A Brooklin T-Bird Set, an Auction Lesson, and a Little Mystery

By Harvey Goranson

Recently I was browsing a traditional (i.e., non-ebay) auction site and spotted the BRK three-car Ford Thunderbird CTCI 40th Anniversary Set at an attractive opening bid price. I have not been looking for these but the all-pastel set appealed to me, so I threw in a bid at the minimum, not thinking I would win, but I did.

Now I knew there would be a buyer’s premium, and mentally I had factored that in, along with a reasonable shipping charge. When I got the invoice it was a lot higher than I expected and included sales tax and a $38 shipping fee. I asked if they could look at that latter figure again and thankfully they admitted an error, and reduced it. Still, all fees amounted to about 60% of the hammer price. So the lessons are: look at the fine print about additional fees like taxes, and don’t be afraid to question a charge that looks too high.

With UK auctions I mentally consider that the final cost will be the winning bid in pounds multiplied by 2.1 to give me a dollar estimate. I think I will prepare myself for a 50-60% domestic factor from now on, depending on the auction house. Too bad I don’t live near one of these, so I can pick up in person. BTW, in the same auction there were a couple of Motor City models that went well above my limits. One ended at $800, but, ignoring postage, that meant it ended up costing the buyer around $1080. The hobbyDB website values for models sometimes list Vectis results, where the user should also include the buyer’s premium.

Now that I have it in hand, it’s a nice little set, and conditions of the models are perfect. Despite lacking the chrome details of newer BRKs, they look OK and proportionally are correct to my eye. Even Kay likes how they look together.

Now for a little mystery. Included with the set was a white metal figure of a photographer, similar to, if not identical, to that in the BRK 172X BCC Wedding Lincoln, except for paint. The hat is painted to look like he’s a press photographer, with a little press card painted in the brim. He still has a bit of green material on his feet, used to steady him in a display cabinet. Gianluigi’s book doesn’t show this as part of the CTCI set.

Brooklin collector, Skip Johnson, came to the rescue and identified the photographer. He belongs with BRK 064A 1959 Ford Thunderbird convertible, done in light gold for the San Francisco Bay Brooklin Club back in 2002 (200 models produced). The model replicated a Chinese New Year Parade car.  Mystery solved!

photo: Brooklin archive at hobbyDB.com