Have you ever dreamed of discovering a Chagall amid the paintings of ships and flowers in a thrift shop? Maybe you scour flea markets in search of a chipped Chippendale chair or a vintage Fiestaware dish that has seen one too many parties. Many of these treasures find themselves on eBay, proving that the once-cherished, sometimes later-forgotten items of days past can fetch more attention—and higher bids—than their bright, shiny, and new counterparts.
Browsing a couple of intriguing auctions today, we found two pre-owned items that fit this very description. The first is a rare 18k YG Rolex Submariner reference 1680, a watch that garnered a winning bid of $18.500. What makes this Rolex watch so singular, beyond the seller’s assertion that it is rare? From the listing:
“This watch is early production of this reference with a very rare ‘meters first’ dial. The lot also includes the original 18k YG bracelet with date stamp ’1 69′. The serial number is 2178xxx which puts the approximate date of production in late 1968 / early 1969. The production date implied by the serial number on the case is during the range where ‘meters first’ dials were utilized.”
Even more interesting is that the seller acquired the watch from an estate, proving that rarities are out there for people willing to search for them, both IRL and online. The question is, how do you know when you have found a treasure? The owners of York Time, purveyors of antique watches, indicate that it’s purely a matter of supply and demand. They cite the Rolex Daytona as an example. It fetched about $500 as recently as the 1980s. But a surge of popularity amongst Euro fashionistas spiked its value so that it surpassed “the price of a mid market luxury car.”
Of course, the watch’s materials also help determine its value. A recent eBay listing for a Mens Rolex 18 kt Gold Watch:
From the title alone, we know an 18-karat gold item will fetch a decent price. And the auction description reveals that the watch also has several small diamonds embedded in the face. It wouldn’t take a detective to figure out this watch is worth a goodly sum. However, for those seeking proof, there are forums that serve as a virtual Antiques Roadshow. You upload a photograph of your watch and any pertinent details, and collectors, sellers, and buyers share their expert opinions regarding its value. Of course, this arrangement assumes you have the watch in hand. One of the simplest ways to do so is joining the shoppers on eBay seeking the next great find!
Editor’s note: Today’s post is written in part by guest author Serena Makofsky. Serena writes about pop culture, underground art, international travel, parenting and education for print and online magazines. In her free time, she writes zines, plays hide-and-seek with her two children, reads graphic novels by her cartoonist husband, and explores her adopted hometown of Oaxaca, Mexico.