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Nuclear Snipe


Ebay is a web site where people can buy and sell things. Its become very popular and millions use it worldwide. There are so many people using it now that you can get virtually anything on it. So we decided to see if we could get any clocks or watches made one of the Le Plastrier family.

A search for Le Plastrier gave us nothing and every day Daddy kept trying. Then we noticed that you could save your searches and have an e-mail sent to you when something came up. So we set up an automatic search and just waited and waited. After a few months a Sedan Clock Movement made by a William Le Plastrier of Dover was put up for sale, daddy got an e-mail to tell him and we had a look. It looked real and we really wanted to win it.

Daddy did a quick Google search and discovered the movement had just been sold with two other items at Bonhams Oxford on 7 March 2006 for £130 plus taxes and costs.

Most things on e-bay are sold by auction. People who want to buy something make an offer and the person with the highest offer, when time is up, wins. The winning price is not always the highest offer however. Your offer is kept secret and e-bay bids for you until someone else makes a higher offer. The winning bid is usually a pound above the next highest offer. If your offer is lower than one already made the price goes up to pound above your offer and you are told that you have been out bid. Some people then make another offer and if that fails another.

Daddy waits until the last few seconds before making his offer so that if his offer is the biggest no one else has time to place another offer to beat him. It also stops other people from having time to place lots of smaller offers which just push up the final winning price.

A last second offer is known as a snipe, but they don’t always work. If you make a really big offer at the last second to make sure you win this is known as a nuclear snipe.

Daddy suggested we make a Nuclear Snipe for the Sedan Clock movement just to make sure we won it. In the last few second he bid £200. His bid was recorded as £50 and in the next two seconds we waited as it was pushed up to £58 as other people started bidding. The auction ended with daddy winning at £58. A few days later the clock arrived in the post.

It was much smaller that I had expected, but at last we had something actually made by one of my ancestors.

Several months later another e-mail told us something else was up for offer. The auction was due to finish at 8.45am one morning. Daddy decided to stay at home until bidding time - but mummy was not ready to bring us to school so daddy had to do the school run. As he was driving home mummy rang him. She had just popped into his study and noticed he had been outbid with 20 seconds to go. Quickly daddy told her how to bid and with a second to go we won a pocket watch movement made by a Le Plastrier in London for £35.

Since then daddy has obtained a copy of an auction catalogue from ebay. In it a Le Plastrier pocket watch, which looks just like our one was sold in 1977.

Ebay is great, but daddy says you have to be careful who you buy from and what you buy. Last year he was in BIG trouble with mummy for buying a Jaguar on e-bay though.





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