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Buying vintage safety razors

I just got my first DE razor (Merkur HD) and after one shave I am hooked. I have been looking at some of the pictures posted of vintage razors... they look really cool. Any tips, does and dont's, etc... on buying vintage razors?


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Ebay's a crapshoot, but there are many reputable vendors that sell conservatively rated, clean examples. Remember that millions of these were made, so with a bit of patience you can pick up a fine razor for a good price. Stay away from the oddball pieces that fetch the ridiculous amounts- 195's, toggles, etc.- unless you want them as collector's items.

To start out, good razors to look for are the Gillette 1-9 adjustables (slim or "fat boy" handles) or their super speeds, particularly the late 40's models.

Probably the safest way to go is to check the sale/trade forums here and on the competing sites. The person you'll deal with will most likely give an honest appraisal of condition and a good price. Have fun!
Thanx 4 the advice I am going to one those once a month flea market trade days tommorow and I am going to keep my eyes open for razors and the like :blink: Let yall know if I find anything.
I found most Superspeeds to be a little pricey on ebay, but i found a nice late 40's Gillette Rocket for a song, and it's essentially the same razor- it is brilliant, my fave razor. Keep an eye out for those.
Leisureguy said:
Watch out for exorbitant shipping charges... This is a useful reference for buying Gillettes. I just tracked down a gold Gem Micromatic that I'm eager to shave with as soon as I get my supply of single-edge blades.

I don't find the high shipping charges a problem, IF you include it in the price.

The reason sellers charge high shipping is usually to avoid eBay's charges, as the amount you pay eBay is a percentage of the selling price. So they sell cheap and charge over the odds on the shipping.

On eBay ALWAYS calculate the full price you will have to pay including shipping and place your bid accordingly.

I recently bought a spare battery and a large SD memory card for a new Lumix digital camera I bought. They came from china and the winning bid was really low but the shipping made up the difference. Still got a half price bargain but I knew what my total was before I bid.

I never bid unless I know the shipping charges up front.

Just bought a Gillette adjustable on eBay myself. Didn't take long for the aquisition disorders to set in! :biggrin:

fatt_tony said:
I just got my first DE razor (Merkur HD) and after one shave I am hooked. I have been looking at some of the pictures posted of vintage razors... they look really cool. Any tips, does and dont's, etc... on buying vintage razors?

In addition to looking on ebay and the forums, I'd suggest taking a look at antique stores. I recently scored 11 razors (adjustable gillettes fat, thin and long black as well as 4 injectors and a GEM) for around 15 bucks with their sale of 50% off. In general, I have found razors in the antique stores on sale for anything between 1 dollar and 10-20 dollars. I just give them a good look over and then get them back home for a monster cleaning. So far, all has turned out well.
I have also considered trying to check out estate sales, but I don't have the extra time anymore.
I saw some older gilletes today at the flea market that went $6-$10 but did not get anything. I was unsure if what I saw was just junk or something good. They were in pretty good condition I guess.

As with all things ebay do your homework:

  1. Look at the postal charges.
  2. Look at the sellers feedback, read some of it.
  3. Read the description - be suspicious of what is not said
  4. When does the auction close? Weekend auctions go for more.
  5. Does the seller accept Paypal? Always use if you can.
  6. Study the photos very carefully
  7. DON'T RELY ON THE ABOVE - ask the seller a question, What is the condition? Any tarnish or damage - Pin them down.
  8. Give feedback - & so help others.
Avoid bidding wars as they push up the price - To do this you need to learn how to bid in the last 5 seconds of the bid, so you need to....,
Learn how to snipe:
The following download will keep your computer clock accurate to the second: http://www.worldtimeserver.com/atomic-clock/

Load atomic clock up, ping it to check your computer clock and use it to time your bid ..., go to the auction page your interested in and learn the steps to making the bid - remember you need to confirm the bid so that is the last step ..., you should with practice be able to bid in the last 2 seconds.

Remember, you pay the lowest price possible to win the auction up to the amount you bid ..., so bid an amount that is the maximum you are willing to pay.

Sniping is not immoral, it is within the spirit & rules - ebay auctions are time limited and don't have an auctioneer like Christies do.

Although 'sniping' won't guarantee you win an auction, it does mean you won't pay more than you want and will save you money generally...., most of the action happens in the last minute in an auction.

If you don't win - don't worry another one will come along (unless its a 195 :wink: )

Don't forget bargains are available on ebay France, Germany etc...., don't speak the lingo ..., put in Gillette and you will soon work out the word for razor.

Good luck.

Some good points, John. You might add to the list that if pictures are bad, don't be afraid to ask the seller for better ones. They should have nothing to hide if they're being honest.
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