... well not yet anyway!


In general, the post war boats tend to fetch far less than most sellers think, but the pre-war prices are strong, particularly for 'projects'. And occasionally there are out and out bargains! I've picked out a few from Jan/Feb 2017....

battleship 250 quid

This 1920's 'hot air' battleship sold for £250.  feels a little steep but as really nice ones go for £500, perhaps its about right.  


In our book its a borderline restoration case... it's rough, but it is original and hasn't been overpainted or messed with. It has its original burner too. On balance we'd probably leave as is... Restoration is a one way ticket; there is no going back!

minx 109 quid

This pre-war 12" speedboat sold for £109. Again, a strong price considering this one IS (in our book) a project as it has been overpainted and is missing its hatch and front vent.


It's an easy restoration though; needs paint, a hatch, a vent repair and a decal. And it'll look great when it's done.


If you are the new owner, get on touch if you need any help with any of the resto. We'd love to hear from you and perhaps show the restoration on the site?!

jupiter 25 quid

This Jupiter sold for £25. So there you have it, that's pretty much what they are worth... maybe £40 for a mint/boxed example with all the original packaging...

unda wunda 38 quid

This pre-war Unda Wunda fetched a mere £38!


Whoever won that got an absolute bargain... Boats in similar condition have gone for £100+..


It just goes to show, there are still bargains to be had on ebay if everyone else is caught napping!

March 2017


Well it's been a month since we last took a look. A lot of the boats that were for sale a month ago are still for sale at their 'buy it now' prices. This is a therefore a good indication of what these boats are *not*worth!  Boats such as Noddy, Sooty, pre war Minx and Meteor are indeed scare and desirable, but the prices being sought are simply to rich for, well, everyone...


The Unda Wunda that was shown in Feb is still for sale; now reduced to £90. If it keeps coming down in price at the same rate, it should sell by Christmas.... ;-)


The highlight of March was definately the pre war Bluebird speedboat that was put up in auction format:

bluebird mint 2

This example, whilst not *quite* the earliest version, was in imaculate condition and and come with its original (also excellent) box. The hammer came down at £545... (!)


Is is really worth £545 when average ones go for £100?  Well, by definition, yes!  Given that you'd see a hundred average ones before you saw one like this, it ought to be worth more, but the winner agreed to pay £545 so that's what it must be worth (to them). And of course given that it was an auction, it only went to £545 because it was worth £535 to the underbidder..


It just shows.... condition is everything.   Congratulations to the winner, you have a fantastic example in your collection.

Another boat that came up for auction was a rather sad looking little Racer 1:

ebay racer 1 ebay racer 1 pic 2

That one went for £29 (no, not £529!) and found a new home with us at CJB Boatyard (we have a soft spot for Racer 1s). A bit of spit and polish, and 3 mins with some pliers, she is looking a little more respectable....

ebay racer one cleaned

Its a rather nice one, dating from 1953 (obviously), showing that the pre war decal was still being used. (Though it was to change to the new design very soon after)

August 2017

Wow, has it really been 5 months since the last update?!


Despite the lack of updates, we have been watching the market very closely!


Believe it or not, there are a few Sutcliffe boats that are STILL for sale on ebay, 6 months later!  This is useful information, as it tells us very clearly what somethoing is NOT worth. A fair pre war Meteor -£395 .. clearly to much for the market.  £225 or maybe £250 with a following wind? A nice pre war 12" speed boat for £475. Again, obviously too much.


So unsold items tell us what things are NOT worth, and sold items tell us what things ARE worth. If you look through sold items, you'll see that Jupiters are still £15 - £20,  yet you'll still see dealers asking £175 for them? Go figure.....


You'll also see that even 'rare and desirable' boats are not fetching high pricess, if the condition is not at the highest levels. See the examples below...

ebay noddy ebay sooty ebay racer MK 2 ebay bluebird £47

So to summarise, there were two or three 'big prices' for some rather rare and exceptional boats earlier in the year..  This seems to have put $$ signs in the eyes of quite a few sellers (mainly dealers), but these prices are not having the  knock on effect desired!


We've seen examples sell at provincial auctions at eye watering pricess, only to re-appear at even HIGHER prices!  None of these examples have sold...


The reason is simple... the market is small (tiny in fact)! Those high prices were driven my a very small number of collectors (perhaps only 2 or 3) who wanted the very best.. And those buyers are not interested in the examples that are even 'almost' as good...


So dealers, unless what you have is very rare, and also mint, get real on the prices if you want to sell anything!

This Noddy Boat sold for £35. The Noddy is not original, but its not a bad example!


There is another one (with Noddy) for sale on ebay for £375.....

Double click to insert body text here ...

This Sooty also sold for £35.  Looks a bit grubby but it'll probably clean up and the screen can be straightened easily.


There is another one (with a Sooty) for sale on ebay for £249....



This early (MK2) RACER 1 sold for £49. Dented deck but it may be possible to pull those dents out (we will see!)  And it even works!! (MK2 racer 1's rarely do!)


A VERY nice (mint/boxed) example sold earlier in the year for over £500, but these prices simply don't translate if the condition is not pristine..

This early post war Bluebird sold for £47.  That's got to be a bargain!


There are lots more Bluebirds on ebay... most at eye watering prices and none of them selling...